As soon as I began working with this student, I knew she desperately wanted to succeed. A high school sophomore with aspirations of becoming a nurse, she knew this was a pivotal year and that her grades would be a critical factor for colleges considering student applications. But she was struggling in school, and believed she wasn’t capable of improving her grades to the level necessary to achieve her goals.
Reading comprehension was a major stumbling block. When she was assigned homework that involved reading a particular text and answering questions about it, she would often give up after reading the first few lines. Lengthy written pieces containing multiple paragraphs were especially overwhelming for her, and she was convinced she would answer the follow-up questions incorrectly and fail the assignment.
I knew she needed my help, but was faced with the obstacle of where to begin. I decided to print reading comprehension worksheets, starting at the third grade level and working up to 12th grade worksheets. I taught her how to properly outline a text, to highlight key words during a particular reading assignment in order to make answering questions easier. Suddenly, she was bringing home A's and B's instead of C's and D's. Looking at her face, I could see she was ecstatic.
One day, while studying key terms on index cards, I intentionally chose not to shuffle the 75 or so cards and kept them in the order we had previously gone through. When we reached the third card, she stopped to tell me I’d forgotten to mix them up. Impressed by her memory skills, I created 10 additional key terms and had her study them for several minutes. I then asked her what each word meant, and she was able to tell me the exact definition verbatim. I was amazed!
The experience made me realize that she was extremely intelligent, but she no longer believed in herself. As her tutor, the greatest value I could provide was to help her regain the confidence she had lost along the way. Today she is a straight-A student and has received multiple scholarship offers from top colleges in her area. She has decided to follow her dream and pursue a nursing career, confident that no matter how hard it will be at times, she is going to succeed.
“Understanding that this student was extremely bright but had somehow lost confidence in her abilities was the key to providing the support she needed to unlock her full potential. I hope her story inspires countless students by proving that as long as you are determined and want to excel, anything is possible.” – Anna Farrell, USA