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What I Learned As A RWC Tutor

The Story So Far

During my second semester attending Reedley College, I found myself wanting to work and having difficulty finding the right fit. I was constantly dealing with stress trying to find a decent job that worked with my school schedule when I came across a bulletin board outside the library. The flyer indicated the tutorial center was hiring tutors. I was intrigued and surprisingly interested in it. Despite never being in a position where I interacted with the general public, I applied. I met with the necessary people and found myself not only working in the tutorial center but in a magical place known as The Reading and Writing Center, the RWC.

I remember meeting Deb Borofka and instantly feeling at ease and knowing I was in the right place. She invited me to a get-together with the current tutors and a few other new ones alongside me. This is where I met the Hannahs, Hannah K and Hannah L. They were both unique in their personalities and I had no idea that meeting them would really make an impact on my life.

During my first semester of tutoring, the pandemic happened. Working from home made me realize working in the RWC and the Tutorial Center wasn’t working for me, so I made the choice to focus all my work in the RWC. The following semester on, I worked in the RWC only. Things changed for me. I opened up more, albeit over email but it was a big step for someone with an anxiety disorder. I started to experience a small increase in my self-confidence. I smiled more. I enjoyed my work. Then, my life changed even more. I learned I was going to be a dad.

Just after the pandemic began, I was shopping in Walmart and my ex-girlfriend contacted me to let me know she was pregnant. I was in shock but excited to be a dad. Coming from a broken home, with my dad being an alcoholic and my mom being a narcissist, I wanted to do better for my unborn baby. I suggested we try to make things work for the sake of the baby, but it was not meant to be. However, I knew we could do things that would be beneficial for the welfare of the child. One day, while hanging out at her house, we started to discuss names. I remembered that first meeting when I started to tutor and immediately knew I wanted to name the baby Hannah if it was a girl. My ex listened as I told her about the Hannahs and she agreed.

After learning we were having a girl, I started to collect books, clothes, and a baby rocker. Then, after some back and forth about how to raise our baby, my ex did something that destroyed me and broke my heart. She blocked me from all avenues of being involved. After countless attempts to contact her, I filed a case with the local courthouse. During the stress of this time, I found the communal feeling of working in the RWC something I missed, and working from home made it difficult, ultimately resulting in me taking a break from work for a semester.

Something interesting about working for Dr. B is that she is incredibly supportive and understanding. She was incredibly helpful in navigating the stress that I was going through. While it was extremely difficult not seeing my daughter for the first two years of her life, when things finally worked out between my ex and I regarding parenting, Dr. B was just as excited and thrilled as a parent would be, which is why I’ve always thought of her as a friend and quite honestly a mother figure.

As of now, I have been in the RWC for some time and I would like to say I will be here for much longer, but that is not the case. All things must come to an end and this is, in fact, my final time here.

What I Learned

There are quite a few things one can learn as an RWC tutor. One major thing is that you don’t have to be perfect. Having all the answers is not part of the job requirements. Sometimes you will run into a situation where you may not necessarily know how to handle it and that’s okay. The RWC is run like a family and if you need clarification or some extra help, it’s perfectly normal to go to another tutor or even Dr. B and ask for it.

Another great lesson I learned was that everyone has self-doubt. When I first started to tutor, I found myself experiencing the phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome. This is where a person, usually a student or working professional, will feel like they know nothing and do not belong in school or work and will eventually be discovered by others as an “imposter”. I learned that this was a normal thing to feel and self-doubt is actually pretty common among all walks of life. The community in the RWC is really good about building you up and making sure you feel safe and welcome as a tutor.

Coming into the world of tutoring, I was surprised to learn I wasn’t the only “older” tutor there. While not a lesson, it is something to remember. Tutors come from all walks of life. While many tutors are still in their early twenties, there are still those few that bring a level of life experience to the job that make the difference in helping out the various types of students that walk through those doors.

If you are on the fence about becoming a tutor, maybe consider stopping by to see what it’s like in the RWC. It is a warm and welcoming space, with lots of attention to detail in how it is setup. Maybe all you need is to step through those doors to understand the great work that is done here. Or maybe all you need to do is take a leap of faith, just as I did.

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