Today, I want to quickly bring your attention to an incredible opportunity for high schoolers to help our community: volunteering as a video tutor for elementary and middle school students.
But wait, Chris, why would I want to be a volunteer tutor?
Great question. Here are four compelling reasons to jump on this opportunity:
1. You’ll improve your academic skills.
When I became a tutor, I didn’t realize how much I would be learning on the job. Sometimes this was learning right alongside the student as they explored a topic I was unfamiliar with. Other times it was deepening my understanding of topics I was teaching, precisely because I was teaching them. As I’ve written about before, teaching is a powerful way to learn. And there’s always value in mastering the fundamentals, so even if you’re helping students many grade levels below you, you’ll be growing academically.
2. You’ll learn valuable non-academic skills.
Tutoring forces you to develop communication skills that are useful far beyond the world of academics. Tutoring requires empathy and patience – the ability to meet someone exactly where they are and help them move forward at their own pace. The ability to teach effectively and with kindness will serve you for the rest of your life. It can make you a better friend, coworker, employer, or parent.
3. You’ll be helping our community in a time of crisis.
It’s a tough time to be a volunteer. In-person work opportunities are limited because of COVID, and any in-person work you could do is risky. And that’s why video tutoring is such a great option. You can stay at home and still have a positive impact. This year has highlighted the deep inequalities in our society. Offering your time to help low-income students is a concrete step you can take to correct this injustice.
4. It’s fun!
Seriously, tutoring is lots of fun. You get to joke around with your students as you help them with homework and studying. And I’m sure you’ll find it very rewarding to watch them grow.
Okay, so how do you become a volunteer tutor?
Easy! There is a really cool, student-created organization, where you can volunteer. It’s called Students Helping Students Seattle. It was started last spring during the COVID-19 lockdown by Logan Spoonemore, a student at The Northwest School.
Here’s how they explain their mission:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented need for tutors.
We are matching elementary and middle school students in need of academic assistance with volunteer high school students.”
“We seek to build a community of students helping students by providing free and accessible assistance to tutors in a variety of subjects.”
And please spread the word about this service, both to other high school students who might be interested and to families who need academic support.
Chris Loper has been an academic coach for Northwest Educational Services since 2014. Along with Greg Smith, Chris is the cocreator of Parenting for Academic Success (and Parental Sanity) – a five-part course offered every summer.
Chris also offers habit coaching, helping busy adults with habit formation and productivity.
In 2021, he published a humorous memoir titled Wood Floats and Other Brilliant Observations, a book that blends crazy stories with practical life lessons, available on Amazon and through most local bookstores.
He lives in Issaquah, WA, where he is the owner of South Cove Tutoring.