Meet Robert Mitropoulos, a dedicated volunteer at the Graham & Parks (G&P) School for the past two years. Robert attends Lesley University where he is junior, concentrating in Special Education with a minor in Psychology. He currently holds the position of President of the Undergraduate Student Government.
Robert tutored 3rd and 4th grade students at the after-school G&P Learning Center three days a week, for two hours each day he was there. Learning Centers give students a quiet environment in which to do homework and get academic support from volunteer mentors. Over a two-year period, Robert estimates that he helped about 30 students with homework, other assignments and more.
Robert describes his experience this year as challenging on some days, but always satisfying to work with students who truly valued his help and the precious time they’d spend together. His approach to tutoring aligned well with the Universal Design skills he had been learning in the classrooms at Lesley. He saw first-hand how different students needed different strategies to help them learn. “Students are not cookie cutter cut-outs; they are more like snowflakes, always different”, says Robert, noting how he would look for and apply different approaches to his tutoring.
During his two years as a CSV volunteer, Robert focused mostly on reading and math with his students, one of whom had only recently arrived from Ethiopia. As a tutor, he was able to watch the student grow both academically as well as socially, becoming a more confident individual. Robert truly felt the positive impact that he had as a male college student on the young English language learner.
According to Robert, keeping a smile on your face with one’s student is a key to making the tutoring work best. “Learning should always be fun”, he adds. Students struggle with many things – not just the academics, but self-confidence; they do not need our “constant eyes on their work to make sure they do not mess up.”
Robert has truly valued the teachers at the G&P who have made his tutoring experience so enjoyable and exciting. “Their passion for teaching and for those around them shows constantly… they are some of the best educators I have been able to meet and see in action,” he notes. CSV would like to thank Robert, too, for providing such strong and steady help to the students at the Graham & Parks and hopes he will return in the fall!