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"My students went from zero to hero"

I recently met with Abigail, 21, and Faustina, 17, to discuss their first term as tutors for Exponential Education, how to motivate students and their dreams for the future.

How did you hear about the Exponential Education program?

Abigail: The Exponential Education program came to our school to do an exam and after that they selected five tutors so that we can help the JHS students with their academic performance and the subjects of English and Math. So we joined last term and we have been making a whole lot of efforts so that we can help the students so that they can do very good in math and English. So the end of last term, they had their exams and we saw the results and how they preformed was very good. So we will make sure to continue the same thing this term too and give them the required skills so that they can become very good in school.

Can you tell me what motivated you to become involved with Expo?

Faustina: When I was asked if I wanted to become a tutor, I was very proud because I felt like that would make me help my junior brothers and sisters in need in math and English. I was in their shoes before and someone helped me, so when the opportunity came, I just grabbed it because I was very glad to help my junior brothers and sisters to improve in the same way that I could. That is why I joined, I felt like I could make a change.

Abigail: I just want to help the students to become better academically and so they won’t depend on anybody in the near by future, but instead depend on themselves, so they can get a good job. Because if you are not well educated then it will be very difficult to get a job in Ghana. So if you become well educated, then you will be able to get a job and just depend on your own. So that’s why I came in here to help my fellow students.

What is the best thing about being a tutor?

Faustina: The best thing about being a tutor is to see someone improve because of me. That it is possible to see that I have made a change. To lift someone from zero to a hero. And this time when the results came, I was very proud because I was the one, who taught them to become who they are right now.

Abigail: The reason why I became a tutor is so that I can help the students and when the results came I could tell that the students have improved a lot. At first they weren’t good at math or English, but now they are making improvements. They are really doing well.

So you can see that there has been a change with the students?

Faustina: Yes, there has really been a change. They really started from scratch, but as time went on they slowly started to improve. And we did our best to teach them, and slowly they have been making a change. I think with the teachers, they see them as grownups, so we have a whole different kind of relationship with them. It feels like we are their elders sisters, because sometimes they will come with problems that they can’t talk to their teachers about, but then they talk to us, and we will try and help them.

Do you think the students respect you more since you are their peers?

Abigail: Well, you see, the respect is mutual. Because we respect them, they respect us. They give us the maximum attention in class, which they might not do with their teachers, so they do really respect us.

Faustina: Some of them might be a little bit disobedient, but you have to tolerate it, because you want to help them. So sometimes we will have to tolerate some people’s behavior and then maybe we advice them, so they won’t repeat that behavior the next time. And with their behavior too. It has really improved a lot. They now respect us they way we deserve to be respected.

This will be your second time as a tutor. What do you think you will do differently this term?

Abigail: Last term we did our best, and this term, we will do our best again so we make sure that the students improve in the same manner as they did last term.

Faustina: With the examination that they did last term, I really saw the potential in my students. And I have learned that they learn differently. Some are fast learners, while others are slow. So now I know who needs a little more attention and those who will grasp it quickly. And the ones that grasp it quickly, might need more assignments, so I will give that to them. So now I really know the potential of my students.

Last question. I am curious to know what you two dream of for the future?

Abigail: Being in this program has helped me a lot. It has affected me a lot. Previously I would feel shy when speaking in front of people, but I don’t feel like that anymore. So in my future, I think that I would like to do the same thing. When I graduate I would like to be a nurse. But being a nurse is the same thing as being a tutor, because I will have to speak to patients and explain them about the drugs and so on. So being a part of this program has simply encourage me to follow my dream.

Faustina: Being in this program has been a dream come true. As for me, I would like to become a journalist. And right now I have just been interviewed by you, and even from that I am learning something. And one day, I will also be interviewing someone and I will know what to do and say.

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