Making a difference in the younger generation

Making a difference in the younger generationThe cool prickle of air conditioning raises goose bumps on her skin. Her nerves are on edge and her muscles tighten with every passing moment. She stands in the center of the room, staring blankly at small faces that stare back. She has no idea what to expect in her new position as a tutor.

“I didn’t know what to do, I just stood there,” senior Ziya Chen said. “[In] the end, someone came to help and she told me to walk around in the classroom.”

Several students have found work tutoring at home, church, and other organizations to earn some extra cash; many have never worked before. The majority of these locations request educational background information in order to be evaluated before being hired.

“I gave them my SAT scores, my resume, my GPA, my class schedule,” senior Beverley Umeh, a new employee at Duc Dinh, said. “They decided if I was good enough for them.”

Regardless of where they teach, new tutors struggle through the first few days of their new position.

“It was pretty interesting…meeting a kid for the first time,” senior Ashti Zaidi said. Zaidi tutors at home. “They were awkward about it and I had to figure out what they were weak at; it took some getting used to.”

For some tutors, like Chen, disciplining students is the source of their stress. Eventually though, they began to realize their students are not as bad as they originally believed.

“Sometimes they’re just really annoying and some give attitudes,” Chen said. “[But] they can be nice sometimes.”

For senior Victor Yeung, a former tutor at Duc Dinh, it was extremely difficult to keep his students in check.

“[I had] a very hard time because [I] didn’t know how to make them to be quiet,” Yeung said. “You look angry. Make them do more work and make [them] write ‘I will not talk’ many times.”

Despite the frustration, tutors are content in the knowledge that their effort and patience is not in vain. Junior Annette Phan feels this way.

“By the end of the year you can tell how much they’ve changed,” Phan said. “The fact that you’ve made such a difference in somebody’s life is nice to know.

For Phan, teaching her own students has given her a new perspective on teachers’ jobs.

“It has given me an appreciation for teachers that I didn’t have before,” Phan said. “As a student I would always think teachers just graded work but actually you get to know how much time they spend planning the activities, you get to know how much time they spend grading everything, you get to know how much time they actually put into being your teacher.”