Tutoring is often assumed to take place between peers, such as college student to college student or even older students to younger students. The benefits of tutoring for seniors, though, suggest more people should consider this activity during their retirement years.
One of the biggest motivations for people over the age of 50 to tutor is to share knowledge they’ve accumulated throughout their lifetimes, according to a survey from Wyzant, an online-based company of paid tutors. Many also tutor because they want to remain intellectually connected to their areas of study.
Wyzant surveyed 1,254 of its instructors age 50 and older, with the average age being 62 and the oldest being 90. About one-third of the company’s tutors are over the age of 50.
Also noteworthy is that older tutors strongly prefer to work with children as opposed to adults, according to the findings.
“It has been my pleasure to work with students who have a real thirst and drive for knowledge,” one tutor told Next Avenue. “Other students struggle in their learning processes. That keeps me on my toes. Many times, I have to dig for solutions to help them overcome their own learning hurdles. This inspires me to keep learning myself.”
All of this is to say that the main benefits of tutoring for seniors involve challenging themselves, improving their own health and wellbeing, imparting wisdom and giving back.
Tutoring at The Clare
Residents at The Clare certainly reap the benefits of tutoring for seniors through Chicago’s Working In The Schools (WITS) program. WITS aims to create positive learning communities through volunteer literacy mentor programs for underserved Chicago youth. It also promotes teacher professional development.
Two Clare residents, in particular – Ginny and Roger Carlson – have been advocates of WITS since its inception, volunteering with students and serving on the Board of Directors. Both were instrumental in launching the WITS Early Childhood Program.
Since The Carlson’s moved to The Clare, they have inspired 24 residents participate in the WITS program – 18 volunteer on a weekly basis, while six serve as substitutes, filling in when needed. This number continues to grow.
“Are we the answer? No,” Ginny said. “Are we part of the answer? Yes. We have been a dedicated group for 25 years. It has been our dream to make the children’s world a better place.”