Monday, 10 June 2013

Loving Lucy's Laughs

At my school I'm part of a 'Peer Tutoring' programme. I get paired up with a young Middle School student who's struggling with school work, and then I meet with them everyday to help them improve.

I tutor a gorgeous girl named Lucy. We meet everyday instead of morning break to work on maths together. I must say, it really is SO much fun! We get to play maths games, have a laugh, and I find it so rewarding to see her improvements week after week.

At the beginning of the year the Senior School students in the programme were
told how rewarding it would be to tutor these kids. The teacher told us about all these studies that suggest that it's really the tutor who gets the most out of tutoring, not the kid.

To be honest, I was pretty sceptical about this. I really only wanted to do the programme because I thought it would look great on a resume for work and on my school records.

At our first tutoring session Lucy and I were both quite shy. I found it slightly awkward helping a girl I'd never met before with her maths, and I was really nervous about how she'd respond to my teaching. Over the weeks Lucy and I have grown very comfortable with each other. She comes waltzing in the door at the same time, every day, and we spend half an hour laughing, playing games, and practising times tables.

It hasn't all been easy, though. There are some days when I sit at the tutoring table with my head in my hands, thinking to myself, 'please don't show up!' On those days I'm so emotionally drained and physically tired that tutoring Lucy is the LAST thing I feel like doing - It seems to take a lot of energy to keep up with her, and to try and smile just as brightly and sound enthusiastic and encouraging all the time. Ironically, however, Lucy is the ONLY tutee to have had 100% attendance to all of our sessions, all year - something that I can't even boast of!

Tutoring Lucy has taught me many things. I've learnt to be better at encouraging and giving words of affirmation, and my patience has definitely been improving. Lucy has brought me so much joy in these past few weeks. It's such a blessing to see her bright little face light up when she gets the right answer, and to hear her laughter as she beats me at bingo for the gazillionth time! I love hearing about her weekends, getting high-fives from her, and the way that she runs up to me in the playground so enthusiastically.

Who would have thought that tutoring one small girl would leave me grinning for the rest of the day, so thankful for the opportunity to have an input into her spirited young life? I wouldn't have. And that's because of my attitude at the beginning of the programme - I was only in it for 'brownie points' with teachers, and an impressive resume. I didn't expect to get anything out of it - but I did.

This month I've been trying to have a positive attitude when it comes to trying out new things. I'm not naturally good at it, so it's something I have to work really hard for. The point is, it all depends on how I see things. If I go into something thinking, 'This is going to be terrible!', then I won't get the most out of it. But, even if I'm unsure about a new situation, I can choose to have a positive attitude, and that way I'll be happy, whatever the outcome.

Next time I'm faced with something new or different, I'm going to remember to be positive - are you?

I guess that's it for now - hope you're all doing well! :)

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