VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: HAILEY HANKS, START NOW TUTOR
While I was immediately excited about the chance to tutor for the Nashville Adult
Literacy Council, I must admit that I had my fair share of nerves when it came
time to actually begin tutoring. I worried about whether or not I would be able to
articulate definitions and principles clearly enough and whether or not I would be
able to connect with the students I worked with. I am happy to say, however, that
all of my worries dissipated after my first tutoring session. While there are still
challenges and I still push myself to communicate better, tutoring for the Start
Now program has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.
While I am officially the tutor, this position has been a learning experience for me
as well. My ability to speak concisely when necessary has greatly improved since
I began tutoring. Overall, my communication skills have improved. Teaching rules
of English that seem ingrained for many of us really improves my understanding
of the language. It is easy to forget the basic rules that we practice on a daily
basis. On a few occasions, when asked a simple question I have had to think for
a moment to produce the right answer. My goal is, of course, to do the best I can
to help the students I work with to improve in whatever area they are working on,
whether that is oral fluidity, short and long vowels, reading comprehension, or
writing. However, I would be remiss if I did not also realize that they are teaching
Thus far, I have worked with twelve different learners in the Start Now program. I
have worked with some multiple times, while I have only seen others once.
Tutoring in this program is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done, and it is all
because of these learners. In this position, I have the opportunity to meet some
truly amazing people. Naturally, there are people I connect with more than
others, but every one of them has provided me with a positive experience. My
mind has been expanded not just linguistically but culturally as well.
I signed up for a few months of Start Now tutoring as an intern with NALC.
However, I hope to keep working with their students long after my internship is
over. While I was nervous in the beginning, I am now excited each time I go to a
tutoring session. I look forward to meeting even more learners and working more
with the ones I already know. This truly is a job during which I can forget about
stresses and the long day behind me. It is easy to live in the moment and focus
on the students when they are so wonderful and when they consistently make