22 January 2015

America Reads 2014-2015 January Blog Post


ATTN: America Reads Tutors

Welcome to Spring Semester 2015. How are you adjusting to your new school and life schedule? How do these changes affect your tutoring obligations at your school and the children you tutor?  Describe the life skills you are using to balance all of these changes?


54 comments:

  1. I have not yet begun my tutoring for this semester, due to lifes challenges, but plan to start next week. It takes balance, desire, and organization to be a student, an America Reads tutor, a student, and a mom, with a full time job.. Because of my hectice life schedule, I am not able to commit to tutoring as much as I would like, but I have set aside two mornings a week to continue working with students at Whittier Elementary. It would be foolish not to take advantage of the great award opportunities with tutoring, and tutoring is fun! Kids are sweet, so making it work!

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    1. You seem really busy! I can't imagine doing all of that at once! I think it's great that you are still making time for those kids (they really need it) even when you've got your plate full. It really does take a desire to make a difference in order to volunteer precious time. Helping kids learn and seeing them grow in their learning is such a great reward-- there's really nothing like it!
      -AMDLP

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    2. I understand your crazy schedule. I have 3 kids, been going to school and used to work full time. I burnt the candle at both ends for too long though and burnt out my adrenals. Been dealing with chronic fatigue since. Just remeber to take a little time for yourself and destress as often as possible. I am extremely grateful for the Amercica Reads program. I enjoy what I do and it isnt really stressful, so it gets me through financially. I wish there was a simular program for after graduation. (Paid employment)
      KL

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    3. Crystaldawn EarlFriday, January 30, 2015

      I also understand the crazy schedule. I have 2 kids under the age of 2 and I also have to balance school, homework time, and tutoring time. It's a lot of work, but going and tutoring somehow makes it seem a little easier. It's like seeing those kids, brings smiles all around. YES, remember to take time for yourself...especially with your crazy schedule! That way you don't get worn out .

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    4. Thank you for choosing to continue to tutor, it is so important to our students to have someone they can depend on in their life. Yes, life gets overwhelming as we struggle to balance everyday life, school and tutoring. Being a Mom is one of most fulfilling roles, I understand your commitment to your family. 2 mornings a week is a big commitment.

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  2. Juggling school, life, and tutoring can be difficult, especially if you're busy and have a lot going on. However, there are many ways to manage all of these things if you make a schedule as well as a commitment to yourself as well as to the students you're working with.

    I will be having a baby in just a few weeks and this past month, I must admit, has been hard on me. I'm not only juggling school and tutoring, but my home-life as well (and late pregnancy starts to kick your butt and you slow down a lot!) and I've definitely noticed that it is getting harder to work with each passing week, but I've managed to push through!

    The way I get through it is that when I walk through those school doors, I leave everything personal behind. If I'm having a particularly hard day, sometimes I even place my hand on the wall so I can figuratively "stick" my personal issues and stressors there before I walk through the doors. It's so important to these kids that you remain happy, positive, and upbeat (which can be hard to do when you're almost ready to have a baby). It works really well for me and may seem kind of silly, but doing something physical to help remind you that this is not the time nor the place to bring in personal issues is extremely helpful.

    Next week will have to be my last week as I cannot imagine juggling a newborn and working at the same time. However, I have given my students a heads up and some time to accept change-- which can be hard for them. I think it's important to make sure that you don't spring things on these kids. They have enough change going on in their lives... Slow transitions seem to work better for them.

    The most important life-skill that I suggest for all tutors is to have a positive, happy attitude no matter what you're going through. It's not fair to bring students down with you if you're having a rough time... They NEED that consistency and positivity in their lives as they learn! Love this program!

    AMDLP

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    1. Crystaldawn EarlFriday, January 30, 2015

      I totally agree with you! I love how you say that you put your hand on the wall to leave your personal issues there before you enter the doors to go tutor. It's true that the kids need the consistent positivity in there lives while learning with us. Because we don't know what their lives could be like at home.

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    2. First of all, congratulations on having a new baby, nothing can replace the joy that you will experience being a Mom. Sometimes it is difficult to leave home at home and get completely involved in our tutoring. Each child deserves to have a dedicated tutor to assist them in their reading skills. I believe that as you fulfill your role as a Mom you will find more joy in your role as a Tutor.

