Volunteering their free time is one of the main ways that concerned citizens help make their communities better. Finding the right opportunity for your specific skill set can be a challenge. Fortunately, it is likely that you have a specialized field of knowledge that you can impart to young minds, and this expertise makes you a valuable asset as a tutor. Here are four benefits of volunteering in this capacity.
1. Fill in the Gaps of the Educational System
Teaching is one of the most underappreciated professions. No matter how talented or knowledgeable teachers are, however, there's a limit to what they can accomplish in classrooms full of students with a variety of learning styles. Almost every student can benefit from supplemental individual or small-group instruction where he or she is free to ask questions and get the specific clarifications needed to understand the material. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough hours in the week for an individual teacher to provide this level of attention to every single student, nor do most school districts have the funding to provide additional instructors to take on this task. Volunteers with specialized knowledge can provide this much-needed service to boost learning at every level.
2. Enjoy a Flexible Volunteer Schedule
Many nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers during the typical workday. They need the most help during the hours that they are open. This inevitably makes a consistent time commitment next to impossible for those with traditional jobs. By contrast, most tutoring for grade school, junior high and high school students takes place during evenings and on weekends. While you will likely be asked to commit to a certain number of hours a week, there is usually quite a bit of flexibility with the hours that you choose. The schedule just has to work for you and the students you assist.
3. Inspire Excitement About Your Favorite Subject
Almost everyone has a subject of conversation that, once they get started, they can't seem to stop talking about. If you loved a particular class or topic when you were in school or if you have a degree in a particular field, you can pass on your enthusiasm to students through tutoring. Many people avoid volunteering as tutors because they think that they are limited to basics such as math or reading. While many students do need help with those subjects, others can also benefit from extra instruction in other areas:
- Public speaking
Your excitement about your favorite subject in school can be contagious. Pass on your love of learning by tutoring students who are struggling to keep up.
4. Build Supportive Relationships
When you commit to tutoring a student, you have more to offer each other than the satisfaction of learning something new or passing on your passion for the topic at hand. The students with whom you work learn that there is another adult who cares about them and their success. While most of your conversations may revolve around doing well on the next geometry test, you may also become a trusted sounding board for other worries they have. Just like any friendship, the relationship between tutor and student can provide opportunities for additional support and be rewarding, fun and beneficial for both of you.
No matter what subject you studied in college or loved best in school, there is probably a volunteer tutoring position where you can use your knowledge. You aren't limited to just solving equations or editing term papers. Contact your local school district or public library to see what kind of tutoring programs they offer. Chances are good that they will be delighted to accept your help.