Sunday, October 25, 2009


No matter what anyone says, there is no viable tutoring at Packemin HS. The school is just too big and the day is too long. The kids need the extra help so we often rely on peer tutoring.

I asked my calculus classes if they were free period nine and, if so, would they be willing to spend a day or two a week helping out in that class. I explained that the students were really weak and showed the class they type of problems we were working on. One boy said "boy,are they stupid." I jumped right in and corrected his language. I explained that just because kids were having trouble now does not mean they are stupid. I told him what he said was mean and uncalled for. I wanted my class to know that I didn't want anyone who felt like that to volunteer. Most of the kids were appalled by his words and the list I passed around looking for volunteers quickly filled up.

The most common question anyone asked me was "Do we have to tutor?" Of course, I said, "No, this is totally voluntary. Even if you sign up, and something comes up and you cannot make it, that is fine. You are doing me and my class a huge favor but never forget, you come first." The kids were shocked. The science department requires AP kids to tutor. The English teacher they had the previous year required them to tutor as well. I remember a geometry student, in desperate need of tutoring, could not meet with me because of her obligation to tutor someone for the English regents. I again emphasized that they were students first and their needs would always come first. I promised, as a reward, I would write them really great college recommendations and I would never be too busy to help them, even if it meant coming in at 6 in the morning or staying as late as necessary when my day ended.

Some kids had class the period I needed volunteers and wanted to know what other periods they could tutor. I just marked my geometry kids second exam. I am definitely going to pair some of these kids up with the calculus students.

Wow, I just came up with another goal for myself. But, I am sure it is one I would have missed giving to my AP.


ChiTown Girl said...

You, my dear, are BRILLIANT!

Ricochet said...

Goal: to use the resources available to me to increase the math knowledge of my students, to help them see the importance of the mathematics, and to reinforce prior knowledge in my students.

Surely that works. Now edit it and make it Purrfect!! ;)

Ordered the GACE study guide for one of the tests.

mathman42 said...

We were involved in the MSP program thru Hunter for several years where tutors were trained and monitored. You have to give them guidance as well as guidelines and rules of the road, both from the Math point of view as well as their social interactions with those they are tutoring. Otherwise mucho problemas may develop.

It works very well if the tutors are dedicated.

PS Why not add points to the tutors grades if they work out and are reliable.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I don't believe in extra points for tutors. I'll reward them with other things. Training would be nice, but it is not available. The kids seem to be doing fine without training and Principal was impressed when he saw how it worked.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I know that when I was in HS and was taking an AP Chem class, I had to teach a brief lesson to the younger kids taking regular Bio. It was great...and fun to be standing in the front of class.

Anonymous said...

I should've mentioned that the lesson I taught to the Bio class was a general Chem lesson.

Unknown said...

What a great article. I think peer to peer tutoring is great. Tutoring is a great way of learning also.

Luke Redding