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    3. I enjoy tutoring and have done so since I was in high school. I tutor some children at the Y and then I also tutor my grand daughter who usually has 11 pages of homework each day. I know when she comes to my home she gets it all done in less than 1 hour. If she stays at her home it takes around 4 hours to complete. She has twin sisters who are three and they like their sister and like to bother her so much. She is easily distracted and I think she has ADD but her parents do not think so. When she comes here the TV is off and there is no noise for her to compete with. So that is why she can get her homework done in less than 1 hour.. I have asked her parents to let her come here once a week and we could get her homework done in an hour or less.
      I think it is important to compliment them on how they are doing and to let them know they are doing great and making great accomplishments.

      Boo

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  3. Crystaldawn EarlFriday, January 23, 2015

    Coming back to school, and work life is exciting, but also very busy (and kind of stressful). I love being back, but there is a lot to juggle and work around when you have two kids to take to daycare and/or babysitters so that I can go to school or work. That's also been interesting, is finding a babysitter now that I am going back...it is harder than it was when I was in school and doing tutoring two years ago.

    Despite all of this, I do love being back in school and work, it is nice to be back in classes, especially classes that involve my major. And I love being back at Nibley Park Elementary. Though tutoring can be a challenge at times, it also a lesson for me, and it is rewarding. I might be there to help tutor, but I feel at times, that the kids I tutor are teaching me...more than I am teaching them. They are helping me to see how I can help them. And it is so much fun...and I love the feeling when I am at Nibley, and one of my kids see me, they wave and say hi. And when I am not there, they ask when I will be back, and that makes me feel so good inside.

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    1. Welcome back! I can completely understand the babysitter issues, and soon enough you will get right back into the swing of things of balancing school, work, and family.

      H.P.

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    2. I remember when i had to worry about babysitters for every little outing. I applaud your dedication to working through that! I also love the things that i learn indirectly in my tutoring work. It has been very useful in improving my interactions with people in general. It has also helped me to know better how to help my own kids with education and work with their teachers in a productive way. I wish you well this year!

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    3. That's wonderful! I was not able to go back to school because it was hard for me to raise my kids and juggle everything else. That's very impressive that you are tackling all of that at once. Very inspiring.

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  4. I love how you said that this is also a lesson for you. We as tutors are always learning something new, and I believe it's important to keep in mind that these kids are teaching us so many valuable life lessons and skills each time we interact with them!
    I'm glad you're making the time, though it's hard, to tutor. It's such a precious gift to each kid, as well as for you! Great job!

    -AMDLP

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    1. As we tutor, we learn more than any other person or child. It also gives me a true sense of service. I enjoy seeing the children with big grins and smiles on their faces especially when they are told they did good work. I do this to see the reaction from the child. There is no better reaction to see than that of happiness, peace and joy of doing good and being praised from someone else.

      BOO

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  6. This semester I am very busy! With 18 credits, I start my day off at 8:30 A.M and have class until 7:00 p.m. This includes a three hour basketball practice inbetween in the afternoon which helps! On the other hand I got my schedule just right so I do not have class on Mondays and Fridays. This gives me the oppurtunity to work at the YMCA on these days. I had an even busier first semester this year so it was even harder trying to tutor. But I love being there! The kids are so much fun and can really lighten up my day. I love seeing how happy they are and it makes my day when I walk in the door and the kids jump up and down excited to see me!! Being a tutor also gives me the experience I will need as I prepare to become a teacher in the future. Being in America Reads has been a great experience!

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    1. Wow! You are taking on quite a large load! I think it's absolutely wonderful that you are making time to tutor! It's very selfless and great of you, and inspiring to see someone working so hard yet STILL giving just in order to make a child smile. You're seriously awesome.

      -AMDLP

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    2. I haven't volunteered at the YMCA yet, but I can relate to how fufilling being a tutor is. I love how much my kids at Nibley enjoy seeing me and going to tutoring. Even a challenged learner that I was tutoring for a temp situation still waves and smiles when he sees me. It definatly makes the week go by better. When you love what you do it makes a world of difference.
      KL

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    3. I agree with the previous comments, you have got quite a busy schedule! But it sounds like you have already made changes to ensure your success. I often look at the athletes at the college and wonder how they play sports plus take on a full time credit load. It's like having another job PLUS you are a tutor. But you are doing good things so I hope at the end of the day you feel successful and happy. Good luck this semester!

