Teachers recognize early in their careers that the best learning happens when they help students one-on-one. An efficiency of scale puts them in front of classrooms full of students, grounded more in economics than pedagogy. Still, they find ways to adapt. They use techniques from one-to-one teaching by using small groups, peer tutoring, written feedback on papers, projects, homework, assessments, etc., and tutoring students outside of class.
Recently, The Welsh Academy Principal, Mary Ann Vogel and Fr. Guiao, S.J. '82 shared a reflection written by junior, Evan DeFloor after he had finished tutoring two Welsh Academy students. Evan wonderfully captures the joy of learning and teaching and speaks to the power of one-to-one instruction:
“I was at a table with Adrian and Adan, and we were working on some percentage problems in math. I had guided them through a few problems, working them up to confidence. Finally, on the last problem (they were happy to get to the end of it!), I had Adrian guide me through it. He finished the problem with flying colors, and, once finished, a single word left his mouth: ‘wow.’
No words can describe exactly what I felt after he said that. Maybe it was just me (my developing sixth sense: close reading!) making a mountain out of a mole hill, but that ‘wow’ was worth a thousand words. To me, it really showed his growth in such a short time from having trouble on his math homework to strengthening his skills, using his mind to succeed all by himself, and enjoying the experience of learning and problem-solving.
That one “wow’ truly made my week. Seeing him succeed like that shows me the incredible worth in my small job as a peer tutor for our boys.
Thanks so much for this opportunity — I love working with them and I can’t wait to continue for the rest of this year and my senior year!”
Evan’s experience captures a joy and a triumph that exists for many of our teachers and its the reason they got into the education business. How wonderful to see learning come alive for Evan and for Adrian and Adan of our Welsh Academy.