When I applied for the STEP program, I was just hoping to do well in this new environment of high school students. Because of certain personality traits, I am often encouraged to work with young children alone. I, however, felt I had something to offer adolescent students, but had no idea what that would be. This experience, for me was just about being brave enough to apply, and thankfully I was accepted. After some time I found my strength in mentoring.
There is an advantage to communicating with STEP and AVID students, and it is an experience that would be altered to benefit elementary-aged students. This is an important difference because my life right now is relevant to the students at Albany High, where there are open grounds for honest, realistic conversation from all perspectives. In a group presentation by the staff of AVID program, I had the chance to openly discuss how literature influenced me growing up as a young girl in a low-income community. There was an opportunity to discuss specific stories of growth and maturity that could have a direct impact on how these students view their peers, their parents, and most importantly themselves.
These students have given me confidence in a new-found strength and a new appreciation for difference, a lesson I hope they learned too. In addition, after seeing us SUNY Albany students so motivated to succeed, I hope they are inspired to value their own education even more. I hope to have helped someone find a better writing process or new studying habits to bring up their grades, showing them their strengths and solutions for their weaknesses. It is so nice to be stopped in the hallways and updated with your students' progress in and out of school. I have been stopped in the hallway to hear students got accepted into programs, won competitions, and are even doing well in church.
There is a student that two other tutors and myself assisted with the beginning process of a history research paper. He always updated me, and although he did not do well on his first draft, he would tell me what he had to fix and ended up doing much better on the second draft and was still pointing out what he will improve. These are moments of encouragement for both student and tutor. Overall I want to have helped these students with tasks that are relevant to them as they have helped me find a new strength relevant to me and my journey here at SUNY Albany.
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Various STEP Tutors