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  7. Adjusting to the new semester has been a challenge and I haven't quite got it all down yet, but I'm working on it. Last semester was very flexible and good so this semester I decided to add a lot to my workload. It's been good and challenging at the same time. My organization skills have had to become obsessively compulsive to stay on top of it. But I'd have to say that my days tutoring are some of my favorite because I get a break from the stress and just get to enjoy helping other people learn. i'm also able to relate to the kids better this semester by realizing that learning isn't always easy and it takes time. I also feel more confident tutoring because I already know the kids and how they learn. All in all I'm very glad to be back tutoring as it is a very positive aspect on my life and theirs.
    B.F.

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    1. Your post sounds all too familiar! It doesn't matter how many semesters you attend, each one is different and presents itself with its own unique challenges. I hope that it settles down soon and you get into a good routine. I am hoping for the same :)

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    2. You sound like you've found some sort of balance, however tenuous it may be. Best of luck in schooling and tutoring. :)

      AS

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  8. This semester is the hardest semester for me yet. I will be graduating in May if I can pass my math class and I have so much going on, I am a tutor at AR plus I also work as a mentor through SLCC life and leadership, taking 5 classes, homework, I also meet with my math tutor two times a week, meetings for the leadership role plus my obligations as a mama. Graduating also entails preparing to transfer to a University which is harder than I ever imagined. I haven't quite figured out how to balance it out right now. I am just playing it by ear. I start my day at 7:30 every morning except Fridays my class begins at 7:00 am and my day goes until 5. Then I come home to kids and house and chores. I don't sleep much anymore and I am really starting to feel my age, haha! I have to say that tutoring keeps me grounded though. I am going to school to become and elementary school teacher and sometimes being in school you get caught up in the logistics of teaching but forget why we wanted to do it in the first place - the kids. Tutoring and being there at the school hands on reminds me of why I want to do this and though it's EXTREMELY hard at times the end result will be well worth it. I've had to reduce the time I spend at the school tutoring which makes me sad but I have to do whatever I can to make sure I attend to everything, even if the time is shorter than I would like.

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    1. Wow, you do have a hectic schedule. I hope that all goes well with your math class and you get to graduate as planned. When life gets crazy it is easy to lose sight of why we are pursuing our education. I think its great that you can keep a positive outlook and keep moving forward. I think will be a great teacher, especially is you remember that it is all about the difference we make in the lives of the children that we teach.
      KL

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    2. I applaud how hard you are working to achieve scholarly success. Your schooling takes precedence, which is wise.

      AS

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    3. You amazing, and the students at Nibley love you! I agree with the comment above and I applaud you for all of your hard work as well.

      H.P.

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    4. I'm really amazed that you can handle that much of a work load. I'd have to say that reading your post just encourages me to do better myself. I have had to cut back on tutoring as well which is too bad because it's something I truly enjoy. Good luck with everything :)

      B.F.

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  9. Fortunately, my school and life schedule is pretty similar to last semester, so no adjustment needed. It’s nice to keep the consistency. The only changes that I have had to my schedule and the students that I tutor is related to my student’s progress. I lost one student because he recently tested grade level on reading which is a bitter sweet experience. In the 5 months that I have worked with him he has progressed 8 reading levels. I was excited to hear of his progress, but we are both sad that I won’t be working with him anymore. Another one of his classmates will fill his time slot. There are so many kids that need our help, I wish there was more of us.

    Today, Sherrie received another list of kids that need help in the third grade and asked me if I could work with one of them twice a week also. Of course, I said YES. I love tutoring and am even more motivated in what I do after seeing my students’ progress. I wish there was an employment program that allowed us to continue the America Reads program even after we graduate. I really love what I do and will miss it dearly when this semester is over.

