By Kate Newman
When my alarm goes off at 8:00 A.M. every Tuesday and Thursday morning, my immediate desire is to groggily grab my phone and press SNOOZE for at least another five minutes of much-needed sleep. However, knowing that this battle with technology would continue for at least another hour, I don’t try. More importantly, knowing that some very special second-graders are waiting for me at Houston Elementary School, I actually get out of bed.
It doesn’t matter how tired I am as I walk down to the McDonough parking lot, or if my eyelids start drooping in the van ride from Georgetown to Houston. Once I sit down with Da’Mion or William, I somehow find a sudden burst of energy. They make me want to wake up in the morning and be there for them.
Although I’ve been tutoring with DC Reads since my first semester at Georgetown, this is my first semester as a morning tutor—and I have to admit that I’ve never left in the morning feeling frustrated or unaccomplished, as I have in the afternoons. I’m sure this is partly due to the fact that students are more concentrated during in-school time than during after-school care. However, I believe the main reason is that I’m more concentrated.
As a morning tutor, I start my day with D.C. Reads. I don’t let myself dwell on the events of yesterday, or the things I have to do once we get back to the Hilltop—I allow myself to fully embrace the new day as a fresh start. I wake up with a purpose concerning something bigger than myself. When our van arrives back on campus, I already feel as though I’ve done something with my day. I’ve accomplished something for my tutees, and learned something in return—whether it’s the fact that I apparently look like a “very, very small 20-year-old,” or that a second-grader can come across the word “compassion” and relate it to the earthquake in Japan all on his own.
My experience as a morning tutor has revealed the benefits of fully immersing myself in the time I spend with my tutee. It has also taught me how to be a more engaged and more effective afternoon tutor. Most importantly, it has shown me how essential it is to start every day with a larger purpose. My suggestion to anyone who has an open schedule in the morning: skip the sleep and sign up for morning tutoring—you won’t regret it. Dealing with the alarm is worth it for the students of DCPS.