Refugees entering TNKR go through an entrance interview with the co-founders. The newcomers often ask us if the tutors will accept them as students and if the tutors will get bored with teaching lower-level speakers and even some at the ABC level.

I tell them, based on feedback from refugees in TNKR now, that the tutors are really patient, even gentle. As long as the students are trying, then the tutors seem to go beyond our basic expectations. The times that I’ve seen tutors bothered is when students cancel classes at the last minute or are repeatedly late. So I tell the students: Be on time, try hard, then your tutors will love you and be patient.

Yesterday was an extreme case. One of our new tutors had a four hour session with a North Korean refugee who is new to English. This wasn’t chit-chat at a coffee shop with a refugee who can discuss a number of issues in English. This was repetition, correction, review. Then repeat process. As a reminder, this is volunteering.

They were both focused. As you can imagine, the refugee was really pleased. The only time they seemed to get bothered was when I came in to take photos.

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