Tutoring Program Part 2 – Jack & Ray
by Alexa Chambers,
The Learn United Program offers assistance for students grades 1-12 in all subjects. Tutors with this program bring valuable expertise from their careers and life experience and use it to help their students. One of our tutors, Jack, is a retired engineer. As such, he specializes in tutoring students on STEM-related topics. He got involved with United Way of Greater Nashua about a year ago after retiring. He started out doing volunteer work unrelated to tutoring, but he was always looking to volunteer as a tutor with a focus on older students since he has experience with more complex STEM topics.
Since getting involved with the tutoring program specifically last spring, he’s worked with two different students. One of them was a seventh grader who was struggling with his seventh grade math topics after a year of zoom school. He only worked with this student over the summer, as he just wanted to be able to enter eighth grade confident in topics covered the previous year, and prepared to take on new ones. Jack noticed a great improvement after just a few sessions of working with him.
“Once he was shown how to do it he seemed to be able to retain the information,” he explained.
“He was really enthusiastic about catching up,” he added.
By the end of the summer, Jack’s student was all caught up and ready to take on another year of math.
The other student he’s worked with is a high school senior who needs help passing the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test, NH’s GED equivalent). This young woman struggles immensely with anxiety, and is unable to attend classes in a classroom setting. Attending her tutoring sessions with Jack through the Learn United Program allows her to remain enrolled as a High School student, and stay on course to graduate on time by passing the HiSET by this coming summer. Without Learn United’s free tutoring services, this student would not have been able to afford the private tutoring resources she needs to earn her high school diploma.
Jack helps her prepare for the math and science portions of the HiSET test, which make up two of the five HiSET subjects (reading, writing, social studies, science, and math). Another tutor with the Learn United program offers her assistance in the humanities subjects.
“She’s able to get a lot of help through United Way” he said.
He also explained that this student has so many things going on, and he is grateful this type of program at UWGN exists to help her through this difficult period of her life.
“I definitely see the benefits of the program when I work with her,” he added.
Since starting out with Jack, this student has passed the math pre-test and is on track to complete the math portion of the HiSET in the near future. Their current focus is on preparing for the science section, and she is making great progress.
I also spoke with another tutor, Ray, who got involved with the tutoring program last spring. He’s worked with two students so far, one fourth grader and one seventh grader, also focusing on math and science. He is also a retired engineer who specialized in electrical engineering, giving him a substantial amount of experience in such subjects. There was primarily a lot of math involved in his day to day work, though.
Ray has always been passionate about teaching and mentoring. Throughout his career he did a lot of work helping and overseeing other engineers to teach them different things. He also added how he knew first hand the value of receiving that mentorship, as he had superiors share their expertise with him when he first started out.
“Learning happens through your whole lifetime, so to help someone else [and to] have that attitude is an important thing” he explained.
Currently he is only working with the fourth grader, as the seventh grader has caught up in the areas she needed to. In his time with the fourth grader, he’s been helping her with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
“Many kids didn’t get as much teaching or attention during Covid, so she just fell behind and needed some help to catch up,” he explained.
She’s currently struggling the most with word problems, as she’s made a lot of great progress on the foundational skills they worked on towards the start of their sessions.
“I struggled with [word problems] when I was her age so I can definitely emphasize there. Once you grasp the concepts, the numbers don’t matter as much” he said.
Ray went on to share how much he’s liked working with her, and how the Learn United program been so beneficial to her.
“I enjoy working with her, its just kind of nice to be involved with someone a lot younger who is just getting started in life and has a lot of things to look forward to” he added.
Ray also shared how program has made it possible for this student to be able to overcome challenges she’s encountered in her coursework because she has someone to turn to help her through it in the ways that work best for her.
He also has firsthand experience with the longlasting impact the support of a mentor or tutor can have on a student. When he was still working, he participated in a mentorship program at Nashua High School South. There was a student Ray worked a long time ago that recognized him out in public more recently. His former student shared how he appreciated the support Ray offered him during that period of his life.
“It was really nice to see him, and talk to him” He said.
The Learn United Program seeks to provide a more equitable access to educational resources in the Greater Nashua community. It has made one-on-one assistance easy to access for students who previously would have continued to struggle through their education with the support they needed. It serves as a safety net for all students, but particularly students at a higher risk of dropping out because it provides an free, alternative solution to their learning difficulties. If you’re interested in utilizing the Learn United Program, please visit https://unitedwaynashua.org/home/our-work/community-resources/learn-united/ and complete the referral form. For assistance in doing so, please contact email@example.com. If you’re 15+ years old and interested in volunteering as a tutor, please visit https://www.volunteergreaternashua.org/need/detail/?need_id=540849 for more information, and also contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.