‘Go for your dreams.’
‘The only way to give up is to not even start.’
‘The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.’
All of us have read them, seen them, and thought about them – the typical motivational entrepreneur quotes. They always sound so simple, yet not a lot of people our age seem to follow them. Therefore I decided to share with EDUopinions my journey of finding my own tutoring association as a student.
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How It Happened
I was 16 years old, close to starting with my A-levels studies when I decided to look for a job. I knew that on the one hand side, I loved working with children. On the other hand side, I always enjoyed explaining and articulating concepts. Above all, I wanted a flexible job where I could choose my own times. Even though this may sound like too much to ask for, I soon discovered that tutoring could fulfil all of the wishes I had.
Like most schools, my school had a small tutoring club, where I just registered myself and was then transferred to younger students who were looking for help in the subjects English, German and French.
This tutoring club existing back then was lacking organisation and a real structure, as there were no proper contracts, no fixed amount of money per hour and the older students, matched with the younger ones, were randomly chosen. More and more often, there were complaints from parents, stating that the tutors were in fact not all qualified and that the organisation was messy. Even though my students and their parents were really happy with me and the learning development, I – along with some other students – felt a dire urge to make a change and develop our tutoring system.
What I Did Next
Since I was one of the most engaged tutors I was soon approached by three other students who were really passionate about the idea of revolutionising the tutoring situation in our school. So at the end of 2015, together with some other really motivated older students, the eight of us decided to found a proper association – “VisioNachhilfe e.V. (a hybrid name out of the German words “Vision”, which also means vision in English and “Nachhilfe”, which means tutoring).
With the main idea “Students help students” we started to work on proper legal frameworks, clear structures within the association and worked on cooperations with schools. It was pretty time consuming and I found there was a lot of unexpected paperwork. I was so surprised by all of the legal details you need to follow when founding an official association.
We wanted to not only offer an opportunity to improve academically for younger students, but we also wanted to give older students a platform to pass on their knowledge and meanwhile, earn some pocket money. Wanting to improve the quality of the tutors, VisioNachhilfe e.V. established seminars, which aimed at conveying subject-specific and pedagogical skills.
All in all, being part of the founding process really made me respect every association, company or club even more since it is not always evident how much work is actually put into it. I really appreciate the teamwork and how all of us council members grew together, even when it was difficult. We were often thrown back – only one example would be our own school, who first did not approve the idea of us being an independent association. With our regular meetings, arguments or heated discussions we really pushed ourselves in order to have the most efficient tutoring association in our town.
So now reflecting back on the quotes mentioned in the beginning, I can finally understand what is meant when talking about taking opportunities and working hard in order to achieve something with value. One advice I can give you guys is that you should keep your eyes open and if you have a vision regarding an improvement, you have to make the change yourself!