Tutoring With Grace

Sep 18, 2019
Cadence Snyder

When someone thinks “student sponsorship,” they might have images of backpacks, pens and pencils, crayons, and maybe even uniforms in their mind. New Song’s Student Sponsorship Program, Without Limits, does provide those things to our students. However, it goes so much deeper.

Tutoring With Grace

The following quote is from our newest blog about the New Song Tutoring Program: "Sometimes it is more important to sit with a student for an hour talking about their life than it is to finish the homework.” Cadence stated – I am reminded of how so often we ask God for practical things like passing a test or finishing our homework when really what He wants more than anything to seek us out and listen to our hearts. Read the full blog here: http://newsongnica.org/tutoring-with-grace/

Posted by New Song Mission Nicaragua on Wednesday, September 18, 2019

We long for students to understand their potential and chase after their dreams. We want students to fully walk in the love of God with confidence and self-worth. Yes, sponsorship gives school supplies to students every month throughout the school year, but tutoring time is where we see the most growth.

We currently have seven tutors who work 2-4 days a week offering homework help and a listening ear. As a staff, we are focusing this year on bettering our tutoring time to make it more effective. Our tutors are learning the importance of reading books aloud, providing silent reading time, playing multiplication games, and having one-on-one time when a student is struggling. Students in Nicaragua often come with a lot of homework that can feel like there isn’t time to do anything else. This year, we are working to change what we do. Tutors turn in lesson plans with specific time set aside for individualized help in things outside homework. That can include reading, writing, multiplication, long-division, a complicated chemistry topic, or an important conversation about boyfriends or family struggles.

In July, we took a trip together to meet with the staff of another sponsorship and tutoring program. We learned a lot from each other. We are now busting at the seams with new ideas for tutoring. Our two staffs had a time to talk to each other about what works, what doesn’t work, and mutual struggles. As I listened to New Song’s staff talk, I was so proud of how far they have come. I heard comments like, “Sometimes it is more important to sit with a student for an hour talking about their life than it is to finish the homework.” They said, “When a student hasn’t been coming, we go look for them.” I am reminded of how so often we ask God for practical things like passing a test or finishing our homework when really what He wants more than anything to seek us out and listen to our hearts.

This week, I watched four tutors bike out to Santa Matilde in temperatures over 100 degrees. I watched a tutor pull supplies she had handpicked for the student she works with out of her backpack. I watch the student show up as always ready to learn. After he left, his tutor said happily, “He’s improving so much!”

Our tutoring program isn’t perfect. It’s far from perfect. We are learning. We argue and disagree, but our hearts break together for the student who lost her dad, for the students whose parents have no work, for the students without a place to live, for the students whose parents do not care if they succeed or not, and the countless other situations we encounter. Yes, New Song Student Sponsorship provides pens and pencils, but our goal is for students to feel believed in and to know their worth.

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