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  • Ridge Michiels

Lara is (and continues to be) a tutor

Lara Delacourt, student in literature and linguistics and tutor at the Koninklijk Atheneum in Antwerp

“I wanted to do something that was socially relevant in my off-time. Not just a hobby, I wanted to do something meaningful. People usually share opinions and memes on the Facebook page of the solidarity group of my programme, but one day someone posted a message about Tutoring. I immediately registered!

Tutoring offers support to secondary school pupils who are at risk of dropping out. Our activities are twofold. We provide support for subjects, by giving them additional explanations or exercises. We help the students with everything that they have trouble with. We also get to know them better and try to motivate them. They usually have a good idea of what they want to achieve and are eager to learn. At the same time, they have plenty of questions about how to achieve this. I use my personal experience to explain how university works and try to lead by example. They don’t all come from perfect homes, which is why the tutoring can be a lifeline for them.

I hope to be a teacher myself one day. So this project is definitely interesting for my future. But what I like the most is to see how these young people live their lives, how they experience their environment. They are all really nice and they all appreciate what I do, which is a source of satisfaction!

In the beginning, I usually worked one on one. I would send them a message and they would reply. Now they have started to discuss the study materials among themselves and they are also helping each other. The discussions no longer merely focus on studying or learning how to learn. They also talk about their holidays… So you can see how our relationship has evolved… And although I’ve told them plenty of times to stop calling me Miss, they still do.

When the schools closed, the project also ground to a halt. The pupils that I help have less support to rely on. So this crisis could prove disastrous for them. The Tutoring project asked us whether we wanted to continue the project. Initially my pupils wanted to wait and see what their teachers were going to do and try out some things themselves. But a week later, it became clear that they really needed the project.

The amount of homework and the general chaos is definitely a problem. Pupils are being sent all kinds of assignments by different teachers and they sometimes find it difficult to start on a specific assignment. I discovered that I can use Loom to make a screenshot of my PowerPoint presentation, while I discuss it. They can easily watch this on their smartphone. If they have any questions, they gather them and send them to me. I sometimes also send them personal answers.

I would like to tell my fellow tutors that they need to continue doing what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter what, in which form, and how often. Remember, you are really making a difference!”

Find out more about the Tutoring project in which Lara participates here.

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