by Jackie Wong, FCSN Flexible Subject Virtual Tutoring High School Volunteer
Hi! I’m Jackie Wong and I have been a tutor for the 1:1 Flexible Subject Virtual Tutoring program for two months. I tutor drawing and since beginning in July, every week’s session has been so rewarding.
I found out about this program at FCSN through the club at my school and I immediately took interest in it. The fact that I had complete control over what I wanted to teach and when the sessions were was very appealing and I had no trouble implementing it into my schedule! The coordinators were also very accommodating and were able to clear up any questions that I had, making the process of starting to volunteer very seamless and stress free.
I was soon paired with my student and set up with a way to contact the parents. Before the first session, I asked questions that I felt would help me get to know her and help make the transition to the first class easier. Once I began volunteering, I immediately bonded with my student. I viewed these tutoring sessions as a time to draw and have a conversation with a friend. Every week, I learned a little more about her through our conversations, while simultaneously helping her build her social skills! Her excitement and the smile that I saw on her face every time I showed her what we were drawing that day never failed to warm my heart and really made me glad I had decided to become a tutor.
Since becoming a tutor, I have learned how important it is to ask questions from the start. When I was first paired with my student, I knew very little about her, so I did not hesitate to ask her parents all the questions I had in order to know as much as I could and prepare for our first session. For example, I asked for examples of her past drawings, so I could have an idea of her skill level and what she enjoyed drawing. Also, I find that being flexible and open during the session helps tremendously. Sometimes, your student will have different ideas as to what they want to learn or do that day, so it is important to listen to what they have to say and improvise what you had planned that day accordingly. Asking for the suggestions and feedback at the end of the class is also very helpful to consistently form interesting lessons that they will continue to be engaged in.
To be able to work so closely with a special needs student is such a rewarding experience because you are able to be a positive influence on them and witness their growth and progress every week, not only in the subject you are teaching, but in their personality, too. You can tell that they look forward and appreciate these sessions you have with them and that motivates you to continue to work hard as a tutor, as well as in other aspects of your life! I have gotten just as much out of this tutoring experience as my student and I am grateful to be a part of this program.
FCSN tutor Jackie Wong (right) and her student Cosmo Peng (left)