By James Mishra
I wanted my first job to be in software engineering.
As a teenager, I was desperate to become more independent in every way possible. In attempt to become more financially independent, I started applying to various software engineering jobs at the University of Minnesota.
Meanwhile, a friend of mine was leaving his job as a math tutor at a learning center, and he thought that I would be a good candidate to be his replacement. Being a math tutor was not on my radar, but I interviewed nevertheless.
I interviewed in the learning center and fell in love with the kids that were there. When the boss called me to tell me that I was hired, I was too excited to start teaching than to remember my previous focus in finding computer work.
I worked at the learning center, teaching children everything from the basics of counting to Algebra II. My responsibilities included grading student work, teaching them how to correct their mistakes, and informing parents of their child's progress.
I only spent four months at the Mathnasium in Savage, MN. While the center was only five miles away from my parents' home, it was a grueling commute from the University of Minnesota. As my first semester as a full-time student at the University was coming to a close, I had a growing sense that I needed to spend more time on my own schoolwork, and would unfortunately be unable to help other students with theirs.
Now, I have achieved my goal of working in software engineering; however, I look back fondly on my days as a math tutor. The communication skills I learned there—such as how to tell a student that they solved a problem incorrectly—turned out to be invaluable when communicating with my coworkers.