Tutors and Students All Benefit From Process
Editor's Note: This is National Tutoring Week. Kelly Taylor gives readers a first-person account of her experiences as a tutor at Sandhills Community College.
When I first began tutoring at Sandhills Community College in 2004, I just considered it as a second job.
At the time, I worked two jobs, took care of my son, and attended college full-time. But eventually tutoring became so much more than a way to pay the bills. Now, almost five years later, I realize that the day Nancy Heilman approached me about tutoring, she gave me a golden opportunity. In addition, she also gave me an extended family, which consists of the tutoring center staff, the SCC staff and faculty, and the students I tutor.
During this time, I worked with a variety of students. With my help, many students succeeded. I have had clients I worked with for many semesters, many of whom were physically challenged. They all exhibited a strong motivation to overcome their challenges and to persevere; furthermore, they always demonstrated appreciation for my help and taught me how to live life gratefully and fully. One of these students graduated this past May.
I have tutored nontraditional students who were terrified of the college experience, and I, being a nontraditional student myself, was able to help them organize their time and integrate effective study skills. I have also had students who came to Sandhills directly from high school, and they impressed me with their drive and dedication to succeed. I feel privileged to have had these people touch my life.
Days exist when I feel I failed a student, but I think of the many that I have helped and continue to help, and I keep striving to aid as many students as I can. On an average, I help 30 students per semester. Many faculty members have come to me and praised my abilities; this continues to give me confidence. My clients express their gratitude for my guidance, and this makes me realize that my decision to tutor remains true to my spirit.
As a young girl, I wanted to teach, but by the time I graduated from high school, I had chosen journalism as my major because I also love to write. When I first registered as a student at Sandhills, my major was journalism.
Tutoring changed my perspective and my mind about my life. I love what I do; nothing compares to the light bulb that goes off in a student's eyes when he or she "gets it." I wake up most mornings excited to get to work because I feel that I make a positive difference at Sandhills Community College.
I remember when a student looked at me and said, "You love your job, don't you?" I asked him how he could tell, and he responded, "You have a big smile on your face when you work." I plan to further my education so that I can teach at the college level.
I believe that if the SCC tutoring center did not exist, the student body and the community would both suffer. A majority of graduating students each year have graced the doors of the tutoring center. Many of these students remain in touch. As a paraprofessional, I currently tutor a Sandhills graduate privately. Fortunately, for the students, the tutoring center offers an eclectic combination of tutors: paraprofessional, peer, and volunteer.
The tutoring center is fortunate to have many members of this community give of their time and knowledge. The volunteer tutors truly dedicate themselves to the students, which in turn, bolsters confidence and self-esteem. They grace the campus out of the goodness of their hearts, and they tutor for hours without any pay. A student's academic success and positive self-worth is their payment. The job must pay well because the volunteers return semester after semester.
If tutoring college students sounds appealing, contact Nancy Heilman at the Sandhills Community College Tutoring Center at (910) 695-3942.
Gratifying experiences show themselves in surprising places.
More like this story