Since my high school days, I have loved to educate individuals with the knowledge I am blessed to have. During the pandemic, it can be frustrating to try and volunteer but I am thankful there was a way. Over this semester, I have tutored 5 children ranging from 1st-5th grade. Each child had their own different personality that filled my heart with joy. The most amazing thing to me is how even though I am the one doing the tutoring, the children still find ways to teach me!
The most heart warming child, I won’t give names due to privacy, was a second grader who loved race cars. This information is pertinent because when trying to tutor a smaller child, a reward has to always be in place! When teaching the child basic math, I found myself inspecting him to understand why and how the child was using the race car. So when asked what is “5+5,” the child scooted the race car back and forth until he got to ten. When he looked up with his sweet eyes, he asked, “Would you like to try?” He had multiple race cars so we both solved multiple problems by following his technique. Even though I also had to show him how to use paper and pencil, I still let him scoot the race cars against the wooden table.
There are many things I gained from this experience. One, I learned when looking for ways to inspect a problem, it is okay to not go with the traditional way. Two, when you decide to be different, don’t be shy! The little boy was very confident in his actions. Three, when you find a different route to solving a problem, share your knowledge! The way the little boy was open to letting me also try the race car technique melted my heart. Most of all, if one way doesn’t work for you, try a different method until you feel comfortable. The little boy was confident and comfortable with the solutions the equations I was presenting before him. Even though I am no longer tutoring the child, the lessons he taught me will forever stick with me.
Shai Haynes is finishing her first year at Southern Miss. She is majoring in biological sciences.