Today I start math tutoring again. I didn’t sign up at the beginning of the school year because my life feels a bit uncertain right now, but the tutoring coordinator contacted and asked if I would be willing to do it again. I told her that I couldn’t commit to the entire school year, but that I was happy to tutor for as long as I could.
I know, I know. I have spent this past week whining about how I need to stop overcommitting myself and to give myself more free time. But this is just one hour a week. And you know I can’t say no when someone asks for help. And I really do like tutoring.
Last year’s tutoring experience was is a very mixed experience. Like most of my “do good” activities, I think that I end of up getting much more out of the experience than whoever I am helping. Thinking about algebra once a week really helped me on the GRE and it was good exposure to the educational system here in California. But I don’t know if I helped the girl I was tutoring very much. She was so behind that me helping her for one hour a week didn’t come close to catching her up. Sure, I could help her with that day’s assignment, but I couldn’t make up for all of the basic math skills that she was lacking. We would spend time working on basics like adding fractions when she was supposed to be solving quadratic equations. She needed to be in a pre-algebra class, but the school doesn’t offer anything lower than algebra in high school. And her taking it multiple years wasn’t going to help her. It can be frustrating how limited I am by the system, especially just as a volunteer.
This year I am going to tutor a more advanced student, someone who as actually passed a high school math course, so I am hoping that I will be of more help, and that I’ll remember how to do more advanced math than algebra!