My rewarding tutoring experience at the Durham Literacy Center likely would never had happened had it not been with DukeEngage. When my other DukeEngage colleague (Cory) and I were being trained for the program, they were very excited about us because we were new volunteers!
I think that being a Duke student made no difference on how effective we were as tutors. There are tutors at the DLC who have been there for years and who have extensive experience with the students at the center. These tutors knew the right things to say and knew how to tailor to their students. As a new tutor, I needed to put a bit of trust in my student to tell me when they didn’t follow. At times it’s hard for me to put my train of thought into words. Tutoring confirmed that over and over. As the days went though, consistency and effort from both my student and I successful as tutor and tutee.
I realized also how important creating rapport with the people you work with is – that’s how you keep them coming back to use the services again. One of my biggest personal takeaways from the DLC is acceptance. That attitude is something I will take with me to my placement in the United Kingdom, I saw, overall, two types of people: those with distrust of their students and those who recognized the students as their equals. The students we worked with had real lives and circumstances that led them to making the choice to leave school or being forced to, and each one is valid and personal. Their willingness to be vulnerable and pursue a high school equivalency diploma is something everyone should respect, especially the staff at the center.
On a last note, my going-away card had more signatures than Cory’s. 😀