27 September 2010

America Reads Tutors: REFLECTION QUESTION 1


ATTN: America Reads Tutors

Why did you apply to be an America Reads tutor? What skills or talents do you bring to your America Reads elementary school? Please read through all the comments before you post. Feel free to respond and comment on other posts.

Post your comments below by clicking on the "COMMENTS" link. You can use your google/blogger username, you can manually enter your name/initials/nickname, or you can post anonymously. Whatever you're most comfortable with is fine...we just want you to respond and interact with each other.

THANKS!

49 comments:

  1. My one negative experience was trying several times to get a hold of certain school , not getting my calls returned.
    The positive experience was getting a hold of another school , where I will be tutoring, the coordinator was warm and friendly , has answered all my questions/ concerns. The orientation was great as well , I knew what to expect and what to do.

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  2. My first day was very positive. I read with three students right off the bat and they really enjoyed the books we read. I did have a less than ideal situation with a student that decided to call me some rather inappropriate names and said that I was "frustrating" her. I spoke with her teacher and all was resolved. I am learning how to be friendly and honest in every situation :)

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  3. My most positive experience in becoming a new tutor was getting a thorough inside look at the public school system. The most negative thing I have come across is the overwhelming sensation in signing up for a new job, starting a new sememster, and balancing my family life.

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  4. My first positive experience was the ease of getting in contact with the coordinator at David Gourley, and how quickly I was able to get in an see her about becoming a tutor there.

    The negative experience is that there is really no set tutoring program at that school, and so many teachers want the aid of tutors, so I'm only able to work with students in one class for a small amount of time. Sometimes I find myself with nothing to do except keeping an eye on the troublesome kids while the teacher is teaching class, though I feel that that really isn't what my job as a tutor is supposed to be.

    This doesn't happen often. In the time I've been tutoring, it's only happened twice. I also find myself tutoring in other topics as well. The most difficult part is getting reluctant students to actively be engaged in these tutoring sessions. I know they know the answer, I can see it in their eyes. They just feel that they don't need to try, and look to me to provide the answer for them.

    Whoa, that was a big response. ^^;

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  5. On a positive note...
    Westvale Elementary's reading program is probably the best I've see EVER, and I have been working/volunteering in the public school system for over 10 years.
    Marilee, the coordinator over there is very organized, and the program is super easy to follow.
    (Just to put in a plug for Westvale, they are in need of more tutors, especially if you can work mornings, but afternoons work as well, and there is NO CHARGE for the background checks for ALL VOLUNTEERS.)
    The negative thing, would be that I don't have more time in my schedule to volunteer more hours.

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  6. I love working at Whittier, this is my second year and I'm very glad that I have more time to devote to America Reads. So far, everything has gone fairly smooth. I just started tutoring again two day ago so I'm still getting used to the new staff with the after school program and learning the students names (again). All of my experiences have been positive except for trying to get the ball rolling and making sure I dotted all my "i"s and crossed all my "t"s. Some minor things that were overlooked in my paperwork forced me to postpone my start date until I could get to Redwood to tie up the loose ends. All in all, it has been a successful start to a year of working for America Reads.

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  7. The most positive thing about all this is getting to instill my love of reading with the kids, and I love the children I have been assigned to tutor, it's very rewarding and I look forward to going! Yes the negative was it was difficult to get a hold of the school for both their day and evening programs, but I'm glad I stuck with it cause I love it there!

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  8. One of the most positive things that I have had being new tutor for America Reads was interacting with the kids, helping them with thier homework and knowing that they look up to you. I felt happy to know that they look up to someone like a college student. One negative thing was changing schools to tutor even though the distance is a problem

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  9. One negative experience, is trying to find a school that would call me back. I tried many times, left many messages. I got frustrated and called another school. Set up a meeting that day to come in. It's not the one I wanted, but I don't have time to deal with people that will not call me back. Positive, is I really love the program and all the people that are running it, so helpful!

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  10. My negative experience was having butterflies in my stomach when I went to the training at the school. I hate to have that feeling. It always panics me and makes me feel like I have forgotten something. My positive experience was getting to tell my story a little bit about my experiences at Whittier as a child and how I remember so much being inside of the school. The strange thing is that the room where we tutor used to be my sixth grade teachers room. Go figure.

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  11. Jason I think that you responded rather well to your situation with the girl. I applaud your approach. It is neat that you did not let the bad experience ruin your good one.

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  12. I have been tutoring at Westvale for about two weeks and everything about it has been a positive experience for me. I was worried that tutoring would be scary or intimidating, but I really have fun and enjoy it. It has been great getting to know each of my kids and they are all already improving their reading speeds!
    The only negative experience I can think of is that today while I was helping a teacher with her class, one of the kids absolutely refused to do any of his work, even though we both knew he could do it. Finally I just had to move on and help the kids who were willing to work.

