Tutors Sharifa, Felicia, and Emmanuel with Program Associate Julie and Intern Emmanuel.
They are funny and sassy, sometimes confident, sometimes shy. The group of tutors I know best is from Antoa SHS. Two days a week they teach Maths and English lessons at the local JHS, in partnership with their Program Associate who organizes and facilitates each tutoring session. On Wednesdays and Thursdays after their school day is over, the tutors walk the kilometer or two from the SHS to the JHS. They often stop in at the Post Office to see if Julie (their Program Associate) or I want to walk with them. Often I would go along to see programs in action, take pictures and video for my role as Communications Manager, and act as backup support when needed.
I jump from classroom to classroom, and notice that Felicia uses her strong attitude and sense of humor to keep her high-energy students in line, and her creativity to channel that energy into constructive learning. I notice that Scott used his quiet patience to explain and re-explain difficult concepts. Abdul and his students are always laughing, even when correcting a mistake on the board. Each tutor brings their own personality and pizazz to the classroom, and their students respond to it by participating and eventually scoring higher marks on exams.
Tutor Scott leads his students in a game.
As the year goes by, the group of tutors gets closer. They review the curriculum together before teaching, sitting on tree roots in the shade just in front of the JHS. They share tips on how to lead new games during tutoring sessions. When one of them has a challenging day teaching, the others understand completely and are sympathetic and supportive. When at the end of term they read the critiques their students made, the tutors were beaming at the compliments and affirmation of their good work. This carries over to the next term, and they are filled with confidence to begin tutoring again.
And finally, they decide to cook dinner for us. The menu is homemade banku and vegetable stew. The tutors wrote a shopping list and everyone pitched in. Emmanuel was stirring the banku and Sharifa was in charge of the stew. Dinner was a huge success, all thanks to the tutors.
In the course of a term, I saw them grow as young professionals. They smile, laugh, and challenge themselves to be better and better tutors. I can’t wait to see what they are capable of this term.