By Varun Sudhakar
During this week, I had two sessions of tutoring. On the first day, there were no students present in the writer’s room. Although I could have viewed this as a waste of time, I decided to take this as an opportunity to get to know the place better and how the system worked. I felt that helping them out in simple things like replacing the water can for the water dispenser, and helping them update their blog and Facebook page gave me satisfaction. Service not only meant serving a particular set of people in the organization. Helping the organization as a whole also counts as service.
On the second day of service-learning, there was a group of 30 seventh grade students who came into the writer’s room. They were working on short stories. I helped one of them, named Joey*, in improving his ending. Seeing his style of writing reminded me of how I used to write when I was his age. It showed me how much I had improved from then that I could now help someone to improve their writing skills. Joey had amazing creativity. I felt that he also helped me gain confidence in myself as he accepted his mistakes and learned to correct them. I felt a sense of mutual understanding when I was working with him. This reminded me of the meaning of service-learning which was stressed upon in class over and over again. I remembered that I was very nervous at the start, but experience being the best teacher, gave me pride and confidence in what I did to help the creative kid that Joey was. At the end of the tutoring session, I felt that I had learned how to interact with people and how to truly HELP them. I had also gained a new friend.
*the student’s name has been changed.
Varun is a student in Professor Belinda Walzer’s First-Year College Writing Course. He is serving weekly in the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science Writer’s Room, a space staffed and run by 826 Boston.