As a tutor and educator of sorts, I get to see what kind of legacy I would leave if I was in the classroom. Right now, I do a lot of work with kids who come into high school with little or no foundational knowledge. Many of them have been taught that the only paths to knowledge are guarded by teachers, and are otherwise inaccessible. Yeats put best when he said “Education is not the filling of pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
Because I’m not a teacher, my legacy will not be defined by the number of kids who start loving a subject after my class. Instead, I hope to be remembered as having provided a safe place for my kids to learn how to study through their own trial and error. Though it may be bad for business, my ultimate goal is for my kids to learn to study without needing my help.
When I was in high school, several of my teachers’ classrooms were safe havens. I was more shy then, and their care and compassion shaped my idea of what education should be. I have had more than a few sessions of tutoring that were as much a conversations about life as they were educational. If I had had someone five to 10 years older as a confidant at that age, I might have behaved differently.
Over the next few years, I hope to be in a classroom as a teacher. I hope to pass along the love of learning that was taught to me. I hope to see them grow and learn and I hope for them to come back and visit.
My tutoring kids and their families have taught me a lot about kindness and welcoming in strangers so for now, I’ll continue to focus on leaving my mark on the kids I work with.