Minnesota Reading Corps & Minnesota Math Corps Blog

‘Helping Others is Who I Am’: Reading Corps Tutor Reflects on 4 Years of Service

After being a stay at home mom for 12 years and pursuing a short stint in corporate staffing, Robin Gleb wasn’t sure what was next. When her best friend encouraged her to look into Reading Corps, everything seemed to fall into place.

An Easy Decision

“Once I started to research Reading Corps, I started to recall how school was for me when I was a kid,” Robin shared. “Back then, I had a really hard time with reading. It really makes you feel a certain way when you realize you are not at the level you should be at. I wanted to make sure kids didn’t feel that way.”

Robin’s experience as a mom also influenced her decision to become a tutor. With two daughters in the special education program, it was easy to recognize the importance of extra support for students. “I have watched my own kids struggle and feel discouraged for years,” Robin said. “This made it such an easy decision for me.”

Four Years of Service

Today, Robin is an experienced tutor who is currently serving her fourth term at Normandale Hills Elementary. Reflecting on her service as a tutor, Robin says she’s witnessed so many great moments and continues to be amazed by the difference Reading Corps makes for students.

“Kids often come into a tutoring session saying, ‘I’m so stupid, I’ll never get this.’ And that just isn’t true. I tell them they are simply having a hard time. By the end of the year, their mindset is completely changed.”

According to Robin, that shift is the most rewarding part of service. She said that it is a joy to watch students become surprised when they finally can put some words together. She has witnessed students start to love reading. That’s what has kept her coming back year after year.

Supporting her Community

Amid COVID-19 school closures, Robin hasn’t stopped giving back. She has remained active in her school community by assembling distance learning packets, supporting teachers with materials that are needed for lesson plans, sanitizing the school’s Reading Corps space and Media Center, handing out jump ropes to encourage physical activity and distributing food from Sheridan Story. Robin is also hoping to help with school lunch distribution and frontline worker child care starting next week.

“I have decided to stay involved for multiple reasons,” Robin explained. “As a community, we are all in this together and need to pull together during this tough time. I also think that the kids need to know that even during this time, the adults in their lives are still here for them.”

It is hard to be away from students, but Robin is confident that by supporting each other, Normandale Hills will get through these challenging times.

“I would like my students to know that I am still here for them and that they are not alone. I want them to know that even though we don’t get to see each other every day, I think of them every day. Wash your hands, cover your cough/sneeze, listen to your parent(s)/guardian(s), keep learning, keep practicing kindness, I miss you all and can’t wait to see you again.”  

To see how Normandale Hills Elementary is encouraging its students from afar, check out this special video created for the students and their families. 

At this time, all tutors are encouraged to make their health and the health of others the top priority. Please follow CDC recommendations and comply with all local and state measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. If you have questions about your service during COVID-19, please visit servetogrow.org/covid19 and reach out to your program manager with any questions or concerns. 

As always, if you have a story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at news@servetogrow.org

 

Suzanne Pagel‘Helping Others is Who I Am’: Reading Corps Tutor Reflects on 4 Years of Service