What Tutoring Gave Me As A Teenager

In JR High and High School I had a tutor. I never felt like I didn’t understand what I was learning in school, I just didn’t apply myself like I should which sometimes resulted in lower grades. As it turns out, my tutors where a pivotal influence in my life.

Here’s why.

In JR High I went to the Sylvan Learning Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas, which is still going strong today. My main tutor there was a man named Robert Lowrey. We called him Bob. He was an excellent tutor. He was able to break things down for me in a way I could understand them better.

But do you know what I remember most about Bob?

The time he spent asking me about my life. What I was interested in and what was going on at school. If he sensed I was frustrated, he would figure out why and talk it through with me. Over time I trusted Bob, so if I walked in and need to talk to someone, I could talk to Bob.

Bob helped me gain confidence. He helped me in school, but I walked out of each session knowing I had a friend who listened and gave me advice. He was someone who cared and someone who was willing to push me in a way that made sense to my teenage mind.

Looking back… I know he was mentoring me and giving me little pieces of life I needed in order to go the next step into my teenage years.

In high school, I had another tutor. Her name was Ms. McCray. She was the bomb as well. I learned what I needed to learn and I did better in school. But can you guess what I remember most about her?

All the time she spent getting to know me and asking me questions about my life as a teen. What I was into and how I felt about things going on around me. She dug into my life.

When I went on to being a freshmen in college, she called me and asked if I would help her. She was directing the high school play and needed a band leader. I said yes I will do anything you need me to do. The play was Fame and it was a blast playing live in a setting like that. One of the dancers in the play went on to dance for Janet Jackson and was the red Power Ranger in the movie and TV series. Cool huh? She had amazing influence in our Fort Smith, Arkansas lives.

So what did I gain from her? More confidence. I felt validated. I felt like I could do more, go a little further in and go after my dreams.

So… Thanks mom and dad for making sure I had people in my life that would give me a little better teaching and a whole lot of mentoring. I know you were just trying to keep my grades up, but I guess you never counted on the end results that were more valuable than the grades. It’s probably one of the many great gifts you have ever given me. Confidence… Understanding… and the ability to dream.

How about you? Any pivotal moments in your life growing up? Was there anyone who played a role like that? A teacher? A coach? A tutor?

**Side Note.. What I experienced as a kid with tutors is the main reason I love how Compassion International works with kids. The tutors become these life changing mentors. I see it every time I visit them… and every time I think about Bob and Ms. McCray – Every time for the past 10 years of taking trips overseas.

You never know the impact you are going to have on a kid’s life.

Don’t forget it.


The views expressed here are those of a personal nature and do not reflect the corporate view of my employer or anyone else who employee my services.
  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    Not to get negative here, but for me it was the bad coaches I had. I played a lot of baseball growing up and it seemed that I always found the bad coaches. Different things happened that were just not right in coaching and leadership. It was tough but it also taught me about life and leadership even at a very young age.

    But there were a couple of key individuals in my life. My Dad played a huge role in my life of shaping me and guiding me along.
    I had a couple of mentors in high school that would just simply listen and dialogue. That meant a lot to me as well.

    And then there were leaders from afar that would write books, deliver talks, and write articles online. Those all stick out to me as very influential as well.

    • http://www.spencesmith.com Spence Smith

      I get that. Sometimes coaches can get it in the way. they think being tough gets it done but if there’s not an effort on caring then it can be a real waste of time on a kid and leave a lasting impression for sure.

      That’s cool you had others in your life that where able to mentor you. Especially your dad. My dad played a huge role in my life as well.. still does. I love him for it.