Tutor View: A Passion for Languages Paved the Way for Learning

by Carol Myers

Tutor Ron Schroder has been with the Literacy Council of Sheboygan County for 3 years. Recently, his student had been considering a job search—as many others are doing right now. Instead, he used the skills that he had learned with Ron to have a conversation in English with his supervisor and was given a raise! We love celebrating accomplishments and milestones like these! Learning English can be a difficult journey and we are so thankful to have committed tutors like Ron to support students through difficult conversations and exciting transitions.

Ron schroder edited

What inspired you to become a tutor?

I have been a tutor since late 2018 with my student, Oscar. Since taking German language classes in high school, I have had a strong interest in international languages and cultures. Tutoring provides a way for me to share my passion for language and to learn from my student about his language and culture. Impact on the lives of others happens one person at a time, and I appreciate the opportunity to connect with my student

How does your career or life experience help you as a tutor?

During my career I’ve had numerous opportunities to work in other countries, specifically during a three-year assignment in Europe and a one-week trip to China. I know what it’s like to be in a country and not be able to understand or speak the language. Language is the basis for our personal connections, and I appreciate the opportunity to build more of those bridges.

What is your favorite teaching technique to use with your student?

Reading is an essential skill for everyone to have when they adopt a new country for their life and work. Oscar and I enjoy reading together. Reading provides not only the skill but also a basis for discussions about the similarities and differences of American and Mexican culture. Another favorite technique is playing games, such as Monopoly or checkers. It provides a fun, casual way to incorporate the language that makes listening and speaking become more natural. Oscar has benefited from his regular use of the Duolingo language app outside of class.

What advice would you give to a new tutor?

The most important thing is to understand your student as a whole person, not just as a learner of the language. This comes to life during regular interaction, especially during the first 15 minutes of each class. Find out what are the most important needs and gaps in your student’s use of English. Maybe they want to become more involved in their child’s education/school. Maybe they are trying to get a promotion at work. Remember to use a variety of teaching techniques to keep it interesting. And remember to HAVE FUN!

Big thanks to Ron for sharing about his tutoring experience! Read our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about what it means to be a tutor for the Literacy Council. Our next training is planned to take place this fall.