The Learner is a Teacher (is a Learner)

30 06 2009

June 22, 2009 not only marks the 25th month anniversary of my boyfriend and I, it also marks the day that I start as a volunteer math tutor for third graders.

Teaching was never my calling. I didn’t have the expertise, nor did I have the patience to be one. If my parents asked me to teach them something with software, websites or electronic devices, I would oblige only once, and never again. I keep saying, “I already taught you that!” I have more patience with kids, though. For me they’re easier to handle and their immaturity is understandable as opposed to the childishness of some adults.

My dad volunteered last year for the tutorial program of our parish. He taught math and computer once a week to second graders. I assisted in his computer class once, and it was a nice experience. I can also see that he’s enjoying what he’s doing. So when he recruited me to volunteer this year, I couldn’t find a reason not to accept.

I was given a “teaching module”, which was like a guide for teachers on how to teach math lessons in class. It had games, examples and activities to help students grasp the concepts of the day’s lessons. But even though I had that, I still only had a vague idea as to what I would do on my first day. I asked my dad and he said I should get to know my students first. Oh yeah…right.

June 22 came along and I came slightly late to the chapel where the tutorial classes were being held. There, lined up and ready are my seven “tutees”: five girls and two boys. Good for me there’s only a few of them. I couldn’t imagine trying to handle a full class bursting at the seams like what public school teachers are doing right now. Public elementary and high schools have forty to more than a hundred per teacher. This makes the tutorial program all the more important. If you were a student in a class of one hundred, how on earth would you be able to ask a question or engage in a proper discussion? So I guess it’s not only good for me, but also good for the students as well. If they were having problems they could easily get my attention and I had the luxury of attending to them.

My delivery may be a bit unfocused, but I managed to introduce myself, write and give out name cards, and ask what they’ve already learned in school so far. Thanks to the module I’ve been given, I had an idea of what a third grader is supposed to know and what they’re supposed to be learning. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been a third grader myself, and I can’t say that time held my fondest memories… but that’s another story. I gave my students an exercise to answer, but our one hour was almost up so I had to have them take it home and the checking and discussion will have to wait until next meeting. From this point I could already see that some of them know what they’re doing; some are quick to learn; while some, although entertaining, seem to try to distract you from the fact that they had no idea what to do. Hopefully in time I could help them (especially the latter) to learn more from their math lessons and understand them so that they will do great in school and hopefully love and appreciate the subject.

I also recognize the fact that this will be a learning process for me as well, since I have no experience with this tutoring thing, and my people skills aren’t exactly above average. I hope I can learn from my students as much as they learn from me.




One response

11 03 2010
067: One of these things is not like the other « everyday bananas

[…] are my Math tutorial students (minus one, he was absent today). The school year is almost finished, I hope my small contribution […]

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