In April, we launched an exciting new inter-generational program here at the Delridge Community Center RecTech lab. High school seniors signed on to provide on-on-one tutoring for adults over 55 to teach them how to deal with specific areas they need help with when using their computers and the internet. Teens received community service learning hours they needed to complete before graduation, and our senior adults got some great, individualized tutoring. I asked one of our terrific teen tutors, Wes, to write something about his experience for other teens who might consider signing up to be a tutor next fall and this is what he wrote:
“I was apprehensive when I volunteered to tutor seniors at RecTech’s “Teens Tutor Seniors” program, but soon came to realize that it’s an extremely worthwhile experience for both seniors and students alike. Tutoring seemed daunting to me at first, but it turned out to come remarkably naturally and easily. I discovered the thrill of getting a complex point across, and I was forced to rethink some of the basics about the technology that seem like second nature to me.
The seniors are delightful. They are passionate about their tutelage, and they are full of interesting stories to tell. Though most of the time you spend together is spent teaching them the basics of internet tabs, Facebook messages, and folder organization, often conversations grow, and a genuine relationship is created. Depending on the senior, it can be educational (and fun) to practice their abilities in internet navigation by exploring articles or other resources.
My advice to future tutors is to be very patient, and gently remind them whenever they’ve made a mistake. Avoid the urge to take command of the mouse and do the actions for them. You should explain it to them, and then let them find it by themselves. A lot of the trouble that these seniors have comes from people rapidly accomplishing tasks on their own machines that they can’t comprehend, and it’s best to avoid it.” Pictured here is Wes tutoring Marcia.