Tutoring students is not only beneficial to students, but it’s also extremely beneficial for you! From my personal experiences of being a tutor in high school and in college, I’ve witnessed first-hand the positive impact it has on the students and, to my surprise, on me. I never expected to learn so much from teaching others. Here’s what I learned from my experiences and why tutoring is such a rewarding process.
1. You strengthen your knowledge.
Numerous studies have shown that teaching others strengthens your own knowledge on the subject because you’re forced to retrieve the information you’ve once learned and put it into your own words so that the tutee can understand. In addition to presenting the information in your own words, you’re also forced to present it in engaging ways for the student. This impels you to think outside of what you’ve learned in the classroom and apply that knowledge in a new space. From this, you’re building more confidence in that field.
For me, personally, teaching is the way I learn the best. Even though I’m not an expert in the fields I tutor, the effort I put into teaching helps me advance my knowledge and pass it on to the students.
2. You Improve Your People Skills.
Being a tutor not only requires knowledge of that particular subject, but also excellent interpersonal skills. A great tutor should have the following skills: patience, empathy, communication, enthusiasm, creativity, dedication, organization, and many others! Of course, it’s a lot and unrealistic to ask for a novice tutor to come in with an exceptional background in all of these skills, but the wonderful thing about tutoring is that as your student builds on the knowledge you’re teaching them, you’re building on those invaluable skills!
Currently, as a tutor, I’m working mainly on my enthusiasm. Looking back to where my enthusiasm levels were in high school to now, I already see a huge improvement! I’m not just more enthusiastic with my tutees, but in other parts of my life as well. These skills aren’t only applicable and pertinent to tutoring, but also all other aspects of your social and professional life.
3. You Truly Make A Difference.
This is one of the more obvious benefits of being a tutor. That aha moment when your student grasps a concept is one of the most rewarding moments to witness. You’re able to make an actual positive impact in someone’s life and serve as a role model for them! My favorite part isn’t just when a student answers a question correctly, but rather when I’m able to stir their curiosity and have them actively engage with the material.
I decided to become a tutor when I realized the privilege I had as a student and how much tutoring benefitted me. My parents were able to provide me with private tutoring in elementary school so that I could excel early on. Although I’m extremely grateful for this, I realized in middle school and high school that not everyone is as privileged as I am. I’m taking that privilege and using it to volunteer my time so that other students can excel as I did with my tutor.
4. You Tailor the Process.
The process is pretty flexible considering that you’re in charge of what you’re teaching. There’s a high chance that there’s a demand for what you want to teach. It’s also flexible in that you can tutor literally anyone who needs it– elementary students, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, adults. You’re able to make your own lesson plans and schedule too. Essentially, you’re doing what you do best!
5. You Value Education More.
By witnessing first-hand the impact you’re having on a student’s life, you can better appreciate education and its influence.
Now is a perfect time to consider tutoring because there are dozens of virtual opportunities due to COVID-19. So try to reach out to your local schools or just google search for opportunities! Considering how the sudden school closures and the disruptive switch to online classes have negatively impacted students, especially lower-income and first-generation students, there’s a high demand for tutors online. You’re able to help them academically and you also build a personal connection with someone at a time where people are yearning personal connections.
I’ll leave you all with one of my favorite passages from Abdul El-Sayed’s Healing Politics (a great read– highly recommend!).
“There’s something uniquely human about knowledge. With most goods, giving some to someone else necessarily reduces the amount that you have for yourself. But knowledge never decreases when you share it; it increases. As a former professor, I often found that teaching something, even if I had taught it many times before, improved my own grasp of it. In working to answer a student’s question or mentor another through a problem, I often came to see the material in a new light. My knowledge, in fact, got stronger because I shared it.”