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March Tutoring Spotlight – John Hammon

How many years have you been tutoring with Byron? 
I have been tutoring with Byron for two and a half years.
Why were you interested in becoming a tutor?
I started thinking in 2018 about ways that I could make a positive impact in the world on a local level. I found myself feeling frustrated with the direction of the world and my heart hurt for what I saw around me. I think we sometimes feel powerless to make a change because we see such big problems. I know I did. I decided that if I couldn’t fix the world, my job was to improve my small part of the world. So I started looking for ways to do my part in the small things around me. One of those things was to become more active at DSL. DSL has been a huge part of our lives since we had our son, Owen. I knew that DSL was a place I wanted to be more connected and involved. Because I’m a teacher, tutoring was a natural fit.
What are some of your best memories/learning experiences with Byron? 
We read the book “Holes” together. During the last ten minutes or so of tutoring, we’d get it out and knock out four or five pages together. We’d take turns reading out loud, we’d talk about the story, and Byron always asked me if there were questions to answer, so I’d come up with questions really fast and write them down on paper and give them to him to answer. It was really rewarding when we finished because we’d been working on it for months and months. 
Also, at the end of our lessons we always leave about five to ten minutes for a little one on one Uno. It’s fun to spend time just talking about life and what’s going on and building that bond. 
Do you all get together outside of tutoring? If so, what do you do?
We haven’t gotten together outside of tutoring yet, but I’d like to. Byron’s a busy guy though, so he’d have to make time for me, ha ha. I did get to listen to him play piano one or two times at DSL after we finished tutoring. I’m in awe of his piano playing. I’ve been taking lessons, and he’s way better than me so it’s fun to watch him play. It also shows me that the sky’s the limit for him, and it makes me wonder what kind of talents my son will have as he grows up.
How has tutoring made you grow as a person? 
I’m a teacher, and I go straight to DSL from my school for tutoring with Byron. After a long day, if I’ve had a difficult interaction with a student, or worked with someone who just didn’t make the effort, it’s incredibly refreshing to work with Byron who is always happy to see me, always puts in a great effort, writes neatly, sticks with it when an assignment is challenging, and just shows me what’s possible. It helps me professionally to know I can have high expectations for my students at work, because Byron shows me what a great work ethic looks like.
Would you recommend others become involved (volunteer) in tutoring or other programs/experiences at DSL? Why? 
I would say if you want to make a difference in the world, start in your backyard, and that means right here in Louisville. DSL is a great place to be. The energy is positive and friendly from the staff to the members. And getting involved is always going to give you more than you put in. The world needs everyone who’s reading this to be putting in work, but for each person, that work might be different. I know someone reading this though would be a great fit at DSL and they just need to take that leap to find out. Once you finally do you’ll wonder why you waited so long. 
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