Molly Timmins, AmeriCorps VISTA | October 6, 2017
In honor of National Tutoring Week, I would like to recognize a tutor who had a huge impact on my life. When I arrived at college, I was terrified that I would be taking calculus. Math had been my worst subject in high school and my math teachers would tell me I was smart and should be able to get it, but almost always I arrived at the wrong answer. I felt dumb, and they weren’t very helpful even when I asked to go over homework or a test. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to more math classes.
In the first few weeks of class, I asked a friend for help with my homework. His roommate piped up and said linear algebra was his favorite subject. After this, I came to him three or more times a week and would even study for tests while sitting on their floor. I only asked for help after I tried the problems myself, consulted the textbook, my notes, and everything the internet had to offer. Eric was better. He was patient with me. Eric would explain something to me, see that I wouldn’t get it and explain it in a completely different way. There were times when he would provide three or four explanations for a concept before a lightbulb would go off in my head. I was amazed at the dedication he showed to me and to the subject. Eric also helped me realize that many times I had the process correct, but I would mix the numbers up in my head and plug them in wrong. This learning disability (a mild form of dyscalculia) had always frustrated my teachers beforehand, but he helped me to work through it. He helped me to be less frustrated with myself.
The love Eric had for the subject and the patience and dedication he showed to me was inspirational. It made me want to succeed and excel. Eric tutored me for two semesters, expecting nothing from me (even though he had made quite a lot of money as a tutor in the past), however, I did show my appreciation in the form of brownies! I contribute my success — and it was success, for my grades far exceeded my expectations that first week of school — to my will and want to learn, my perseverance, and to Eric.
While Eric may never see this, I want to thank him and celebrate him for National Tutoring Week. If you have ever had a tutor, or know a tutor volunteering their time in the Santa Fe schools, please recognize how amazing they are and say thank you for making a difference in a child’s life.