Tutor of the Year found calling through work

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Tori Roper
Staff Writer

Melissa Cannon, a senior elementary education major from Hartford, discovered firsthand that she was on the right path as she began tutoring at the public library.
Each semester, 60 to 100 Troy students volunteer at the Troy Public Library to tutor kindergarten through 12th-grade students enrolled in school in the Pike County area.
Tutors are matched with the students by which subjects they are skilled in and whether the tutor is an elementary or secondary education major or another major.
“Tutoring helps me see how the curriculum is now with the changes because of Common Core,” Cannon said. “I have to relearn all of the methods so I can be more prepared for when I will be a teacher. I will be a step up on what they are learning.”
One student is chosen out of all of the volunteers as the Tutor of the Year. For the year 2014, Cannon was chosen for the award.
The librarians of the Troy Public Library talk to the parents and teachers of the students who receive tutoring to gain insight on each student’s progress and how beneficial the tutor has been for the student while choosing Tutor of the Year.
“She’s definitely exceeded our expectations,” said Teresa Colvin, the children’s librarian at Troy Public Library.
Several tutors in the running for the award, according to Colvin, but parents of Cannon’s students were “vying” for her to win after the difference she had made in their children’s academics.
Cannon has been tutoring with the library since her first semester in college.
“I had to have community service hours, so I got plugged in at the library and just stuck with it,” Cannon said.
Colvin said that students usually come to tutor as education majors who are required to have 10 volunteer hours in the education field for certain classes.
According to Colvin, Cannon has clocked in over 100 hours at the library so far.
Cannon goes to the library to tutor once a week unless her students have tests, which increases tutoring to twice a week.
Cannon tutors the same two students every week.She has been tutoring one of them, named Anna, for 2.5 years.
“I was having difficulty finding out if teaching is what I wanted to do,” Cannon said. “Anna has helped me decide what I wanted to do.”
Anna and Lexi, Cannon’s other pupil, are both sixth-graders.
“Anna is really funny,” Cannon said. “Lexi went through three different tutors, so it took a little adjustment when I started tutoring her as well. They have competitions between the two of them; they enjoy the competition.”
“She is so sweet,” she said of Anna. “She missed me over winter break and brought me a card that said, ‘I’m doing flips that you’re my tutor again.’ ”
“Anna likes it,” said Cannon of the tutoring process. “Some are there because they have to be, but every kid is different. Some enjoy it more than others.”
“I try to find ways to help them enjoy it more,” Cannon said. “I bring in markers and huge sheets of paper and let them draw. Sometimes I put games in it or take them outside. I let them have more of a say so they feel more in control.”
One of the children tutored by Cannon was in an intervention program, or remedial classes.
“She did so well under (Cannon’s) guidance that she is back with her class,” Colvin said.
When asked how important tutoring is to her, Cannon replied: “Extremely important. Tutoring gives college students an opportunity to volunteer and reach out to the community and learn about people around them.”

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