Tutoring makes an important impact on both students and teachers as evidenced here in a letter we received from one of our wonderful tutors.
I volunteered for Literacy Council tutoring to help one person have an easier life in the United States. I met Anna for the first time when the only English words she appeared comfortable saying were “Hello” and “Anna.” After the war started, she moved here from Ukraine to live with her daughter’s family. I felt fortunate that I could work with someone from Ukraine, which would support our nation as well as the student.
Anna wanted to work quickly through the textbooks so she could be comfortable in conversations as soon as possible. She not only read the instructions aloud, but she wrote paragraphs and completed each exercise with perfection. Every chapter introduced new vocabulary that Anna copied in her personal notebook and referred to repeatedly. As a teacher, I neglected to have a regular time for conversation only because my interpretation of her goal was to finish the book quickly.
Then near the end of the third book, she requested to have more conversation time. I told her we could devote half the hour next time to conversation. Afterward, I thought about different topics I could introduce but didn’t prepare anything. She appeared and the next session and said, “I want to talk about libraries.” She named three libraries and the reason she liked each one. But the one she liked best was the one in which we sat near a fireplace and could look out the windows to a beautiful view of nature. Then she stood, opened our textbook, pointed to the chapter we were reading and said, “See, comparative!” Anticlimactically, I gently reminded her that three or more items require the superlative adjective.
I was blown away! The chance of a lifetime for a teacher . . . to witness a student ‘apply’ the lesson in their real life. Not only that but she took over the role of the teacher. She planned the conversation, brought visual aids with documented English descriptions, and stood to point to the textbook word serving as her conversations goal. I physically applauded, symbolizing personal joy and appreciation for her work.
I submit our story to the Literacy Council with gratitude for this unique opportunity,