Once a teacher, always a teacher
Albuquerque’s tutor trainer, Phyllis Metzler
Whether it was her love of teaching or desire to help children, the opportunity to continue those interests after 21 years in the classroom is what brought retired teacher Phyllis Metzler to OASIS in 2000.
Phyllis knew a little about the OASIS intergenerational tutoring program in Albuquerque, and had seen a news article about it, which intrigued her to find out more. “After I retired from teaching, I found I still wanted to be involved with kids,” she said.
The tutoring program seemed to be a perfect fit for Phyllis. Having taught high school students in math, German and computer science, she was more than prepared for the challenge of finding ways to inspire children to love learning and improve their reading skills. “I really enjoy talking with the kids, picking out books I think they will enjoy and coming up games that will make reading attractive to them.”
While participating in the program hosted at Albuquerque Public Schools, Phyllis tutored two to three children every year. “Being able to work with them for a whole year is immensely fulfilling,” she said, “and a real sense of accomplishment.” The structure of the tutoring program allows the tutor to work independently with their students, which Phyllis was glad to see. “The program is really well organized and soundly based,” Phyllis said. “I didn’t have to bother the school’s teacher to give me something to do.”
After five years as a tutor, Phyllis took the next step and became a teacher of teachers. Since 2005, she has been training tutors in the OASIS program. “As a retired teacher, I was glad to see there was a training program for tutors … before they were turned loose with the kids,” she said. “Training adults is different than teaching kids, but I find that those who want to be involved in the tutoring program are the nicest people.”