Today officially marks the end of tutoring for the 2015-2016 school year. We can’t believe it – time has flown by! To celebrate, our staff members have pulled together some of our very favorite stories from tutoring this year. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

One family can make a huge impact. Both of these stories are about the exact same student at Family Promise!

When one of our Program Coordinators (PC) left in the middle of the year I often sub-PC’d at Family Promise until we hired another person to fill that spot. When I started there we had a family that I had seen before when I was a PC at Dayspring. I recognized the oldest child, a second grader named Garrett*, as a student I had then. This kid was an absolute delight to see every day. While he was not super interested in his academic work, he would fly through whatever you gave him to do so he could get to the fun stuff. He wanted to share his interests, origami and magic, with his tutors – and he was really impressive! I still don’t know how he did some of those card tricks. He had such pride in seeing how genuinely impressed the adults in the room were and you could tell he was delighted to be able to show off his skills.  – Erin, Program Manager

Origami claws

Some of Garrett’s origami handiwork

When tutoring at Family Promise one evening, we had a new family arrive. None of the kids had much homework so we took the time to get to know each other and share some of our favorite things instead. Garrett, the oldest boy’s, favorite thing was creating origami projects so we spent the evening making an origami spaceship. He taught me every single step perfectly and was a really great teacher who could communicate how to do something complicated really well! It was a pretty cool spaceship when we finished! It even flew perfectly (until I got home and showed my husband how far it flew, at which point my dog caught it and ate it). – Claire, Grants & Communications Director

Kid’s Say the Darndest Things. Our kids say some pretty hilarious things at tutoring, and many of our favorite tutoring moments involve the funny things they say!

I run the IPS 54 STAR program for kindergarteners and first graders on Wednesdays during lunch, and let me tell you, they definitely say some funny things! One day at tutoring, I overheard this conversation between one of our most precocious first graders, Tim*, and his tutor:

Tim: “Have you ever seen a flip phone?
Jeff: “Yes, I used to have one…”
Tim: “Those flip phones are dinosaur phones. You couldn’t text or do ANYTHING on them!”

I have no idea how this conversation even came up, but it was a pretty clear moment about the differences between the generations! – Shalyn, Program & Communications Specialist

Our students warm our hearts. Many of our favorite stories involve those sweet moments that you have with students that make the difficult nights worthwhile!

My favorite story about the first grader I work with, Tara*, was the time she was getting her lunch and she asked me, “Why does it take so long for you guys to come get me?” I thought she meant that it takes a long time for us to get her from her classroom.  So I explained to her that we have to wait until the teacher is ready.  And she said, “No, for you guys to come get me!” And this time I realized she meant she feels the wait time for Wednesday’s tutoring is too long for her. – Laura, Project Manager

Tara completing a project with her tutor

Tara completing a project with her tutor

So many stories, so many magical moments, it’s tough to recall the favorites! Here’s just one of the recent ones: As I was preparing the tutoring area, a kindergarten student, Terrance*, was lying on the floor under my chair when he said, “Ms. Teresa. . . I’m happy you’re here.” – Teresa, Coburn Place Program Coordinator

We also love to see it when our students make connections or discoveries – either with their tutors, each other or applying something in the real world!

One of my favorite tutoring moments this past year occurred at Salvation Army on the night our Nextech partners were there to teach the kids about coding.  As the Nextech programmer described to the students what it meant to code, one of the kid’s hands shot up in the air.  She said, “This will be great for us, because my brother and our two new friends here have a new business plan.  We want to start a company that makes video games, so we need to know how to do this!”  Dream big – I love it! – Karen, Director of Programs

Our students enjoying a visit from Nextech!

Our students enjoying a visit from Nextech!

My favorite tutoring stories are typically when I see volunteers and students making a connection.  This is a story of student Trey* and tutor Beau.  On this particular night, I initially sat down to work with Anita, a 7th grade girl and Trey, a 6th grade boy.  Trey had no homework but had a book about football.  I had him reading his book and got Anita started on her homework. Beau came in a few minutes later and sat down with Trey. They immediately clicked and had a common love of football.  They started with reading Beau’s book, and Beau had Trey reading out loud while prompting him with comprehension questions.  Beau then got out the iPad and used Google maps to find where each team was located geographically.  Towards the end of the tutoring hour they were doing math problems to figure out statistics in relation to each team’s record and game scores. I was so thankful that Beau worked with Trey, not only because I could have never had an on-going conversation about football with him, but because he was so creative in helping Trey learn while keeping it fun and interesting. – Samantha, Volunteer Coordinator

It was an active day at tutoring at IPS 14, and many tutors were doubled up. I had two squirmy kindergarteners who were opposite in personality and sizing each other up as we all sat down at the table together. I suggested that we read a book. They each found a few books on the shelf, and after a bit of back and forth, agreed on A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer. At first, both boys fought over who would hold the book and who would turn the pages. I explained that I would hold the book and they could take turns flipping pages. At first, neither kid wanted to turn over the responsibility of page turning as they kept hold of the page, letting me know that they could do it alone. I insisted we take turns. About halfway through, both kids were getting the hang of it. Each time I would prompt, “Now it’s Garon’s turn, or now it’s Isaac’s turn*,” they would relinquish control and let the other handle the responsibility. Further along, they were really into the story, as was I, and I forgot to switch page turners. Garon noticed this right away and said, “Miss Kris, it not my turn, it’s Isaac’s turn!” The magic of books! – Kris, Program Assistant

What’s your favorite story from tutoring this year? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Have these stories inspired you to become a tutor? Click here to apply! We’re now accepting applications for the Fall 2016 semester!

* all names of School on Wheels students and parents are changed to protect privacy