Anuradha Sivaram, a California native who first came to tutor at For Love of Children in March of this year, arrived with no tutoring experience but plenty of intelligence and a willingness to explore new ways of learning.
She was aware of the need for tutors after taking a class in college about the D.C. school system, and wanted to help in any way she could. After hearing about FLOC through a friend, Anuradha knew how to follow through on that wish.
It wasn’t long before Anuradha learned all the FLOC curricula – what she calls “the trifecta of FLOC” – tutoring math in the spring, elementary reading in the summer, and now adolescent reading in the fall.
In addition to stretching your skill set, being a great tutor involves paying attention to students’ likes and dislikes. She knows it’s important to incorporate kids’ interests, whether it’s Justin Bieber, hopscotch, or football.
Anuradha will often play what she calls “reading football,” where she would pretend to hike a ball and throw it while yelling out a vocabulary word, which the student has to then define.
“It’s all about integrating movement and activities,” Anuradha says.
Sometimes you also need to switch things up to keep a tutoring session interesting.
“What I’ve discovered is that starting with the [textbook] can get a little boring. But starting off reading a book with an enjoyable story makes it interesting. So sometimes I’ll change the order.”
Tutoring math can also prove to be difficult, even for Anuradha who studied economics. Since math is second nature to her, it wasn’t always easy dissecting and revisiting math concepts she had learned many years earlier, but she came to enjoy the challenge.
“I have a new perspective on how to make [tutoring] fun,” she says. “I don’t remember having a creative curriculum to learn basic steps, so it forced me to think about basic skills in fun, engaging ways.”
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