Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough. Ain’t no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you…go the lyrics of a popular song.
These also hold true for Insular Life (InLife) employees or InLifers, who were part of the Insular Foundation Inc’s (IFI) Tutor Kita Program, a four-month pilot project on once-a-week online volunteering tutorial sessions.
Twenty-six employees from InLife’s 12 divisions and/or branches spent four months teaching 24 grade four students, all scholars of IFI’s Adopt-A-Scholar Program studying at its partner school, Bayanan Elementary School (BES) – Main in Muntinlupa City.
At work, they would be crunching numbers, facing customers, dealing with information technology concerns, or reviewing legal matters but at the end of that work day, they would be facing grade school students, albeit online, eager to learn from them.
These tutors were not deterred by physical distance, hectic schedule, poor signal, nor the thought that they lacked the skills to tutor their tutees. With the help of AHA Learning Center, IFI’s program partner, tutors embarked on once-a-week tutorial sessions with their tutees for four months.
“AHA gave us valuable insights and pointers on how to be a good and effective tutor to the children in the context of the public-school setting,” said IFI Executive Director Ana Maria R. Soriano.
Tutor Kita is a program that wishes to address the learning gap in English and Math among the students, something that became more apparent as the pandemic raged on. Soriano said it required as much courage for the tutees as the tutors themselves. “I am very grateful to our 24 students who said yes to the invitation to have additional hours for the tutorial sessions. At a very young age, they already knew how to give utmost value to education and learning, and I hope, through this program, we were able to prepare them and make them more confident and ready for the incoming school year.”
Likewise, Soriano said they hoped tutors had a better understanding of the students’ learning gaps and an appreciation of the work that teachers do for their students.
On June 29, IFI held a virtual moving up ceremony via Zoom, marking the end of a successful pilot run of the Tutor Kita Program. It gathered program facilitators, partners, tutors, tutees, and their families.
BES Main Master Teacher Divine Gagala, in her message, thanked the Program for the help their students received. “Napakalaking tulong po ang ginagawa niyo para sa aming mag-aaral kasi po kung meron mang kakulangan sa daily lessons na itinuturo ng mga guro sa mga bata ay napupunan po ng Tutor Kita Program.”
Responding on behalf of the tutors, Melinda Villapando, district administrative supervisor of Cagayan de Oro said, “It’s a good thing I joined and became part of this unforgettable experience. Personally, this taught me a lot to give back (by sharing my knowledge), and I am sure that all the volunteers felt the same way. I thank the tutees for their cooperation, active listening and participation. I hope they will continue to set aside time for studying and be self-motivated.”
But perhaps, it is in the eyes of these children and their guardians that we see the impact of what the Tutor Kita Program has made. Their messages all tell of their gratitude for what they have learned.
“Thank you po sa pagtyatyaga sa pagtuturo ng pagbabasa at multiplication table. Sana marami pa po kayong matulungan.”
“Maraming salamat po dahil marami po akong natutunan mula sa inyo. Maraming salamat po sa Insular Life sa pagbibigay sa amin ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng mga tutor. God bless po.”
“Thank you po sa pag tutor sa aking anak. Sobrang nakitaan ko po s’ya ng pagbabago kasi mas naintindihan n’ya po ng mabuti ang mga lessons n’ya dahil po sa tulong n’yo.”
“Mabait at sobrang nakakatulong sa aking anak ang kaniyang tutor. Sobrang na-appreciate ko po ang programa na ito. Mabuhay po kayo!”
These are but a few of the many profuse thanks the Program and especially, its tutors, have received. IFI, in turn, hopes it has stirred in the students the desire to continue to learn and aspire for a better future. In the words of AHA Learning Center Executive Director Jaton Zulueta, “The experience of having somebody help you is something that even we, as adults, remember. Even if nothing much happens academically, baka yung ambag nyo sa buhay ng mga batang ito is to become the singular positive influence in their lives.”