Giving Students Hope Through Tutoring | Teenage Pressure Cooker

  • Saturday, January 5, 2019 11:15am
  • Opinion

Amelia Hall, a senior at Bainbridge High School, is one of the many students who share their free time helping others through the peer tutoring program at Bainbridge Youth Services. She recently shared how the tutoring program gives others — and well as herself — hope.

Here is her story:

It seemed like a no-brainer at the time: I was good at math, and enjoyed being around other people. The free, peer-tutoring program at my school was the perfect opportunity for me to do something I enjoyed while receiving community hours.

It was not long, however, until this became much, much more than a simple after-school activity for me.

Over time, my role as a tutor turned into the idea of giving students hope. Every session, my goal was for a student to walk away feeling hopeful about the upcoming test, or hopeful about the assignment we were working on together, or hopeful about the class they were taking in general.

At the beginning of my junior year, I began tutoring Liam, an incredibly passionate, and hilarious, 11-year-old boy. It has been almost a year since I first started tutoring Liam, and I can, without an ounce of hesitation, say that Liam has actually become the outstanding symbol of hope in my life.

Each week on Monday afternoons, Liam comes to me with all of his math assignments for his upcoming lessons. I used to watch him stare with doubt at the blank page of work to do. As a fifth-grader, when we first started, being faced with an incomplete sheet filled with jumbles of confusing numbers and operations can be largely intimidating. Each session we worked together to break down the difficult problems into manageable, step-by-step tasks.

Over the course of a short hour every Monday, I was able to witness the transformation from “I don’t think I can do this” to “I just did that.” I was able to watch Liam go from being doubtful and unsure of his ability to not just confident, but actually excited about his assignments and the overwhelming success he was witnessing himself accomplish.

Although it was technically my job to give Liam hope and push him to overcome the challenges he faced with school, I ended up becoming the student in the situation.

By being the one to explain new math concepts to Liam and getting him to thoroughly understand what he was learning, I found myself learning how important it is to be patient. Hearing him say that he wanted to try a problem on his own after multiple times of practicing them together, I found myself discovering the importance of confidence.

But more than anything, Liam taught me the importance of hope. I was shown, by an 11-year old boy, that hard things can be done. Goals can be overcome. Obstacles can be fought through.

Every long-division problem we had to slowly work through together symbolized everyday challenges in my own life. Seeing him genuinely smile because of how proud he was of himself for his work gave me more hope than any motivational speech, high test grade, or good news could have ever given me.

Amelia Hall is a senior at Bainbridge High School.

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