Spending time outside of school tutoring my students is nothing new to me. It is something I have always done since my first days teaching. My colleague friends always did it to and we never thought twice about the number of hours we spent doing it. Our classrooms were always open early in the morning and they were filled with kids looking for extra help. We held review sessions during regents week and the kids piled in also. It never occurred to any of us that this was something we should not be doing. It wasn't even until I started at my present school that I learned teachers could actually get paid for staying extra to do this.
Helping my students is a big part of who I am. Maybe its my insecurity, my belief that if I was better at my job, they would be doing better in class. I don't know. I just know it is what I do. Years ago, before we had to worry about consequences of getting too close to students, I used to hold review sessions in my basement. I would take my kid's big blackboard, we sat around the basement floor and worked for hours. My own kids grew up watching my students learn. It is too dangerous to do this now so all my tutoring is confined to school. Over the years, I've worked with them on soccer fields, in gyms and in lunchrooms.
This semester I have no regents classes but a few weeks ago it occurred to me that no tutoring was being offered for the Math B regents. Thank you Mayor Bloomberg for cutting our budget so no funds are available for this. I started getting nervous. Although these kids are not mine now, about 60 of them were mine last year for the first two-thirds of the term. They weren't the strongest math students and I wondered how they would do without extra help. So, what is a nut like me to do? I held a regents review session this morning. Most of the kids are on the senior trip this weekend (a stupid weekend for this since it is right before regents exams and every senior must take at least one exam) and I did announce this at the last minute, but I had a decent turn out. The kids showed up at 10:00 AM (some were there much earlier) full of questions and topics to be clarified. I went over everything they asked and taught them some "legal cheating" (ways to beat the system using the graphing calculator). All in all, it was a great morning. It got my adrenaline going and I feel ready to come home and conquer the world.
I don't do per session. If money was offered, I would have left the tutoring to others. The paltry amount I would receive could not compensate my weekend of lost time. Doing what I did today is what works for me. The reward I got from these kids as they left the room is better than any paycheck I will ever receive. I intend to do the same thing for the kids in my geometry classes who take the regents in June.
Many years ago, when I first started in my present school, a veteran teacher said, "In this school, we don't tutor students." I answered, "This teacher does." That teacher is long gone. This teacher will be gone soon. I'm hoping the new crop of teachers will be more like this than that.