    Time management is the most effective tool in working and going to school. I also have kids at home, so it’s important to use my time wisely. Prioritizing is also something of necessity when juggling a lot of responsibilities. I would say these are the two biggest life skills that I use right now. Another thing that helps me juggle between all of the students that I tutor is being organized. I keep record of everything covered in every tutoring session, so I can see what is working well and what progress is being made. There are some activities that I use for certain kids that aren't as effective for others. It’s nice to be able to look back to the week before and see what we covered to make sure that I’m not being too repetitive or boring.
    KL

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    1. Time management is key to success when you have to juggle school along with everything else. Keep up the fine work.

      AS

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    2. I agree with you time management is very important! At times that is one thing that I really struggle with, especially when it comes to homework.

      H.P.

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    3. I'm so impressed that the kid you were tutoring progressed 8 reading levels, it just shows how much of a difference you can make. I might have to take up your practice of recording everything, I think that would help me a lot. Nice job with everything.
      B.F.

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  10. I returned to Nibley a few weeks ago and have returned to my routine. It is not a jarring change, since I maintained my schedule from last semester. I also have the same students from last semester. I am using skills that tutoring has helped develop, mainly the ability to keep a diligent schedule and manage my time wisely. It isn't easy to juggle school, work, social time, and tutoring, but I manage because of the skills I have learned in college and through tutoring with the Thayne Center.

    AS

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    1. Crystaldawn EarlFriday, January 30, 2015

      I agree with you on the skills that tutoring has helped developed. I feel the same way. Especially, for me, coming back after not doing the program for a year. Its amazing how no matter the crazy (or not crazy) schedule...somehow it all works out together and all the tasks in our schedule can be accomplished.

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    2. I can relate to juggling many things! I find that when i want to make time for something, like help kids, it all seems to work. It also helps that it is something that I look forward to and feel is needed. I think a busy schedule helps me be more productive, because i have to be more intentional about where i spend my time. Glad to hear you are doing well in the program.

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    3. I'd have to agree that it's nice to have the same kids as last semester since you have your routine and relationship with them established. But it's definitely not easy to try to do school work and tutoring so I feel you there. Good luck with everything :)
      B.F.

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  11. I am still tutoring at Nibley and loving it! This semester has been a little bit of an adjustment scheduling wise. I am only taking one class on campus and my other class is online, so I am hoping to be able to do some more tutoring after my campus class and then still on Wednesdays for sure. I am glad to still have all but one of my same students that I have been working with the previous semester, and glad to have two students that I have continued to work with since last year. It is awesome to see all of their progression and to know that I am actually making a difference and that they are really putting in the work. In going to Nibley, tutoring the kids, and interaction with students and staff is what keeps me balanced and allows me to be able to balance my life. I say this because with how stressful my life can be, being apart of America Reads and tutoring these children allow me an escape and put certain life things in perspective.

    H.P,

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    1. Sounds like you are figuring out your schedule changes well. I agree that tutoring is a positive diversion from my regular schedule and stresses. I suppose i would still get my work study job done by having a campus job, but i dont think it would be as meaningful to me. thanks for your viewpoint.

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  12. This semester i am going to school Tuesdays and Thursdays all day long and work with a community organization on Tuesday nights. I do my work study by tutoring at Whittier Elementary on Mondays and Wednesdays from 830 to 250. I am also a wife and mother of 4 kids from elementary to junior high. The biggest change in my schedule has been that my husband has also started attending college on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have to be much more selective about coordinating our schedules and doing extra things.
    So far this has not affected my tutoring with Whittier because I tutor on Monday and Wednesdays exclusively and then I am able to go home and do homework or things for my family. The fact that I'm able to still do my tutoring at Whittier this semester has been a great asset for both me and students because we are able to pick up where we left off last semester.I also don't have to learn a new school and how they do things so I'm able to just jump right into tutoring from where I was last semester. I did notice that several people thought that I was not coming back from last semester, because my hour limit was reached before the break.
    the things that have allowed me to be able to juggle my schedule and to handle the demands of tutoring at Whittier has been some of my life experiences previous to this. These things that have helped are my time being an office manager, a teacher's aide, a Cub Scout leader, an entreprenuer, homeschooling and being a mom. These things have given me practice on how to plan, organize, prioritize and take 1 day at a time. I have learned life can get hectic and stressful, but at the same time fun and exciting. I just have to take life as a comes!
    CLS

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  13. So far Spring Semester 2015 has been a little bit hectic and exciting to start a new semester at school. I am trying very hard to find ways balance my school and life schedule. My husband got me a laptop for christmas so I am able to take my school work everywhere. My tutoring obligations at my school and the children I have been tutoring have not been effected. It has been challenging, yet rewarding, all at the same time. The life skills I am using to balance all of these changes are that I have made a very detailed weekly schedule for myself. I pre-cook dinners so when I get home I do not have to worry about making dinner. I spend most of my weekend getting my assignments done ahead of the due dates. I am still trying to find new skills to balance all my changes.

