Andrew Lautz is a GW tutor in the Ross Elementary and both Saturday tutoring programs.
(This story first appeared in the George Washington University DC Reads Newsletter.)
I’ve had the great opportunity to tutor with the For Love of Children (FLOC) program since September and it’s been both an interesting and unique experience to say the least. The first thing I noticed at FLOC was the incredible level of positive energy in the building; this energy exists in the tutors, the students, and the staff. I questioned my own ability to hit the ground running at the program just based on watching already trained tutors work with their student for two hours without skipping a beat in energy level. But what I discovered quickly was that the energy is infectious.
The satisfaction that a tutor can get from seeing a student fully comprehend what they teach them is really what drives this energy. This can be said anywhere, but at FLOC it certainly helps to have a well-trained and equally energetic staff along with a wealth of resources that keep each tutoring session interesting. The students and their tutors work in one of two large and spacious rooms. My first reaction to this spacing was skeptical; I wondered whether or not my student and I would be able to concentrate through what I thought would be chaos. However, the sense of hustle creates a sense of community; groups feed off of each other’s energy and share ideas and games. It’s far better than being isolated in a quiet classroom.
Personally, tutoring has been an amazing experience to offer what resources I do have as a college student to those who may otherwise not have the opportunity: the much aforementioned energy and an understanding of what makes these younger students tick. After all, many of us at GW were there not too long ago. Growing up in a middle-class, rural New England town allowed me to work one-on-one with my teachers which developed my learning quicker than I could have developed it on my own. I want to be able to provide that kind of learning to students who come to FLOC behind in reading or math. Many of them attend urban schools that are low on resources and high in student population. If I can give a student two hours a week to learn using methods and games that they can relate to, I hope that I can make them accelerate their learning to get them caught up to their classmates and beyond.
Any tutoring is great for the DC community, but I’m more than glad I’ve been tutoring at FLOC this year; the program meshes the structure needed to guide the tutor in their lessons but the flexibility needed to personalize the lesson for their student. The staff has been helpful each and every week and the students are engaged and interested. I can just hope that the students my classmates and I have taught have gotten as beneficial an experience as I’ve received from FLOC.