youth development & education

Teenagers Need Attention — from You, Even

My sixth-grade students need more attention. And I don’t just mean they need a better attention span or that they need to pay more attention in general, which are both true. I mean that my students need more adults in their lives who can listen to them, help them, and relate to them.

Here’s the good news: you can help. You can be one of those adults. I’m looking for volunteers to tutor my students for maybe just one hour per week. Mostly they need help in English, but also in math. I started looking for volunteer tutors because their homework and classwork are really hard for them and many of my students might not pass without extra help. However, I believe that tutoring also holds value beyond the academic.

When we get a chance to sit down with teenagers and pre-teens one-on- one, we get to teach them valuable skills about building relationships. A simple conversation about how their day went or how they’re feeling about class allows them to practice expressing themselves. By sharing examples of our own highs and lows, we can model tenacity and healthy coping.

I have seen my students work with tutors a couple times before, and it really makes their day. They’re proud of their accomplishments, they’re a little more calm and a little more comfortable in their own skin. And they’re even more ready to get to work and persevere on their own.

Try it! And spread the word if you know others who might be interested in volunteering. E-mail me at Mimi (dot) Arbeit (at) Gmail (dot) com for more information.

Published by Mimi Arbeit

applied developmental scientist, antifascist community organizer, sexuality educator