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    1. Isn't it awesome how we are able to tutor and also do homework? That makes life a little easier! Your husband is so nice for buying you a much needed gift! I definitely agree with this being a bit challenging, yet rewarding all at the same time. I will have to use your life skills, because they are much needed right now. Pre-cooking food is such a great idea!Thank you for sharing that. I hope your semester is going well :)

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  14. So this semester I am at Nibley Park 3 days a week and at my other job 3 other days so really Friday is my only free day. I am only taking 2 classes though and they don’t seem to be too terrible. The only one I’m kind of worried about is Statistics. I had my first test today and I think I did okay. I’m hardly home some days and I do sometimes miss the home cooked meals and playing with the little ones at home. I have a little brother and a nephew that live with me and my sister will sometimes drop off her 1 year old boy and I don’t get to see them as much. When I do though they are such a joy to be around, they have that child innocence that we all lost. I know, I know it sounds corny but it is amazing to be around that. unlike previous semesters this semester so far hasn’t been too stressful for me (it has only started though so let’s not jinx it) and I believe it is because I am trying to be more like these little ones. If they fall they get right back up and continue on about their task as if nothing had happened. They easily forget if someone hurt their feelings, they don’t hold grudges. I’ve adopted a new idea (new for me) that I can’t let external factors affect me. There is so much that is out of my control and I cannot let those things bother me. I have to remember that everything is transitory. Good experiences I cherish and I enjoy the moment because I know it will be gone soon and it’ll be a great memory. Bad experiences I learn from and let go of. Soon it will be gone. At Nibley park I tried to keep my schedule the same as to not affect the kids. Life happens though and I did have to let one of my students know I wouldn’t be able to tutor her on Thursdays and I felt awful about it but that just meant that the one day we do get to hang out we have a lot of fun together.

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  15. Life has definitely been an adjustment! I am feeling a little overwhelmed with a recent move, which requires more driving time and 6 classes this semester. I am devoted to continue tutoring at Nibley Park for 8 hours each week and enjoy working with the 9 students I am assigned to. The life skills I am using to balance my life right now include: Just keep breathing. Positive affirmations of encouragement to myself, and finding joy in working with children. Both in tutoring and as I have changed my major from Mortuary Science to Early Childhood Education. Yes, I have gone from working with the dead to working with the very lively!! 4 days a week are spent with children, they are keeping me going as I enjoy what I have chosen to do at this time in my life.

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    1. Wow you're awesome! 6 classes this semester? I understand why you would be overwhelmed, but that is so exciting to read that you are willing to be devoted and continue to tutor. This honestly shows why people are amazing! I give you props and I really hope you're doing an awesome job with your classes. I also agree with your last sentence. "I enjoy what I have chosen to do at this time in my life." I 100% agree!! :)

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  16. School is challenging as I expected it would be after taking a few years off. I am finally feeling like I can start to breathe! My big challenge now is making time for everything I need/want to get done is the short days I have, if I were a Super-Jodi I'd show down time. Being rested is a challenge when tutoring, I want to have even more energy to give the kids, and make learning fun for them. I am happy to be taking a College Essentials class that is helping me learn to prioritize and organize my time, its been a real help.

