Tutoring gig heightens appreciation for teachers

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BY BRADY RHOADES: So I’ve taken up tutoring on the side.

It’s more of a hobby than a gig. Also, I wanted to work with underprivileged children.

It’s been more than 20 years since I worked as the coordinator for the Los Alamitos Youth Center, and I miss the interaction with kids.

My first student attends elementary school in Garden Grove. He’s a polite, sweet 10-year-old boy who loves baseball and soccer. He’s struggling with his reading and writing but he’s smart and willing to work, so we’ll get him on track.

BY BRADY RHOADES: So I’ve taken up tutoring on the side.

It’s more of a hobby than a gig. Also, I wanted to work with underprivileged children.

It’s been more than 20 years since I worked as the coordinator for the Los Alamitos Youth Center, and I miss the interaction with kids.

My first student attends elementary school in Garden Grove. He’s a polite, sweet 10-year-old boy who loves baseball and soccer. He’s struggling with his reading and writing but he’s smart and willing to work, so we’ll get him on track.

I meet with him once a week for two hours, at his kitchen table. His parents are immigrants. Family folk. People of faith. Hard working and just plain decent.

At any rate, it’s a joy, something I look forward to, but I guess what I’m getting at is how the experience has heightened my appreciation for educators.

I’m not a scholar.

I’m not  a dean or principal or teacher.

But I’m getting a faint idea of the challenges those on the front line – teachers and teachers’ assistants – face.

What do you do when your student doesn’t have the proper tools?

Who would have known how much time and thought it takes to create a lesson plan for one student?

How do you muster the patience and persistence it takes when the overactive mind of a child begins to wander?

To emphasize: I’m tutoring one boy for two hours a week.

Teachers deal with 25 to 40 students in a classroom for 40 hours a week.

Then there are meetings.

And lesson plans.

And grading homework and tests.

All for a modest income.

The Garden Grove Unified School District is one of the largest and best in the county. Despite many challenges, it regularly wins awards, sports high graduation rates and prepares a good amount of students for their college lives.

Our schools are our children’s second homes.

So hats off to all you underpaid, underappreciated teachers out there.

Brady Rhoades is the editor. He can be reached at brhoades@localnewspapers.org.