I have two main challenges being an America Reads tutor. On one hand, I have an overwhelming amount of students that clamber over each other to read with me. I have to be careful about not over promising myself to them, because I could easily do that any day. On the other hand, the older kids usually don't want to read at all, especially the ones that need it. It's like they've become jaded with reading, and it's a chore they just don't want to do. I've dealt with this challenge by finding something they enjoy, and using it to get them motivated. For example, we have a sixth grader that's only reading on a 3rd grade level. He refused to read with me until I had a chat with him. He loves soccer, and he's very good at. So good, in fact, that I believe he could go far with it. I brought up different challenges that would realistically stop him from going professional. I told him that if he doesn't get passing grades, no one can recruit him. I told him he has a rare opportunity for special help with reading, and if he doesn't step up his game now, it will be very difficult for him to get by in high school. I let him think about it, and I could tell it impacted him deeply. He read with me that day, and I think he'll continue to ready with me in the future. I hope this will get him to take school more seriously, and I hope to see him getting recruited one day. My advice to other tutors is have fun. Get to know your kids and play games with them. Joke with them, and keep things light. Others can help me out by keeping up the good work!Jeslicania
That is really great you had a heart to heart talk to him about reading and how it relates to his love for soccer. I hope that he continues reading with you too. The older kids may possibly avoid reading due to the fact that they might have self-esteem issues with reading and might mask it with a disinterested attitude. But I think you will get to them due to your caring, persistent nature. Keep it up!B.L.
I am starting another year at YMCA. I really like the little kids. They grab hold of everything around them, never be shocked on what they can pick up. I read somewhere that if a child is loved at home, then they go to school to learn..if they are not loved at home, then they come to school to feel love and feel appreciated. This is what I hope to recognize this fall break as I tutor with these young little children, and give back to the community by being a good example and helping the teachers in their classroom as they teach, implement rules, and have fun!
I am enjoying tutoring. I started tutoring at Nibley Park 4 hours a day twice a week but found that with the lunch breaks it was difficult to find students. I am now going to the YMCA for 2 hours in the mornings on Tues and Thurs working with the pre-schoolers and then going over to Nibley Park for 2 hours in the afternoon, working with several groups of 3rd graders. I think the biggest challenge I have right now is having so many students that I have a hard time with their names. Aimee gave me name tags for my students. I am a little frustrated in that I can't read with more students. There is such a great need at Nibley Park for tutors!! I have a couple of students that have behavioral problems but I am communicating with teachers to figure out how to react to these problems. When I understand some of the things my students are dealing with it is easier to find a solution. All in all things are going pretty well with the tutoring. I am loving being in both places right now it is working for my schedule.
Nap time is the biggest challenge in preschool. Another challenge is getting kids to follow the rules. To overcome these challenges, I am learning what kids respond well to which reactions from adults as fast as I possibly can. This way, I can apply the techniques to my own actions. What I have noticed most so far is that some kids respond best by talking to them, giving them attention, not giving them attention, encouraging them, or sometimes just giving them commands. This has made it easier to know what to do in what otherwise might be stressful situations. It would be helpful to me if others found ways to keep nap time as quiet or by playing music.
For the first time, I helped out with nap time at the YMCA. It was definitely tricky with certain kids. You are absolutely right about how kids respond. As people, we naturally crave attention and praise. For kids, they will do whatever they can to receive attention even if it is with positive or negative behavior. What helps me is when I praise kids who are doing what I like. "I love the way Johnny is sitting so quietly. Wow. I am just so impressed." All of a sudden 2-3 more kids start doing what Johnny does. Then I immediately praise those 2-3 kids. Then you start noticing more of them are doing what you were praising the other kids for. Now you got them trying to get your attention, but in a positive way for you and them. It really works! B.L.
I agree with the poster above. Nap time is incredibly frustrating on different levels. On one level....how many times do I have to tell you to lay down? Furreal. Lay. Down. But that's as far as it can go. I have no real authority, and they know it! And that drives me batty! Sometimes I wish I could just snuggle them to sleep, but I can't. Sometimes I want to smother their adorable little faces with a pillow, but I can't do that either. So...until further notice I will continue to try using jedi mind tricks on them. And some of them are impervious to such tactics, and that frustrates me.
