October 5-9 is National Tutoring Week. To celebrate, I’d like to share five reasons why someone would want to volunteer as a tutor. But first, a basic definition of tutoring. Volunteer tutoring involves a combination of instruction and assisting with assignments, either one-on-one or in small groups of students.
And why would someone want to be a volunteer tutor?
- Tutoring works. One-on-one tutoring, in concert with the teacher’s curriculum, over time makes a measurable difference for students.
- You get more than you give. Volunteer tutoring is rewarding. You have the chance to make a real difference in the life of a child and ultimately, the greater community. Volunteer tutoring is easy and fun, and you get to experience your student’s positive responses and growth.
- You’re the expert. Volunteers get to share what they know, not only about the subject matter, but how success in school has made a difference in their lives.
- It’s flexible, and predictable. Most tutoring programs will ask for an ongoing commitment. You can shop around, however, to find an opportunity that works with your schedule. More and more employers are finding ways for employees to commit to tutoring opportunities during the work day. You can tutor in person, or as this video from Valley of the Sun United Way shows, over the phone or via email.
- All eyes are on you. Every child loves attention, and tutoring allows you to provide it. The attention can bolster the student’s sense of self-worth and self-confidence. And, students who form good relationships with tutors may feel more positively about relationships with teachers and parents.
The high school graduation rate in the U.S. is at its highest level in more than three decades. Included in this national mark of progress are more than a third of all U.S. United Ways that mobilize volunteer readers, tutors, and mentors. For example, ReadUP, led by United Way of Central Indiana, engages over 1,000 volunteers annually that tutor 3rd-5th graders in literacy. United Way of Rock River Valley’s (Illinois) I READ program values long-term partnerships between volunteers and students. Tutors are matched with Kindergarteners, tutor them in-school and are encouraged to remain with their students through third grade.
If you're interested in helping children get more out of their education and have a solid foundation for future learning, become a volunteer tutor! Learn more about tutoring here, and contact your local United Way for help in finding the right volunteer opportunity for you.