Tutoring can be a frustrating undertaking. Between teachers who do not seem to understand the need to fill a volunteers time slot ASAP or the volunteers will go elsewhere, and tutors who do not follow the plan for the student, flack from the school district about when students are being tutored, sometimes it is very hard to find the motivation to do the job. Then there are the students. Some have the skills but not the confidence. Some are good kids but they are lacking specific skills they need, but some just do not try. I have one of those students this year. She looks at a math worksheet and says, “oh – I know how to do that.” Then proceeds to get every problem wrong. She is reluctant to take any instruction, and is indignant at the suggestion that she may need to study her basic math facts so that she can be ready for harder math.
So here I am banging my head against the wall with her one day before Christmas when in walks this man. “Mr. Neilson” he says. I look at him, not really making a connection.
“Yes,” I reply, “can I help you?”
“I’m Jaquan. Remember me?” He says.
Wham it all comes back to me. I tutored Jaquan in 5th and 6th grades ages ago!
He hugs me and says , “I am in town from college and I wanted to stop by and see you. After School 35 I went to School Without Walls, graduated, and went to MCC for two years while working at Wegmans. I graduated there and am finishing up my Bachelors Degree in criminology. I am going to be a parole officer when I graduate. I wanted to say thank you for your help.”
We have all heard the saying, “The Lord works in mysterious ways,” well, that visit could not have come at a better time. In the Parable of the Sower there are four things that can happen to the seed. Eaten by birds, rocky soil and hard to take root, strangled out by weeds, or flourish in fertile ground. We are never sure what impact we will have working with students. Sometimes I guess God just wants us to remember that we are doing good works, so he sends a reminder.
This is my “Why.”
by Ike Neilson – Tutor Coordinator at #35 School
If this ministry speaks to you, consider:
1) contacting Ike Nielson at Neilson1118@me.com or at (585)281-0017
and discussing how you can volunteer, or
2) sending a tax deductible check made out to Third Presbyterian Church with “Tutoring at School #35” on the Memo line, to 4 Meigs St., Rochester, NY 14607.