I have been a tutor for a year and I now assist in the office to help improve the tutoring experience for other new and returning tutors in the America Reads program. I would have to say that just being consistent if a good attribute to have when volunteering. This means keeping a regular schedule or minimum hours you are available and learning a system for how to carry-out the tutoring you do. Doing that made tutoring more about the kids, than stressing over when and how to do things for me.
I have been having the same problem of children not following rules. I have tried and talked to them alone aside from their friends because I noticed that if they are with their friends they keep misbehaving and encouraging their friends to misbehave also. I have had a staff told me that if there is a child that is not paying attention after so many times being told that I could call them to help with the child. For whoever is going through the same situation with a child to not be afraid of asking for help from the staff.-Jess
I agree that sometimes it is hard with the kids who aren't doing what they are told, and aren't willing to listen. It makes it much harder to try and help them, let alone read with them. The coordinator at our school is really good about talking to them to make sure they stay in line, so that helps a lot and makes my job easier! I agree that talking with the staff about your concerns can help lots down the road. Thanks!Rachael Wilkin
The challenges to being an America Reads tutor is that there is going to days where you have kids that won't focus, or they won't want to do what you ask them too, even if its saying a word over and over again to help them engrain it in their mind. Some days the kids are going to want to talk and not read, or they will only focus on the pictures and then forget that they are reading. Then there are times where the kids will not want to work at all, and you have to keep pulling their attention back to you, and they focus on the rewards at the end. These are the challenges I am facing at Nibley Park, and with challenges like this, requires dedication, understanding, leadership and most of all patience.With dedication, understanding, leadership and patience, I can use those skills to help remind the kids that I work with, that I am there to help them and that I am the one in charge of the sessions. I don't get mad and yell at the kid, I remain calm, but firm and remind them to not talk so much, and to keep reading. It's a challenge but that's where patience comes. Because without patience the program would be a mess. Tutors would get frustrated, causing the kid to get frustrated and not interested to work anymore, and results could be permanent. So I don't let myself get frustrated with the kids that I work with. And that is what I would suggest/advice to others coming in. Because you are going to have those really easy days where everything is a breeze in the session; and then you are going to have those really hard days, where you want to scream, but don't because that only makes it worse.No job is easy, but in the end it is worth it.
There could be many challenges working with children, it all depends if you want and like to work with them. For me one of the challenges is that I get bored easily and that sometimes is difficult for me to play the same thing with the children over and over again. Also I lack of patient sometimes. The good side of me is that I love children and that I remember that I was also a little child so I want to make a difference in the children life. Sometimes when I start to lose my patient I let the team members to handle the situation so that I do not get mad, and don't take it personal. I can't imagine being there for the whole time parents are working, I mean it can get really boring sometimes specially if the children are there everyday. Sometimes I also get tired that the children don't want to follow the rules and I speak Spanish to them and sometimes they will listen and stop misbehaving. Reading all the post helped me to understand that children are children and that we can only be play the role of being the older sister to them. The children know when and how to behave when they want to. There is not magic tool to make them follow the rules but I know that if we only try to understand them and put ourselves in there position, we'll get why they are misbehaving. Sometimes I think that if we only start by being their friends they'll get to know us and will listen to us.
You are definitely on the right track. Reading this tells me how compassionate and open minded you are. Being impatient and being bored, is normal. You care. The fact you can recognize how you feel, and found a healthy way to respond in times of stress for yourself is great. You are awesome!B.L.
The challenges of being an America Reads tutor at the YMCA is the readily-available amount of book resources for the students and the tutors. Yes, there are books the Thayne center provides and the books that have been donated to the YMCA. The challenge for me is to keep things "fresh" within the small selections we have for the reading levels of the students. There is only so many times you can allow a student to read the same 5 books over and over, you know? Haha. I really don't want to do that to myself or them. So what I do about this? I actively find books within the YMCA collection to renew the students interest in reading. So far, it's been great getting to introduce the kids to new material. I also plan on going to SLCC's library in the children section to choose some books I can bring over to the kids. There is a K-6 Reading University list I am using so I know the students are reading the right grade level book. Here is the link for those who might be interested: http://aparu.weebly.com/ru-lists.html B.L.
