Literacy First tutors take a multitude of paths after their service. Many discover a passion for education and a talent for teaching, like returning tutor Bilyesia. Last year, she told us about her personal journey, and this year she is applying for our Region 13 alternative teaching certification program (and she’s on the cover of our latest Impact Report). Thanks, Bilyesia!
by Bilyesia Cooper, returning 2018-19 Literacy First tutor
For a time in college, I was debating if I did or didn’t want to be a teacher.
I was worried that even after being trained I would be unqualified to teach children…or that I wouldn’t enjoy the profession after a year…or that I would just be “plain bad” at teaching.
Being a Literacy First tutor has shown me that I am capable of being a teacher and that I have a passion for it. My love for the students and teaching grows daily. Tutoring has shown me the beauty in being an educator.
I may not be a teacher yet, but I want to be a part of helping children achieve academic success. I have truly enjoyed watching all the children and seeing my own students improve and learn.
One of the best things I’ve seen is watching my students blossoming and developing into great readers! One of my students whom I did not expect to progress to the next lesson has surprised me – now he’s reading 30-90 words during our sessions together! (Those are correct words per minute that we use to determine how well a student is reading at grade level. This student was barely reading to 10 words when we began!)
It’s also nice to get encouragement and feedback from teachers. One teacher asked about the materials we use and the lessons we follow because she has seen such great improvement in her students that are served by Literacy First. Another teacher told me that she was able to move one of her students up in reading groups in her class because he has improved so much in reading. She felt I greatly contributed to that improvement.
Being a tutor has shown me the beauty of reading and has further prepared me for teaching. Gaining knowledge about early reading skills and being able to see my students build their foundations in reading will better prepare me for my future students. I’ll be able to identify my student’s struggles more quickly and accurately because I have been able to work one-to-one with students in different age ranges and at different reading levels.
Through this experience, I have learned how to be a part of a team. Having the support of our supervisors and working with the other tutors has shown me that a team is necessary in the field of education. At our campus, we all bounce ideas off of each other about what to do with our children who are struggling with reading or behavior. We are able to vent to one another and encourage each other. I have built great relationships through Literacy First.
Working with Literacy First has shown me that I do want to be a teacher. I care about the well-being and development of children. I love watching them learn and seeing their personalities grow and blossom. I love being around other educators who are dedicated to their students and who are just “plain good” at what they do. It has been fun and eye-opening for me.