Talks with tutors: Khalil Taylor, M3 at Drexel University College of Medicine
"It’s a great feeling to give back and watch kids grow, there are a lot of benefits that come from tutoring someone - especially if they come from a marginalized community."
Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Khalil (left), a RISE tutor from Drexel University College of Medicine and an alumnus of the Philadelphia public school system. We had a great talk about the work he does, why he does it, and what he gets out of it. Read on and hear it for yourself!
How did you hear about RISE Philadelphia?
When I was a first year, I heard from an M2, Josh, during the club fair at Drexel and Josh reached out to me and was asking if I was interested, and that’s how I got started with it.
How old is the person you tutor, and how's your experience been tutoring?
I actually used to work one day a week with 8th graders, you know, and of course they’re older and then with RISE I was working with a 7 year old. So that was a big change, I'm like ok well all the things that he's learning, I've learned all this myself just a longer time ago - and I found that a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, just getting back to simplicity. But also that process can help you, you know, re-form a foundation of what it takes to teach and learn these foundational skills and knowledge. So with my tutee mostly at this point it's been a lot of basic math, so addition and subtraction, and we're moving up to even trying to understand division and that takes a lot of time but I also do find it really rewarding when he actually does get it. And of course he has his mom, his teachers at school, they’re also helping to reinforce these concepts.
Can you share a rewarding or exciting moment for you as a tutor?
So my tutee struggles with math, he doesn't think he likes it and it's a little bit harder for him than some other subjects like reading and writing. So one of the things I did was incorporate math stories, like a topic or a movie - I found a YouTube clip of Toy Story and I create a bunch of math questions based off of the scene and having him go through and not only practice his math skills but also practice reading while he reads the problems out. So he gets to watch the video and work on his skills at the same time. It's rewarding to bring together different topics and it's great to feel like I am able to influence this child's life in a positive way and in a creative way. And it’s teaching me different ways of analyzing how to work with people, you know, cause sometimes teaching people you have to find the right method so they can come to the conclusion on their own to understand the concept. It’s great to watch him come to that realization, each week I get him to do these problems and he actually understands math - even if he doesn't realize he’s learning at that moment.
Anything you’d like to say to future tutors/students/RISE Philly
Yeah! I think the biggest thing for me, that I have actually told people, is that it was challenging at first dealing with younger children and returning to simpler concepts and managing mood fluctuations, but it’s so gratifying helping these students and I feel like I am making a big difference, you know. Having been a student in Philadelphia public schools, I know they are not always the best and sometimes kids need more support. Seeing academic challenges students are facing and then finding ways around them is not only great for the tutees but makes me a better student, and reminds me of what its like to be on both ends of the learning/teaching spectrum. It’s a great feeling to give back and watch these kids grow, there are a lot of benefits that come from tutoring someone and especially if they come from a marginalized community. It’s one thing to be here for medical school, but to me the whole goal of medicine is to help communities around you and I think tutoring through RISE lets me be inclusive and interact with my city,
Thank you to Khalil for speaking with me, and for the work he does and all the RISE tutors do make a lasting positive impact for the city of Philadelphia. You can learn more about becoming a RISE tutor yourself here. To sign up a student for RISE tutoring, click here.
Author: Drew Davis, medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine.
See more on twitter at @DDhealthhistory