My Journey on SHW

By Tinashe K | Friday, June 24, 2022

My Journey on SHW

By Tinashe K

I’ve tried to imagine my 2022 without and honestly the thought was a bit depressing. I had never imagined that such a platform and support system existed! (Which is terribly ironic, considering how long I’ve used Khan Academy and been exposed to Sal Khan’s mad genius).

Before SHW

A year ago, I was academically floundering, though I didn’t typically struggle with school. My family had gone through a lot of new changed, including a new baby and my dad embarking on certain entrepreneurial enterprises. Being the oldest, I was forced to grow up and start making some decisions for myself early on.

I’ve been homeschooled my whole life (save two terms in school last year) and my mum taught me almost everything I know. But the birth of my youngest sister coincided a with the start of my high school career, and as a result I was left to figure out my learning for the most part on my own. Now at the beginning I didn’t really mind this, but when essay writing, trigonometry, history dates, matrices, and an extremely abrupt change in curriculum came knocking at my door, I began to realize just how much trouble I was in. With hopes of pursuing neuroscience in the future, falling grades was the equivalent of falling dreams.

The Beginning

In July of 2020, my mum told me about a new project that Sal Khan had started called Schoolhouse. She described it as this place where you could get live homework help in any subject, and my first reaction was, “Meh. That’s nice, I guess.” Interestingly, this was almost the same reaction I had to joining Khan Academy. I ended up forgetting about Schoolhouse after being accepted as one of the first 500 learners on beta, back when it was on Coda. The horror that I, Tinashe, was one of SHW’s first 500 learners and had literally ignored that fact for almost six months!

Cue January 2021. I really don’t remember how or why but I signed up for my first Schoolhouse session, a Biology session hosted by Khushi P. And I liked it! So I signed up for another one, this time a math session. And yet another, Public Speaking hosted by Ananyaa N. And before long I had attended 10 sessions. Then 30, 50, 70, 100

My academic stress began decreasing exponentially. My relief and joy when I found out that you can actually request a session was unmatched to this day. I learnt about advanced equations and inequalities, descriptive writing, right triangles and trigonometry, matrices, and argumentative essays. With each week I was discovering new features and perks on the platform as well as enjoying the new ones rolling out through the efforts of our awesome product team. After the bleakness COVID had overrun my life with, 2020, 2021 was really starting to look up!

Paying It Forward

I can’t remember what sparked my interest in becoming a tutor. I love to volunteer, and one of my personal goals is to be of some help in whichever space or community I’m in. At the end of last year, the perfect opportunity afforded itself, just as I was starting to lose the flame of the idea. Our Head of Community, Mariah O, started a certification challenge as a new idea for the community space. The certification challenge would be like a support group for anybody who wanted to become a tutor and earn all the certifications in first Algebra 1, then Pre-Algebra. I was so excited! The Meetups for the series would happen at 4 am my time, but I was so stoked to start the process of becoming a tutor that I would wake up once a week to catch up with the rest of the participants.

(If you read this Mariah, I would like to say the biggest thank you ever for your invaluable help in my journey as a tutor!)

I've now been a tutor for about 2 ½ months, and the love and warmth I've found has been absolutely overwhelming. I now host the certification challenge that helped me become a tutor, and I also tutor essay and descriptive writing. I've made friends all over the world, from the US, China, Malaysia, India and the list goes on and on! To anyone who has the glorious opportunity to become part of this community; don’t let the chance slip through your fingers! We have the chance to change the world through learning, and isn't that an amazing thing?

I can assure you it will be worth the effort.

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