Your Commitment To Tutor Training Helps Our Students!
By Jessie Palmatier
How you helped vulnerable students catch up
A few weeks ago, our normally quiet office was buzzing with activity as impromptu tutor training sessions began—supplies were gathered, coffee brewed, and tutors arrived. During this time, the teachers in Oakland schools were on strike. This brought our clinics to a temporary halt while we waited with the rest of the city for the stoppage to be resolved. Like many of you, we stood by wondering, “How will the vulnerable students who are already behind catch up?”
Despite the strike, our dedicated volunteer tutors responded to our call. Instead of taking the week off, they used the time they would have otherwise spent working with children in the school to attend tutor training to improve their skills and techniques.
Over the course of five days, tutors came in small groups to learn from their clinic coordinators, program staff, and one another. Succeeding by Reading staff led breakout sessions on phonics, sight words, and reading. Volunteers shared success stories and struggles alike, and worked through them as a team.
Program Director Rebecca Buckley noted, “Our time at school sites is very focused and very limited. There is no real time for discussion about particular students, particular challenges, particular materials.” The impromptu tutor training gave volunteers and staff an opportunity to come together and spend time thinking about questions and challenges, share ideas, and make space for extended dialog about what is happening week to week in the reading clinics.
Despite the strike, YOU took the time to improve your skills and techniques to help students who are even further behind.
When the strike was resolved, our tutors went back to their clinics better equipped to help children who had fallen even further behind. One tutor reported, “I now have a clear idea of how to build on the child’s level of understanding.” Another thanked us, saying “I learned more about how to organize my student sessions based on their needs.”
Even seasoned tutors learned a lot: “Even though I’ve been tutoring for a while, I learned better use of tools and gained deeper understanding of reading concepts and methods of teaching.” She also noted it was “very helpful…to hear other tutors’ stories and struggles with students.”
This is all part of our effort to provide our volunteers a new vocation. Tutoring struggling students who may already be two grade levels behind does not come naturally to most. However, Faith Network of the East Bay’s goal is to set our tutors up to succeed, whether you are a first timer or you’ve been doing this for ten-plus years, as some of our veterans have.
As we continue on through the rest of the school year, our tutors are re-invigorated and even more prepared to help their students succeed. And we will continue to offer tutor training sessions so that our tutors continue to provide crucial, one-to-one learning to vulnerable students.
YES, I CAN help transform a child’s life. Let’s talk!