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  13. I love working at Whittier! I have been there for over a year now, and know a lot of the kids in the program. I was hired by the school district to be a group leader there, and I have worked in that position since last January. I also continued to work there as an America Reads tutor through last summer. I have had to cut back on my hours as a group leader, and am currently considered an "as needed substitute" group leader as far as my employment with the school district goes. I am concentrating on being an America reads tutor in both the Early Steps reading program, and also the Extended Day after school program at Whittier. Like Amanda, the only thing I get frustrated with is when kids refuse to do their homework. I can't make them do it if they refuse; the only thing I can do in that case is to let the group leader know, and write a note to their teacher, letting her/him know that the student refused to complete their homework.

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  14. Hi Mary!
    I sure am enjoying working at Westvale! I agree, the Star program is absolutelu amazing. I am using it with my son who does homeschool half the day and public school the other half of the day! See you there!
    Diana

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  15. Hi Jason,
    That would be frustrating to have problems with a student. It sounds like you handled it very well. I have been lucky so far- the students I am working with are just darling!
    Diana

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  16. Sounds like most everyone are getting off to a great start with tutoring. I was lucky to be able tog et ahold of people at the school I wanted right away. They have been so helpful and welcoming. I love the school atmosphere and being with the kids is great!

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  17. The tutors at Nibley Park are great! We need more. Call me, Sherrie at Nibley Park, 801-481-4842.

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  18. The tutors at Westvale Elementary ROCK! We need more tutors!!! Please call Marilee Wilson @ 801-565-7510 xt. 6900 for more information.

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  19. Hello, Alexis here. I am tutoring for Nibley Park right now and I LOVE it. Sherrie is a sweetheart and the children are wonderful. So far the experience of actually tutoring has been very positive and rewarding. The only negative experience was with one school in particular, I contacted them early on and heard absolutely nothing. After contacting them a few more times and after much back and forth they were finally able to schedule an orientation one on one with me (which I thought was very kind and accommodating) but when I got there the coordinator was out sick - no email, no phone call, no nothing. Luckily their assistant was able to improvized a short orientation so my time wasn't completely wasted.

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  20. Mauricea, it was good meeting you the other day. I'm glad you stuck with it too and are tutoring with NP. It will be great to have a friendly face not only at NP but here on the blog too ;)

    Alexis

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  21. Jason, I too admire the way you approached the situation with the girl. I have worked with children (in the past, and not as a turor but a para-educator) who have called me names, even going as far as to hit and kick me. It is not alway so easy to remain calm, cool, and collected but it's so important that you do. Great job. I'm sure you will find a way to inspire her. :)

    Alexis Owen

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  22. In response to the first reflection. I will start with the negative. I would say that most of the children that I have tutored so far are very smart and know whats going on around them, and to them, they are very aware. However these children are also aware of individuals who don't care about them. At Nibley Park elementary they have an after school program where a core of college students are the home work hall group leaders who are less than enthusiastic. They are more concerned about being competitive with each other rather than helping the students who ask for help in home work hall. I was very disappointed by their apathy. On the other side I am relieved that the students are aware of this.
    In spite of the after school program, the tutoring program at Nibley elem. is very flexible and the director Mrs. Johnson is very genuine and warm hearted. One student in particular expressed to me that he, "was special" to be going with me to read in Mrs. Johnsons' room. He made me feel specail..

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  23. I am tutoring at Whittier and I enjoy it. I love helping the kids and seeing the light go on when they learn something new. I get to work with one 4th grader that doen't know his letters yet, I am helping him learn them, he gets so excited when he can do something new. I can't think of a bad thing other than it is so sad to see these kids haveing a hard time with their reading. Marie Sturm

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  24. For the most part I have had nothing but positive experiences. I am really enjoying working with thte kids and they seem to have adopted me as one of their own. The only downside I can think of is the noise. I never realized how much noise young people create until trying to get them to stop talking long enough to do their homework. Hahaha! But the other Tutors and Group Leaders I am working with are amazing and I have so much respect for what they do.-Jessica Hoggan

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  25. I have loved getting to know the kids, and seeing their faces light up when they learn a new word or when they get a treat for doing a good job. So far it has been a really great experience. I have such a respect for teachers now. And, completely agree with the new "no child gets left behind" law. Hope to help many more.

    Steph

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  26. I guess a negative experience has been that I feel like the school I'm working for is very unorganized, they're rushed and they don't seem to have much time for the tutors that are so willing to help.

