I became aware of Learn to Be upon my arrival to Penn State as a graduate student. At that point, tutoring wasn’t really a new experience for me — I had tutored some of my younger sister’s high school friends and some of my peers as an undergraduate as well. However, the interface, the age of the students, and the incredible experience LTB has offered were new.
I can’t deny, the first time I tutored a student through Learn to Be, I was a little nervous! The age of technology allows for this amazing opportunity — for me, a graduate student in Pennsylvania, to tutor a middle schooler in California. And yet, online tutoring has a unique set of challenges (hence the nerves)! I wasn’t quite sure how the student was going to respond to my own teaching style, I wasn’t sure if they were going to have questions for me or if I was going to have to come up with content for them on the spot, and I was certainly concerned that if they simply decided to get up and walk away from the computer, being 3,000 miles away I was powerless to stop them (a unique challenge with online tutoring).
Learn To Be has allowed me to see that moment and better yet, help provide that moment, time and time again.
However, my nerves were immediately put to rest the moment I began tutoring. My student, a middle school girl in Los Angeles came to me with her homework assignment for that day and some concepts from class that she was slightly confused about. Together we were able to work through problems on the whiteboard and clear up her confusion, a task that simply took a few examples in addition to the ones she’d seen in class. Seeing her excitement and relief when she was finally able to grasp the concept we were working on and the “oooh now I get it, this is easy!” moment was a rewarding experience to say the least!
That reaction was not unique to this little girl. Learn To Be has allowed me to see that moment and better yet, help provide that moment, time and time again. Since that first tutoring session, I have tutored every week during the school year. Each week brings a new challenge– the demand to find a way to make confusing concepts understandable– but each week also brings the same smile to my face. The recognition that I am able to use the education I have been lucky enough to receive to help further the knowledge of students who may not necessarily have access to the same resources I do (and did) has been absolutely incredible!
Written by Megan Barrett.