In the spring of 2006, I had spoken with a neighbor who told me her son was having difficulty with math. She felt she was unable to help him with his high school geometry and there were no other family members living nearby. I offered to help, free of charge, and she offered to babysit my children in exchange so that my wife and I could enjoy a night out. A few days later, her son knocked on my door. He seemed a little embarrassed, so I told him how my father would tutor me to help keep my A grades in math and that enabled me to score high enough on my college entry exams to get scholarships.
He soon became comfortable and told me had had fallen far behind and wasn't understanding what was being discussed in class anymore. He said he was embarrassed to talk to his teacher or let his classmates know of his difficulties. He became my first student aside from my own children. We had several positive and productive tutoring sessions. He told me later that he could now understand what his math teacher was talking about in class those days and did not fear going to class. His mother thanked me and I was soon tutoring his little sister. Within a month, I was tutoring another neighbor's child and I was being called "The Math Professor" on my street.
My first student moved away that summer. His mother told me he had graduated high school and moved away to stay with his father. Two years later, he returned to stay with his mother. He came to visit me and told me he had been working but had decided to enroll in college and pursue a degree. With a sincere expression he told me he never forgot how I helped him recapture his belief in his ability to learn and overcome his fear of failure and embarrassment. He told me that I had believed in him and that helped him believe in himself. I cannot express in words how I felt at that moment, but it was priceless.
The opportunity to help a person overcome difficulties they're facing, to give them the tools to succeed and the chance to regain confidence, are not usually common and they are so important to a great number of children, adolescents and adults. The appreciation and gratitude a tutor receives from their students is tremendous and greatly outweighs the tutor's efforts. It becomes a mutually beneficial relationship, and for that reason, I continue tutoring and would recommend the profession to any family member or friend.