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  27. I have had mainly positive experiences thus far. The more time I spend in the class room the more I appreciate teachers and enjoy spending time with the students. I never wanted to be a teacher, but after tutoring the little ones it's really growing on me. I did have one negative experience last week where one of the students I was helping during power hour had written something very inappropriate on his paper while I was helping another student. I was shocked! I couldn't believe a first grader already knew of that inappropriate phrase and knew it would get a reaction out of me. I quickly snatched up his paper and gave him a new one and made him start over. After class I showed his teacher what he had written and she too was appalled by his behavior and assured me he usually doesn't act this way. She made him repeat the assignment once more and made sure he knew what he had done was wrong and inappropriate. She had him apologize to me and he told me it wouldn't happen again. If anyone has had a similar experience please share and let me know how you handled the situation.
    Dannika

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  28. To the Anonymous comment above my previous comment I know exactly how you feel about the lack of organization. Please stick with it the school just isn't used to having such great help and the teachers are used to having to do everything on their own. So they don't usually set anything aside for the America Reads tutors. If you inform a specific teacher that you will be spending time each week in their class room at the same time they will prepare something for you to do. Teachers are very busy and appreciate the help so much.
    Dannika

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  29. To log into the SlCC computer system now that America Reads tutors are employees you have to long into SLCCI rather than STUDENTI. I just thought I'd share this because I found it extremely frustrating this morning when I was unable to log in after 10 attempts using the correct user name and password.

    Dannika

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  30. To Mary Villanueva,

    Your comment has encouraged me contact Westvale Elementary and maybe start tutoring some of my hours there where I'm truly needed instead of spending so much of my time wandering around trying to find someone who could use my help. So thank you so much for the post.

    Dannika

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  31. I actually have not been able to start. I have an interview for this week, I have been a little busy with relocating to a new place. I can't wait to start though. It seems like it is going to be a great experience, and I love being around kids they naturally brighten up a day. I am going for Whittier elementary.

    Carmen Lovio

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  32. All of the previous comments have helped me in my search and preparation in becoming an American Reads Tutor. Though I haven't yet chosen the school in which I will be tutoring, I am getting very excited to do so. I look forward to being a part of a team to help children in anyway that I can. I will review this blog on a regular basis to assist me with success in this area.

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  33. I have had a couple instances where the students get off task. I have just reminded them how valuable our time to learn is. I have been lucky to have a good school and students to work with. The during and after school programs are productive and I feel useful. The kids I have been able to help are achieving quality progress. Fun Fun!!

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  34. I love that I am back in the same school like last year. I don't have to learn all the names again. Kids now me. It is very exited working on girl scouts program building their self- asteem. Staff in school changed, and it is kind of unpleasant. I was hoping to work with the same people again. It is not bad, just not what I was hoping for.

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  35. I became an America Reads tutor because I’ve held many positions in the past, and being a tutor was by far one of the most rewarding. I had a late start to joining America Reads, as I had to wait for my work study to be awarded, but thanks to Lynne and the other members of the Thayne Center I was able to get started on my way to being an America Reads tutor.

    After completing my background check, I immediately tried setting an appointment with my first school of choice. They told me my best option would be to stop by to try to catch the coordinator. I drove down to learn the coordinator had already left, and I’d wasted a trip. They suggested that I just keep trying to catch her and told me the hours she’s usually in. I left messages and stopped by multiple times, to no avail. I really wanted to teach at this particular school because I heard it was in very high need of tutors. Eventually I was able to get in contact with the coordinator, to be rudely told that she has no room for new tutors, and that I had pretty much been wasting my time.

    I tried getting in contact with another school and never had any messages returned. To make things worse, my car was stolen that week. I was reconsidering my choice of jobs, when I got a call from Nibley Park Elementary. It was Sherrie Johnson who told me that she was excited to meet with me and that I could stop by that day to go over the program with her. After speaking with her I was reassured that this is what I want to do.

    Overall, I’ve had a few bumps along the way, but I’m glad I decided to be an America Reads tutor, and look forward to helping the students at Nibley Park elementary obtain a better understanding of the required material, so they’re well equipped with the skills they need to insure a brighter future.

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  36. I am so excited and proud to read all of the comments on this America Reads blog area. I need to get with it and post some new questions. Thank you for your honesty and insights. Reflection is an important part of the Thayne Center Programs and I believe in all education, and possibly life. Reflection can be positive and negative. It can help us realize our strengths, and talents. It can help us rethink our experiences, and show us things that we did not know were occurring at the time we were actually there in the moment. Sometimes we learn more from the negative than the positive. Reflection can totally change our opinions, and perspective. Reflection is not just writing. It can be done in so many ways I cannot list them all. If any of you would like to try some other methods let me know. You can also come to the Thayne Center and check out either the America Reads flip camera or Nikon camera, to video short clips on tutoring or photograph the school and tutors. Remember to sign a photo release and get any adults to sign the release, (these are given to you when you check out the equipment). Only video or photograph children from the back. Be creative. You can do this for four hours per month. You can use your own equipment if you can download the photos and videos to our computers, and you cannot use the images for anything else. Lynne

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  37. The only negative comment I have is that I have tried and tried on multiple occasions to get a hold of one school and I just keep getting the run around. It really puts a damper on your spirit of wanting to be a tutor.

