#32. Think of something that you are good at and find someone you can tutor or teach—could be art, could be algebra, could be reading, could be basketball, could be …

IDEA #32. Think of something that you are good at and find someone you can tutor or teach—could be art, could be algebra, could be reading, could be basketball, could be …

This activity begins with an act of reflection, a consideration of what the young person might actually be good enough at to teach. This might be more difficult than it seems, if for no other reason that some things at which he or she might be highly skilled are not of interest or use to others—or that the skill is so intuitive that breaking it down to be taught might be overwhelming.

But surely the youngster does possess a useful skill, and so the real problem becomes to find an audience. Perhaps a few flyers could be posted in central places in the community—try the bulletin board at a local supermarket—including a phone number. Perhaps an ambitious wannabe coach could announce a batting or shooting clinic at a such-and-such a time at a public park or court, or a less physical skill could be taught at a “seminar” at a public school or library (having of course obtained permission first).

Before any instruction begins, the young tutor should make an effort to break down the activity into intelligible and therefore teachable components or steps. A good teacher has a lesson plan, and so here a written outline or even a script would be very useful. Think abut what the final goal or outcome would be, and “plan backwards.” Think about ways to make each step interesting or fun; perhaps a game would engage the participant(s) while also making even the “teaching” fun.

For one-on-one instruction, it is important that all aspects of the arrangement—goals, time, expectations, supplies and equipment if needed—be clear to all involved. A safe, appropriate, and supervised place is critical, although this could be a home. It is also important that the young tutor know his or her limits and that he or she be able to stop or end the arrangement if necessary.

The idea here is volunteer service, but the work here could evolve into a small business. While no one expects anyone endlessly to give away expertise, it is important for the parent or guardian to be ready to talk about the nature of service and its place in the life of a young person, especially when it might seem time to put the instruction onto a different sort of footing.

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