Name: Rachel Schoepke
From: Marshall, Michigan
School: Marshall High School
For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to spend my winters
tutoring fifth grade students. Two days each week, I spent an hour
helping students who struggle with math. I have always had a passion
for learning so this opportunity allowed me to share my passion with
students who may lack it. Through reiterating teachers’ lessons
and working individually with 10-15 students in areas which they
struggled, I hoped not just to help them succeed, but also to help
them develop a passion for learning like mine. Some students
struggled with this more than others and did not wish to be tutored.
My biggest challenge was finding willingness to participate in each
student. Whether it was giving encouragement or candy, I worked to
make each student excited for our meetings.
Although at times challenging, tutoring has been the most rewarding of the
volunteer projects I have taken part in. Nothing compares to the
feeling of a breakthrough in understanding, when the student’s face
lights up with pride. It is rewarding to hear the students say they
enjoy the lessons because they finally understand them. I am proud
of what I do when the students beg their teacher to work with me as
soon as I walk into the classroom. I love accomplishing my goal—to
inspire these students’ love of learning. Despite my favorite
parts of volunteering, I do not aspire to be a teacher. I enjoy the
individualized attention and would be frustrated with the lack
thereof, as I know this would be unachievable in a classroom.
However, I hope to continue tutoring throughout my college career.
To me, “forward looking” means taking actions in consideration of
the future—working now for improvement later. This is the essence
of tutoring. The students I work with need a stronger mathematical
base moving forward in their education. My goal is to strengthen
this base for future success. I hope to help my students advance in
their educational career with not only a stronger mathematical base
essential to their success, but also with the work ethic and desire
to learn and perform to the best of their abilities—to work past
their struggles and become stronger in spite of them. If I were to
come back in the future, I would hope to see my students graduating
from high school and pursuing post-secondary education. I believe if
students are willing to put in the effort, the tutoring experience
can teach them to work hard and that they can
what they originally believed they could not.
My responsibility as a tutor is to teach the students, but they have
also taught me. It is humbling to watch students come
enthusiastically to work to improve themselves, no matter how little
they understand. I have learned that some things do not come as
easily to some as they do to others, and that I should not take for
granted the skills I have been given. For this, I thank my students.