HTM Blog

Connecting learning and community.

The Holyoke Tutor/Mentor program connects volunteers to adult education classes in Holyoke.

New Tutors

New Tutors

Each year, we are fortunate to welcome back some volunteers from the previous year, and to welcome some who are new. This school year, we started with a particularly large and strong cohort of new tutors  (Almost half of our current tutors, as it turns out)


For each new tutor there's an initial flurry of inquiries, emails, questions, then we get down to business: an interview, an online application form, two references. I add them to databases and spreadsheets and email lists. Then we find a placement, do a CORI check, start training.

These new volunteers commit to completing four training sessions, to keeping track of their time, to being part of the program, but mostly they commit to come every week for six months to help. 


It's a serious commitment. And these folks have plenty else to fill their days: there are kids and grandkids, jobs or the consuming work of job hunting, college classes, moves, personal projects and even other volunteer commitments.

So, I always ask 'why?' and 'what are your hopes for tutoring?' Amidst all of the voicemail tag with references and keeping track of application forms, it's my favorite question.

Some answers are clear or pragmatic: exploring careers or practicing a language, for example.

Many are deeper and harder to articulate. I scribble notes during our conversations:

"Curious" or "Always wanted to"

"Give back to others", "get more involved" and "connect more with Holyoke"

"Love of learning" and "loves helping people" and "loves teaching"

"The thing that brings me joy" and "The joy of light bulb moments" (from different people, although I suspect they would like each other)

I love the variety of hopes people bring, and rewards they find.

I welcome them all.

Thoughtful v.1: Listening

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Saturday, 25 June 2022

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