Last night we had a holiday open house for Literacy NY. It’s hard to believe it has been a year since I started tutoring!
The tutors got together for a nice meeting. Haven’t seen some of these people since we did our training a year ago. Family represented here. John tutors math and my mom also tutors reading.
The director said she forgot her camera and you know I am always prepared, so I lent her mine. This is what happens when someone else tries to take a picture with your camera.
This has been an interesting year. It was not what I was expecting, although truthfully I am not really sure what I was expecting.
I am on my third learner in a year. I guess I thought I would be tutoring and things would be all rosy and we would meet each week and make progress and the learner would meet all their goals. Reality is much different than that.
Sometimes literacy is a small part of why someone may be struggling and bigger problems really need to be addressed that get in the way of the learning.
Then there is the reality check of how much work has to be done. When you have someone reading at a 6th grade level and they think they are going to take the GED test in 3 months – it is a huge reality check when they realize that it will take much, much longer than that. Literacy tutoring isn’t school. It’s only a couple hours a week and requires a lot of independent study time.
Keeping a learner’s attitude up and positive is a huge part of tutoring. Bolstering self esteem is just as important as vocabulary. That is something that I had to learn as well. Walking the fine line between correcting stuff and being positive about it is a tough one.
It was a little disappointing, particularly with my first learner, when he just didn’t put forth any effort at all and would often not show up for meeting or when he did show, he hadn’t done anything during the week, so progress was glacial. I kind of wasn’t expecting that as I figured that when people actually came for help that they were ready, but that isn’t always the case.
Tutoring is also mentally exhausting. I have taught before (music), so giving a lesson isn’t really a new thing, but this is just so tiring!
Prepping is hard as well because material for adult learners is hard to come by. When going over grammar concepts, too many books and worksheets have little kid stuff on them, which can be insulting to an adult, don’t you think?
It feels like something that is so important to do, though. I know how extremely lucky I am that I loved reading from the get-go and immersed myself in books all throughout school and that made some things much easier for me (including giving me a place to hide from the bullies). Reading truly is fundamental and I wish that everyone had the love of reading as it is a gift.
So, we shall see what happens in the next year.
Our weather hasn’t felt very Christmasy – rain mostly instead of snow. Our tree feels all holiday, though. I was just admiring it with the presents underneath that arrived from John’s family today.
A cupcake! From my mom. There is a series of these cupcake ornaments and I now have 2 of them.