Tutoring with Minnesota Reading Corps has been a detour from Cole’s original plan. Like all detours, the new route will return him to his original goal and even help him along the way.
Before Reading Corps, Cole was a student athlete in Superior, Wisconsin. While working towards degree to become a high school social studies teacher, he also played soccer at his university. Unfortunately, Cole experienced a series of concussions while playing and had to take a leave of absence from school.
Thankfully, tutoring with Reading Corps wasn’t too far off his original plan. “It’s nice to have steady income every two weeks without having to scramble for hours, especially over breaks,” Cole said. Due to the stipend pay, tutors receive the same amount per paycheck even if their school had days off. “But additionally,” he continues, “having the education grant locks me into my plan of getting my education. It’s definitely a nice bonus.”
Cole sees some other perks to Reading Corps as well. “On top of the professional development side, it has the service side, so I’m able to serve my community. It feels really great,” he adds. “The networking I’ve been able to do as someone going into education has been great, and even just understanding how a school runs.”
Although he does plan on returning to university next year, his focus on secondary education may be shifting. “After working in an elementary school for a couple of years, I’m pretty torn at the moment,” he says. “Seeing what my classroom teachers do, it’s a tall order, but it seems like it’s something that would be really rewarding.”
While he’s only completed two out of the four-year service maximum, he isn’t forgetting about AmeriCorps. He plans to save his remaining years in case he wants to serve part-time during school or after graduating college.
Whatever he decides to pursue when he returns to college next fall, Cole is grateful for the opportunity to stay on track. “I was pretty down in the dumps about having to pull out of school, and having something that has given me this much purpose, direction, and an outlet for service has been great. Obviously staying in school was my plan, but things have worked out pretty well all things considered.”
As Cole nears the return to his original destination, he’ll come back with two extra years of experience. He learned a lot, but there’s one part of Reading Corps that stands out. “Going through high school and college, you’re really only getting excited about your own academic performance, but watching these kids succeed and grow, it’s a different feeling all together. It’s been really rewarding.”
Duluth kids still need tutors for the 2023-24 school year. Visit join.readingandmath.org to learn about the opportunities available in your community.