The Circle Poem

By Paul Jackson

I have volunteered at FLOC as an after school tutor and have served on FLOC’s board since mid-2016.  Tutoring at FLOC has been an amazing and transformative experience for me. The most important thing I have learned about tutoring is that, if you can develop a connection of trust with your student and find out what they’re interested in, you can tailor the tutoring sessions in a way that make learning interesting, relevant, and fun.

My first student loved magic tricks – you would be amazed how you can incorporate magic into a math program.  This last school year, my student and I slogged through reading Harry Potter until I found out he loved Paleontology and was really into dinosaurs.  For the rest of the school year, we read about dinosaurs, did worksheets about dinosaurs, and played dinosaur-themed games.

This school year, in our first session, I asked my student to write something – anything.  She asked if it was ok to write it in a circle.  I said sure.  Here’s what she wrote:

I am fast like a lion

Sweet like a rose

And happy like a cake

Cool like ice cream

And kind and gentle



FLOC has been tutoring students in DC for over 20 years, has “figured out” how to accelerate students’ academic performance and has an amazing track record of improving educational outcomes for thousands of DC youth.

Get to know a student, demonstrate that you care, and teach toward their interests – and you will see results that are more magical than Harry Potter and more powerful than a dinosaur.

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