    On the positive side though, Lynn and her staff have been great and very positive and keep telling you that it isn't you, the schools may just be a little busy but to keep trying.
    Regan C.

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  38. Hello All Tutors!
    My name is Emily Hall and I am the new Coordinator for Westvale Elementary and we have a definate need for tutors. I am at the school from 9:30 to 1 on Mondays, and 8:30 to 1 Tuesdays through Thursdays. Please call to set up a meeting with me. You may leave a message and I will call you back.

    Thanks,
    Emily Hall
    801-565-7510 xt. 6900

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  39. I have a lot of positive experiences at the school I tutor at currently. It is fun to get to know the kids personally, and the teachers seem appreciative of my help. I love the classes I have been placed in and the school is very accommodating. The one thing I would say that is negative is that the kids fight to be in my groups. (not really a bad thing in my mind, but we are supposed to put one thing down.)

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    1. Yes, the award is not the money, the award really is the smile of a kid and see them improving, and when a teacher tell me Good job! my student really has been improving!!.... that is a great satisfaction of feel that my work worthwhile!!! Mari Davila :)

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  40. One negative experience I had while leading a Literature Circle was that a 12 year old boy refused to put away his pen and kept poking his fellow student with it. I called the boy out of the room and decided to let his home room teacher handle the situation. This led to a positive outcome, because he has been extremely cooperative ever since!

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    1. The most of the time, children express lack of love in this way, they can show behaviors as this kid. When an adult or teacher come and explain them that other person is trying to help, they are able to understand and cooperate with the facts. Good decision, letting a teacher handle the situation. Unfortunately, we the tutors, not all, but the most of us, we don't have the training to address those moments, but we have love enough to find the way on getting help. Maria Davila

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  41. Negative experience: My first day in the afterschool program was a nightmare. The group leader I was assigned to was far too militant with the children, and I could see the depression wash over them like a dark, black cloud. When asked to go with this leader the next day, I refused and provided my reasons. In the end, this group leader was terminated and all was well.

    Positive experiences: Since then, I have had nothing but positive experiences. But the most heartwarming experiences I have had was with the four separate students who told me they wished I was their mom. Being a mother was not an option I have entertained for personal and global reasons, but these kids are wearing me down. I now see a little Matthew or Beth running around in our future :).

    Beth Brown

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  42. Negative experience: The most negative experience I have had at Whittier was when they moved the America Reads program into the teachers lounge. The smell of food and the coke machine are far too much of a distraction for the kids. What kind of message is that coke machine sending to these kids!!!!! Soda single-handedly is causing a Type II Diabetes Mellitus epidemic, and we are propagating the problem. Shame on us.

    Positive experience: Hearing the kids say that they wished I was their father is by far the most awesome thing that has happened to me,and it could be a huge game-changer for my family.

    Matt Brown

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  43. I had a very postive experience from the time I found the ad to do this (What a no-brainer, to be able to tutor kids who need it and get paid the amount I am paid, win-win for everyone! Teachers treat you like you've brought Christmas when they find out they are getting help.)
    The kids are really loving and sweet. My heart breaks when I see where many are at in their level of reading. It's so cute to see their eyes light up when they learn something new.
    The school I work at (David Gourley) has the nicest staff. They have treated me so well.

    My only negative experience is that I wish I had more time to spend in each class, I often leave feeling I left so much undone.
    Also hearing some of these sweet kids talk about negative experiences. Many are starving for love and attention. Love this job.
    Rebecca Stuart

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    1. You right Rebecca, it is a special feel when I come to the class room and they are hugging me and asking to be the first. It is a great experience, I have learned from them also, they are just cute! Maria Davila

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  44. Well it really makes your day when you enter the classroom and all the student greet you with hugs. I love working with all ages well especially David Gourley Elementary. They make my job alot easier and I learn so much from them. Observing them is such a tools I learned to understand them and just love them. I feel blessed by getting to know them. Kindergarten class Mrs Turner I love this little boy name Diego He's one of my favorite kids. As soon as I get there he runs and pull the reading file for me to start and help me with my chair. I love his great spirit and ethusiatic. I love him so much!! What a great opportunity to serve this little one and thank you to America Reads for such a great program.

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  45. I decide to be a tutor because I am mother of 3 kids, I have very good connection whit children, besides, some courses in my career have teach me some tips to improve my communication with them. I love kids, I really enjoy this job and I feel so good when I see the children improving, they show me that they enjoy as me. It is a big satisfaction to see smiling and reading the kids and asking for more time to read. I love to be a reading tutor! Maria Davila,

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