Meet Anoop Mathur, February's Literacy Leader

At Goodwill’s FATHER (Fostering Actions To Help Earnings and Responsibility) Project, Wednesday morning math lessons are filled with fun thanks to this month’s Literacy Leader, Anoop Mathur. What’s his secret to getting learners to enjoy math as much as he does? Anoop says it’s helping students understand how math affects their lives. “Many students are afraid of math. So I try not to just teach the fundamentals without any context, but make mathematics fun and necessary,” shares Anoop, who adds that he tries to get students to, “see the value of math in their everyday life.”

The classroom teacher who supervises Anoop, Kathy Dobovsky, says, “He cares for the whole student. He is willing to take students from where they are, not only academically but also with their attitudes.” Learning can be emotional, and great tutors empathize with their students to push through trepidation. Dobovsky continues, “Anoop knows that many students have had really negative experiences in learning math, so he works with the student until they ‘come around’ and realize that they can learn math.  Anoop frequently shows a student a fun math ‘trick’ to break up the tension of concentrating so hard.”

Anoop first heard about the need for volunteers from his wife, Preeti, who had been a volunteer and board member with the Minnesota Literacy Council. Preeti thought he might enjoy tutoring math and encouraged him to give it a try. He says, “I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to use my available time.”

Patient and adaptable, Anoop embodies what coordinators hope for in a volunteer.  He treasures his time at the FATHER Project. When asked about a day that stood out for him as a volunteer, he recounts this story: “The best day was when a student who had a phobia of math – and that was the only subject that was holding her from getting her GED – announced that she was beginning to enjoy math so much that perhaps she might even take advanced courses at MCTC. It required patience to get her to see the value of what she was doing. She finally did graduate and wrote a very nice and touching letter, which I cherish.”

Anoop gladly reserves his Wednesdays for volunteering. “Preeti knows not to schedule anything on my volunteer day and I keep that time slot marked as busy on my calendar.”  We appreciate Anoop and his passion for education. Thank you, Anoop, for dedicating your Wednesdays to the FATHER Project!

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