Celebrating National Volunteer Month

April 11, 2023
By: George Nie


We are honored to salute our dedicated volunteers as we celebrate National Volunteer Month this April. The commitment and dedication of Foundation volunteers enriches the lives of our students and makes our life-changing programs possible. We are honored to shine our Tutor Spotlight on George Nie, a Math Motivators tutor at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

  1. How long have you been with Math Motivators?

I started tutoring with Math Motivators in February 2021.

  1. What has surprised you most about tutoring?

I was surprised by the students’ willingness to learn. At first, I was ready for students to pay barely any attention to me. But it turns out that the students are interactive and engaging, which surprised me a lot.

  1. What do you find most rewarding about tutoring?

I find tutoring most rewarding when students can verbally explain the concepts and steps to solve the problems, and when I see the smiles on their faces, and they say thank you. I can tell whether students really grasp the concepts by observing their engagement and listening to their tone.

  1. What has been a challenge with tutoring and how have you faced that challenge?

Since I have been tutoring remotely with zoom, I have felt that tutors and students are less connected compared to in-person tutoring since we could not have as much interaction. I feel like nobody likes to listen to a name with a black screen teaching. Therefore, I would always open my camera and encourage students to also turn their cameras on. Doing so can create more interactions between me and the students. Also, turning the cameras on can better draw students’ attention since we can see each other when asking questions, etc.

  1. What advice do you have for new tutors?

Before tutoring: give some time to get to know each other a little bit because a student is less likely to trust and learn from someone whom they don’t know anything about.

During tutoring: explain the concepts before going over the problems, let students try out the problems first, and try to guide the students through the process instead of solely going over the problems. When you ask a question, you should try to give some appropriate time for students to process it. (NEVER be afraid of the silence as a teacher or tutor.)

  1. What’s one thing you’ve learned or one way you’ve grown as a result of tutoring?

I’ve learned how to stand in others’ shoes. When I was their age, I probably knew less than they do, and I would never spend extra time after school looking for tutors. The concepts they are learning might be intuitive and easy for me now, but I was in a similar situation with them when I was learning it. Bearing that in mind, I always try to work slowly and step by step to guide them through the process.

Interested in volunteering for Math Motivators or any other Foundation program? Visit https://actuarialfoundation.org/volunteer/.

We are so inspired by each of our volunteers. Thank you for all that you do!