Many of the community needs in Boston center around the city’s youth and the desire for additional academic support. As such, a significant number of service-learning students are engaged in service that involves tutoring at after or in-school programs throughout the city. Building resources for our students to use so that they can serve confidently is an important aspect of our program.
S-LTA Katie Elliot asked her First-Year Writing students to respond to Street Team member Ben Sanders’s tutoring pro-tips. Each Tuesday, we’ll post their responses here!
Mike Pasqua, BS Biology 2019
Going into this whole service-learning adventure, my first thought probably was that I didn’t have much to offer these students. I generally feel comfortable writing for myself or someone else (class, emails, etc.), but I never thought about helping someone with their own work. I’ve never tutored anyone in any subject before. We have all undoubtedly proofread someone else’s work for classes and such, but doing it as a service to someone else, for something that affects their lives in an important way is fairly intimidating. I wasn’t particularly anxious about helping them but questioned more if I was really qualified enough to do so. When it finally came down to helping someone, I realized one major thing: I can give them only what I am able to and nothing more.
Now I’m sure that sounds obvious, maybe slightly brash, but what I mean is that there are a ton of things I don’t know that could benefit the students, but there are also a ton of other things that I do know that can benefit them just as well; and the same goes for everyone else. The important thing to me at this point is showing up and giving only what I am able to give. For instance, the ESL student that I helped with her BU essay had a great story to her essay, but when I was reading it, I noticed a lot of mechanical and structural errors. Those are things that I noticed that I can help her fix. I’m sure there were plenty of errors that someone else could have noticed, but did we make it better together? I think so–and better is better than nothing at all.