9th Grade, Odessa High School, Odessa, Texas In all honesty I did not intentionally go into this class because it was something I wanted to do. Going into high school, I did not really know what I was doing or what I wanted to do for my classes. But then I heard about this program. My dance teacher had been the one to tell me about the IDRA Valued Youth Partnership. And when she did, I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained it to me. When I heard I would have to tutor kids I was very hesitant to participate. But when I heard I would get paid for tutoring, I was quite excited.
Going in, I was so nervous since I do not have the greatest social skills and I did not know how to interact with younger kids. But getting paid made it a little more worth it. Over time though, things got easier. And when I got started teaching, it was much better than I had thought. Meeting my tutees was a very nerve-wracking experience for me since I would be teaching third graders who were young and energetic. As we worked together each passing day, we started to grow a connection, and my tutees began to feel more comfortable with me as their tutor. Of course, they are still kids, so getting them to pay attention was a challenge sometimes. But the more I worked with them, I found more techniques to help them with their work.
Usually, two of my tutees pay attention to their work, but my other tutee was more energetic and anxious than them. He would move around a lot and would get distracted by little things around him, so it was hard to get him to do his work. It was frustrating at first, but I started to understand him more since I realized he was a lot like my younger sister who had trouble focusing on school. I found that taking small breaks between his assignments helped him to focus a lot better. Whenever we would finish an assignment or if I noticed he moved a lot, we would stop and wiggle our arms around to get out all those “ants in our pants” as I like to put it. Seeing how these techniques helped him was so rewarding, especially when I saw that he was in fact improving in his work and his abilities in the classroom.
Tutoring these kids has made me have so much more respect for teachers and everything they must deal with since, admittedly, at times it was incredibly stressful. Sometimes I find myself feeling tired after a difficult lesson, which happens. But the next day, I find myself feeling happy I got to go back and help my tutees grow. As hard as it was sometimes, I think my love for tutoring those kids was so much greater and seeing them succeed made every grueling day so worth it.
Since I became a tutor, I have grown a lot myself which is something I did not think would happen. Instead of being nervous to talk to younger children I now communicate with them so much more smoothly and even communicate with adults better as well. I learned to sympathize with others’ struggles in learning and focusing on things since I now know how hard it really is. Becoming a tutor, I even learned to help my younger sister as well since I use my techniques that I use with my tutees with her when she needs help with her schoolwork. And I see she is also improving with her work.
There is also this proud feeling I get from being in the IDRA Valued Youth Partnership, there is that feeling of knowing I am helping the younger generation to grow and succeed in their education and knowing that I am actively making a difference for my tutee’s education.
See color highlights flier for 2022 (pdf).
See the booklet with all the winning essays from 2022 (pdf).
The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership is an internationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program. According to the Valued Youth creed, all students are valuable, none is expendable. The lives of more than 725,000 children, families and educators have been positively impacted by the program.