News & Blog: Tutors


March 2018 Phil WIttry pic copy

Guest blogger: Phil Wittry
Phil is a Senior I.T. Manager and has been a tutor with the Adult Tutoring Program since April of 2017. 


I came to the Literacy Center of West Michigan in 2017 after serving as a literacy and GED tutor in Cincinnati. I had grown to love the 1-1 connection in helping students, especially adults, make the leaps to achieve goals for themselves and their families. When I moved to West Michigan, I wanted to do similar volunteering with the Literacy Center.

I've been tutoring with Addison for about ten months. Addison grew up in Grand Rapids and dropped out of high school after a couple of years. He never went back for formal education. As an electrician and tradesman, Addison raised a family with seven children that have varying degrees of education from high school and beyond. Nearing the age of 60 with his youngest about to graduate from high school, Addison decided that he wanted to improve his reading. His goals were to develop his reading comprehension and understanding of The Bible and possibly pursuing his GED.

Since beginning tutoring, Addison’s reading and comprehension have progressed dramatically. But the most significant change, in my opinion, has been the increase in his confidence. As he advances in his level of reading, his overall confidence continues to increase. It is a wondrous, virtuous cycle – motivation to learn and to apply the time and effort to do the work, which leads to greater capability and confidence, which leads to even more increased motivation.

As we approach the one year mark and the opportunity for Addison to sit for his second round of testing, I am excited for him to “graduate” with a test score that will put him on a path to studying for the GED or some other electrical certifications that he is considering. What a satisfying and growth-filled experience for me. As so often is the case when tutoring, the teacher gets as much, if not more, out of the experience as does the learner.

For anyone considering becoming a literacy tutor, I encourage you to leap. The Literacy Center and its staff are there for you every step of the way with training, coaching, and materials to help you and your learner.

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