Even if you don’t love academics, most people can remember a teacher that had a significant impact on their lives.
Maybe your first grade teacher gave you a love for reading. Maybe your physics teacher helped encourage you when life got overwhelming. Maybe one of your teachers noticed that something wasn’t quite right and listened as you shared a piece of your life.
Teachers share their love for students and their profession in all the small ways they invest in their lives. Teachers learn their students strengths and areas of need. They are a consistent presence in their lives, sometimes even showing up at t-ball games on the weekend. Teachers are valuable beyond the knowledge they impart. The same could be said of a good tutor.
The South Carolina Teaching Fellows program has partnered with Fostering Great Ideas to provide tutoring partnerships with children and youth experiencing foster care.
This partnership is mutually beneficial as future teachers gain experience and tools for working with students from diverse backgrounds and the students in Tutor Match receive individualized tutoring instruction from someone who cares.
Cidney Barnett is one of those tutors from Clemson’s Teaching Fellows program. As she prepares to go into the classroom as a certified teacher, Cidney is intentional about choosing a volunteer role that will grow her understanding of foster care. She knows that as a teacher she will have students in her class who are in foster care. It is important to her to know how to navigate working with all children. She also wants to give back to those who need the most help.
Cidney began tutoring with Fostering Great Ideas in the winter, and she will tell you that her experience tutoring has already had a lasting positive impact.
Cidney has seen this in her life and relationship with student Ashleigh. As a high school student needing extra help in math, Ashleigh works with Cidney on learning algebra and fundamental math concepts. Over the past few months, Ashleigh has improved in math, but Cidney has also seen Ashleigh’s confidence grow. Now, Ashleigh lights up when she gets an answer right. Ashleigh sees that she can do things that look hard.
Cidney has also experienced a positive impact herself through the tutor experience. “It has made me a more well rounded teacher but also a well rounded person. My toolbox for teaching and for life has doubled in size.” Cidney has learned how to navigate the individual needs of the students she is tutoring. In addition to teaching skills, she has grown in patience, empathy, and understanding.
Cidney is not waiting for her certification as a teacher to make a difference in the lives of students. Her relationship with Ashleigh is proof that tutors join the likes of educators in making a positive impact.