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  17. This is the first time I have changed semesters since I started with America Reads. I purposely kept the Friday 10 am to noon slot open and scheduled Tuesday and Thursday off. As I progress further toward my degree such flexibility may get more difficult but for now it’s working for me. Conflicts in my obligations toward my America Reads children and schoolwork should be at a minimum. I also have the advantage of having grandchildren the same age as some of the kids I’m tutoring. I think this gives me an extra level of patience and compassion. I can imagine any of the kids being my grandkids. You wouldn’t think that the skills I’m learning as a business major would be extremely useful to these children but they are. I have learned to organize my thoughts and communicate a lot of information in a few words or sentences. Recently the YMCA organized a club called Futurama where the children brainstorm solutions to the world’s problems. The group I was working with was struggling so I made a suggestion to them. It was just the right thing to say. My guys suddenly started using their imaginations and their suggestions came fast enough to justify the name brain storm. It was a wonderful thing to see.

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  18. I work at The YMCA. I work with Jamie. We have at least 14-15 hours to give each week. She assigns us where we will go and the time we will be there also. they have many schools they work with as well as satellite schools. She decided to keep us at the YH for this semester. We do work with children and We are putting together a reading program for 1-6th graders. We have put together a test for each grade. Each child will read three time am excerpt from the book and be tested on how many words they got wrong and how many words they got right. They have to meet the core standard which is 95-100 accuracy for their grade level. We have also been cataloging the book they have there and putting the grade level in the back of the book with a black marker. We also help the children with their reading or homework as they need it.

    Boo

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  19. This semester I have classes spread out through the week. When I was trying creating my schedule for the semester I tried to keep the days I've been tutoring from last semester as available as possible. I'm still tutoring at Nibley Park. There were some changes with the times I'm in the elementary, but I'm still tutoring the same children from semester at least once a week, and I also got new students too. It's kind of difficult keeping up to pace with traveling from my class to the elementary school, but as long as I leave the school in time, it'll wont be a problem. Also I have a lot of off campus assignments this semester which I need to try and make time for.
    Returning back to the elementary is always exciting, some student would make improvement over the time that we are on break. Tutoring these kids are sometime the best part of my day. With each kids being different, there are some who I need to make a different approach to tutoring them, they challenge my mind as much as I am challenging theirs. Being able to talk with other tutors and how they tutor and give me inspiration on what to do, and sometime you just need to ask their teacher on what method they use too.

    -MC

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    1. Tutoring students can also be the best part of my day. I'm so happy when I can see the sight changes that they are making from week to week. Sometimes it's just known new vocabulary. However, it's great to know that we're having a positive impact on student's lives.

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  20. I am adjusting with my new schools perfectly fine. I must admit, during training and having one to one meetings with Lynn. I was a little nervous. I felt like there was so much to remember and learn, also having the responsibility to help a child progress was something nerve racking. (thoughts before actually tutoring; what if the students don't like me or what if I actually don't help them?) I am also part of Student Government in my school and I have to attend certain events which sometimes get in the way of tutoring. I am balancing this by only attending events where I am actually needed. I want to be able to spend as much time as I can with my students. I let my board members know that I prefer helping in the afternoons whenever I am off work. This helps a lot and I'm glad to be working with such an amazing coordinator like Sherrie. This job has honestly been the most flexible, and for that I'll always be grateful. :)

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    1. Same!!!! Don't you just love the flexibility of this? It is so nice, and less stressful. I am also a part of student government as well. :) I totally understand what you're talking about! Sherrie is just amazing, and all the coordinators at YMCA. They have helped out a lot.

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  21. It’s been great adjusting to my new school schedule. It was a lot harder with my old job, because I had to work a lot more, and it wasn’t as flexible for me. Now that I am tutoring, it’s way convenient for me. I can focus on my homework and student government without having to worry about my job. I wouldn’t be as tired, so that definitely is a positive aspect for the children. Listing your priorities from most important to least important helps. This job has been really flexible compared all the other jobs I’ve had. I am able to focus on my studies now, and am grateful!
    -SY

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    1. I also like the flexibility of our jobs. I work at Nibley park and Sherrie is so wonderful with working around our busy schedules. It's has and is amazing working with her, the other tutors, and especially the students.

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  22. Adjusting to my new schedule was/is very hard for me. I'm not a fan of commuting and I'm currently living in Utah County. However, once I get into my day, everything is fine. I hope to move to Salt Lake County soon so that I will not have to deal with the driving. My schedule is also very full this semester. I have many tasks and responsibilities to meet each day. However, I find that this is good for me. Keeps me busy! I'm excited that I will be finishing SLCC this semester. That means that I will have no school the summer semester!

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