While its great to give back to the community and help other people, volunteering is primarily a chance to grow individually. I learned so much from this experience; about other people, cultures, but mostly about myself. Tutoring at Augsburg Fairview Health Sciences Academy was a great opportunity for me.
I have never been a social butterfly and I have always been relatively quiet. This experience allowed me to come out of my shell a little more. Not only did I have to talk to the teachers about what was going on that day, I needed to talk to and interact with the students in order to help them. Sometimes it took a little coaxing to get the students to show me their homework. A few times, they were too enthralled with the laptops or secretly playing with their phones.
While teachers have always talked about different learning styles, I never really knew what they were talking about until I started tutoring. Some of the students were auditory learners. By just explaining how to do the problem, they automatically got it. Other students were visual learners. They actually needed to see a problem worked out. I had to try out a few methods for each student to see which one(s) worked best. After I had established what type of a learner a student was, the rest of the session went much smoother. This taught me to think out of the box. I had to think of new and creative ways to explain a particular problem if a student did not understand it the first time around. This can be extremely difficult to do on the spot.
One of my favorite pastimes is people watching. It was very interesting for me to observe the different dynamics in the room. There were some students who obviously want to learn and others to clearly do not. While this is true of most schools, I was really taken aback by the distinct line drawn in this classroom.
Overall, this was a great experience for me. I met so many new interesting people. I was able to interact with people that I normally wouldn’t have a chance to on a day-to-day basis. Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself.