Methma is a Volunteer Representative for Swearer Tutoring and Enrichment in Math and Sciences (STEMS). As a VR, Methma helps plan weekly meetings for the tutors, which are intended to provide Brown tutors with tools to work more effectively, through tutoring skills, knowledge of current education policy, discussions on the role of a tutor in a classroom, or information about the Providence Public School system. She is currently tutoring in a physics class.
The Close Relation of Rabbits and Deer
Nina Schield '17 is one of the coordinators for the Swearer Classroom Program, in which Brown students go into William D’Abate Elementary School to tutor kindergarten through fifth graders in reading.
There are so many times when I am teaching for the Swearer Classroom Program that I stop and think, “what in the world?”
Children will come up with the most bewildering things. One student told me that his dog is an airplane. Not on an airplane, not airplane shaped, not named Airplane. No, an actual airplane. I’m still not sure if he just called an airplane his dog, or if he had no idea what either thing was. Regardless, when I actually listened to him talk about his dog-airplane his face would light up, and I am sure that from the outside it looked like he was telling me the meaning of life, or something equally as amazing. Later that year I had a student tell me that nobody should dress up for Halloween because it is a celebration of Satan. I don’t know how I managed to explain the concept of religious tolerance to a group of first graders, but thankfully no one ended up crying. Just last week I had a student explain in depth how rabbits and deer must be related because their poops are similar. This prompted an entire discussion on how the digestive system functions.
Working with Swearer Classroom Program, I get to spend my time with the most creative, imaginative, and amazing humans: children.
Children can create a fantastic story from a single word. They will believe absolutely everything you say. They will love you for just being there to listen to them. Then, they will give so much back. I have never been more inspired to take on every day with a new perspective than when I spend my hour a week in the classroom.
My work with these kids is one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have ever done. I get to see a whole new world with airplane dogs, while I try to describe the world I live in in a way that makes sense to these kids. I question myself and how much I actually know about the relationship between deer and rabbits and how we adults classify animals. I mean, why don’t we base taxonomy on poop?
As a coordinator for the program this year, I got to recruit this fall for our program. As my elevator pitch solidified, I felt disappointed. I would talk about how we go into bilingual classrooms and English classrooms, and I would emphasize how much the teachers needed us to come in and help the struggling students, so they would have the time to challenge the more advanced ones. As I kept saying all of these wonderful things about the Swearer Classroom Program, I felt like I wasn’t actually talking about the experience of going into a classroom. My words couldn’t capture how it really felt. How could I express not just what we do for the students, but all that they do for us? It was as if I was doing the kids a disservice by referring to how much help they needed.
As I work more and more with the Swearer Classroom Program, I realize that this is not a one sided relationship. As students, we often get caught up in the “Brown bubble.” When we get to go to D’Abate, we give our time and expertise in reading, but we also get the joy that can only come from a fresh perspective.
June 20, 2016
June 13, 2016"I think about opening my mouth to call out goodbye, or to salute her in a traditional sign language farewell. Instead, I stand silently and smile."
Sally Hosokawa is a Community Fellow for Writers’ Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that facilitates creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities. She studies literary translation in the Comparative Literature Department.
May 14, 2016“Club teachers understand us,” she says. “Even though they’re older, they’re not that much older, and so they’re like us and we can identify with them and talk to them about our problems.”
Addy is a volunteer with the Brown Elementary Afterschool Mentoring Program (BEAM), a Swearer Center community partnership that facilitates after-school programing activities and mentorship between Brown volunteers and students at William D’Abate Elementary School in the Olneyville neighborhood.
February 22, 2016
Pia is a junior double-concentrating in Education Studies and Comparative Literature. This is her third year with Writers' Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that offers creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities, and her first year as a Swearer Center Community Fellow.
February 19, 2016I was intrigued by the program, but very intimidated by some of the topics. I’ve never been in the position to talk about gender or sexuality or rape culture.
Tiara came into Brown dead set on studying Neuroscience. After a summer or working with the local Planned Parenthood branch and taking health based classes she realized public health was her real calling. She has been volunteering for the SHAPE (Sexual Health Advocacy through Peer Education) program since sophomore year.
February 16, 2016