Oh my goodness I totally agree! There are a couple of books I swear I have heard read like twenty times and it is not the most exciting thing. It's hard to see the kids' progression when they are reading the same books, but there are only so many to go around. Going to the library is actually a really good idea! I might try that. Also, sometimes the kids have books they are reading in class, or ones they checked out from the school library where I tutor; sometimes reading those switches it up a little. Keep up the good work!Rachael Wilkin
One of the biggest challenges for me as an America Reads tutor is the lack of consistency. Consistency is key with children, but it overall it is difficult to maintain. I struggle with keeping my hours consistent, but I know that if I am consistent the children will be more familiar with me and respond better. Another issue of consistency is the rules at the YMCA. In general, guidelines remain the same. However, as someone who is there part-time, every other week I would come in and something would be changed. The time for nap or recess would change. The way children who aren't listening should be handled or the reward system. I understand that a lot of things are trial and error and that different children respond differently. Still, the children know that I am unaware of new rules and just ignore me or they stop taking any of them seriously since they keep changing them. It can be frustrating. I have tried just sticking to the rules that I am certain won't change, like asking for permission to go into another room. I let the workers that are more full-time respond first. Once I observe how they are handling things that day, I respond the same way. I am sure that things are different depending on the time of day you are able to volunteer. I just always try to follow the lead of the workers and never assume I have any idea of what is going on. I try to just engage the children, let them know I remember them and I care about how they are doing.Mel
This is my second semester doing America reads, and there are sill chanllanges. For the ECE program there are about 100 books avaliable to read to the kids. And it's now to the point where you bring out a book and the kids are like not again because they heard it a few times this year. During reading time we have 12 minutes to read books so we usually get through about 2 books. And to keep the, interested I've had to incorporate their every day lives into the story and ask them questions about how they relate to the story of if they have ever done these things and so on. We even had printouts of characters from one of the books and everyone played a role in the story. It would be nice to have more books avaliable to the kids to read and even be able to check them out of the school and take them home to read with family.
What are the challenges to being an America Reads tutor? What are you doing to overcome these challenges? Do you have any advice for others on how to make this easier? Is there anything that others can do to help you? f-h
disregard this one!f-h
The biggest challenge is to know how to handle a child or help them with what their struggles are. My schedule is also a challenge in being able to go to Nibley, which is my preferred choice because I enjoyed working with the children one on one and helped me learn a lot. To deal with these challenges I make it my first priority to ask the teacher and other tutors questions. I make the best of my new schedule and location to be helpful and work with the kids the best I know how. The only advise I would give is to remember it doesn’t hurt to ask because there is always someone with more or different experience and talents then you. I myself would appreciate hearing about or being shown things that other tutors know to make my life easier!f-h
Thanks for sharing! It definitely is a challenge to make everything work out schedule wise. School, homework, family, and tutoring (among other things) it starts to pile up. For me I've found that it helps to try to stay focused while I am tutoring. There are a million other things fighting for my attention, but the kids can tell when I am really focused on helping them. And I agree that it is good to just ask questions when we aren't sure what to do or how to do it. It makes it so much easier in the long run!Rachael Wilkin
I think the biggest challenge with being an America Reads tutor is scheduling everything in. I am taking 17 credit hours, so it can be difficult to work out when I am doing what. Including my classes, tutoring, homework, and other things. This often results in me not being able to tutor as often as I like to. Even though it may be stressful to schedule in tutoring, when I am there helping the children my problems seem to fade away. It is very rewarding to be in the service of others.That being said, there are days that a few kids can be stressful to work with. It can be hard to get them motivated to read if they don't feel like it that day. Also, keeping them on task can be a juggling trick when you have students that like to act out or have a lot of energy. I think just staying patient and taking each day as it comes helps me not be too stressed. My advice for others who may be in the same situation would be to not try to do too much at once. I have found that when I am so stressed out and busy then I tend to perform everything worse. Give yourself sometime to de-stress, and don't wear yourself down. Rikki Wilkin
For me one of the biggest challenges has been to find the balance that works best to help the kids learn. I try really hard to personalize the session to each student to help them the best I can. Sometimes it is hard to know what works best. Also, a lot of the time they have lots of energy, and get super wiggly and bored. So I've found that doing small activities, like using white boards, doing flash cards, drawing pictures, and even taking turns reading helps them to focus more and keeps it fun at the same time. It is not always easy to get them to do it, but when they do it totally pays off! I am seeing lots of progress in the kids I am reading with and that has been so exciting! We definitely make a difference in their lives whether we realize it or not. So keep up the good work everyone!Rachael Wilkin