Community Diary: What I’ve Learned as a Tutor

This is my second year as an Experience Corps volunteer at the Marshall Elementary School in the Mission. Last year, I worked with a fourth-grader named Amy, first one-on-one and then in a small group.  She had been going to school in Mexico for the previous two years so was very behind in English language skills. 

Experience Corps gave me the training and guidance I needed to help Amy catch up with her class. In the beginning I worked with her two days a week for two hours each day, using supplemental books that were at a lower reading level than the standard text.  Because I became committed to helping Amy, I came back to the school for the after school program one day a week to I help her with her homework and her English skills.

She was a very eager learner and taught me some Spanish along the way.  We often would look up English words in an English/Spanish dictionary and I loved that “ah-ha” moment when she understood what the English word meant.

As the year progressed, Amy reached the point where she was ready for the standard fourth grade text and she and I worked together with three other children from the class.

While I was only one part of Amy’s overall experience in the fourth grade, I felt that I made a significant contribution to her education and personal growth during that year. And that’s why I’m planning on a third year as an Experience Corps tutor.

Experience Corp is now recruiting volunteers and will train them this summer.

To learn how to become a tutor with Experience Corps, including volunteer opportunities, stipends and training, please contact Star Bressler,, 415.759.3690 ext. 7315 or visit

Filed under: Education

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