First Day Jitters

As I walked into the cafeteria of Weil Elementary School, a sense of nostalgia hit me. Post-class conversations and laughter filled the room; inspirational posters decorated the walls. Nervousness soon replaced nostalgia. It felt like the first day of school all over again.

Growing up, my excitement for new beginnings eventually replaced any first day jitters. My first day as a tutor for ACH Clear Pathways proved no different. I have to be honest, though. I didn’t quite expect my exploration of professional opportunities to begin in an elementary school cafeteria. With the variety of career choices for English students, I often find it difficult to imagine myself in any profession. Should I shadow an English teacher? Explore the world of professional writing? It’s safe to say that the options can be overwhelming. But after I finished my first tutoring session with a student, I felt grateful to start with ACH Clear Pathways.

It began with a science worksheet. A student and I turned through his brightly illustrated textbook, pointing to passages about environmental changes and pollution. Occasionally, he would stop to write down an answer or ask about the spelling of a word. He responded well to my suggestions and corrections. “Here,” I said, pointing to one of his answers, “it needs to be ‘their’ instead of ‘there.’” Before I could explain, he replied, “Right! ‘Cause it’s a possessive.” I nodded and thought about the confidence in his answer.

As my writing, interpretation, and research skills grow, I think it is important to remember and appreciate the foundations of my English education. The student’s answer reminded me of the excitement we can find even in grammar mechanics. Although the English aspect of this tutoring session was light, it made me look forward to the forthcoming sessions. I can’t wait to apply my English foundations and new skills to help ACH Clear Pathways with their needs.

-Maggie Retton

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