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

me.

 

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

me better.


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