Monday, December 17, 2012

Northern Colleagues: a free tutoring program

A few years ago I was looking for a new job online and came across a desperate post from a mom who really needed someone to tutor her daughter but couldn't afford to pay someone very much. I saw many comments sending the mother to drop-in-tutoring programs in town. Personally, I've been a part of those programs and although these places are great for students to go when they get out of school before their parents are done work, it isn't really the ideal place to learn, especially when you're already struggling in an area. Generally, not only are the students drop-in but so are most of the volunteers, and often times there are many more students than their are volunteers. This often creates more of an after-school activity program than a tutoring session for the kids.

I am president of the Student Michigan Education Association at my school. A few weeks before, the rest of the members had been discussing new ways to become involved in the community and also ways they could get more teaching experience.

I decided to create a free tutoring program that would pair education majors with students in need throughout the community. This way students could work with the same tutor each week so that both tutor and student could become comfortable with each other, and the tutor could learn what worked and what didn't work with the student, and would hopefully be able to see progress. This would benefit the kids in the community, their parents, and us education students.

It took over a year for it to get started, but what was suppose to be a student organization is now a student-run program for the school of education at NMU. During the first year we helped 6 students get their GEDs.

You can read more about this program here, and maybe create something similar in your community!

Are you a teacher?

The other day I was in the office supplies section of Wal-mart picking up some last minute things for my little-sister's Christmas gift. You can read about that here. Anyway, a boy with special needs came up to me to show me a book he had found in the next isle. I talked to him about the book, and what grade he was in, his teacher, his favorite subject, Christmas, and the things he liked to do, and told him that reading is such a good hobby to have. We were having a good time and suddenly the woman who was standing behind us looking at pens turned around and asked, "Are you a teacher?" I told her I was going to be one day. She was actually his mom and said she could tell because usually when he tries to talk to people, they ignore him, or try to avoid him. She could tell by the way I was treating him, like a normal kid, that I was a teacher. It was then that I finally realized that I don't just feel like a teacher because of my classes and working in the schools and all of the work I have put in, but because something has actually changed about me that others notice now too. I feel like a teacher because I AM one...a pre-service teacher, but none-the-less.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Last day with my Second Graders

I spent this semester in Mr. Fox's second grade class at Superior Hills Elementary School. I had such an amazing time, and learned so much from Mr. Fox. I will be writing more posts about the lessons I taught and the things I learned from Mr Fox, but I wanted to first share how precious these kids and this experience was to me. I had never before had the opportunity to teach an entire class, and having the privilege to work in this classroom with these kids has confirmed once again my passion for teaching. For years I have wanted to become a teacher but now I know that I CAN teach, and even more important, that I love it! Next semester, I'll be doing my field experience in a middle school and although I'm sad to move on from this class of special children, I know that I have a lot more to learn and that those children will become just as important to me.

As a going away present Mr. Fox gave me a gift card to a local book store and a picture book called Math-terpieces by Greg Tang. He used this book with the second graders as a visual for learning about math. 

The kids surprised me with a book called: The Important Thing About Ms. Adair is that she is a great teacher! We Will miss you! From 2F 2012. They based it after the poems in  The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. 

Here are a few of the pages from the book they made me!