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.
More than a Numbers Game
Katie is a senior double concentrating in Computational Biology and Gender and Sexuality Studies and is a Community Fellow for Algebra in Motion.
“My day wasn’t going well so I stayed in the art room instead of going to lunch,” Michelle said, looking up from the portrait she was drawing to look at me. We were in an Algebra I classroom at Hope High School and I was trying to get her to focus on her worksheet but the hunger seemed to be what was really on her mind.
As the class stood at the door at the end of the school day, Michelle was packing up her art supplies. The teacher asked her how she was doing and she explained that she had skipped lunch. Without hesitation, he went out into the hallway to his locker. In it, there were boxes of snacks and candy bars. He let her take whatever she wanted. Another student walked by and asked if she could take something to eat before track practice, he passed her the box.
In 2012, 80% of Hope High School student qualified for free/reduced lunch. When that isn’t enough, teachers are filling in the gaps. It’s not just about food though. They are buying pencils and rulers for their classrooms, because some of their students can’t afford to have their own. For these teachers, their job is about so much more than lesson planning.
Algebra in Motion’s in-class tutoring program works to support students in math and science classrooms. We work with teachers to give students more one-on-one and small group instruction. Whether it’s working with a student who had missed class and needs to catch up on material, or a student who needs extra time with assignments because they don’t speak English, or reviewing concepts from earlier math classes that didn’t stick the first time around, we work to help the teachers balance the educational needs of their students with the more bureaucratic needs of the district that they deliver their lessons on schedule and stay on pace with the curriculum.
I had originally thought my role as a tutor was to work with students, and only with students. I thought it was my job to advocate for my students because the teacher didn’t understand their needs. I realized that it was so much more complex than that: the teacher I worked with was deeply aware of his students’ needs, but often lacked resources to meet them. He was advocating for them just as strongly as I was, just in a different way. We’re a team, working for the success of our students.
The bravest activists I’ve ever seen weren’t at a rally, they don’t usually hold bullhorns, and I have yet to see them engage in civil disobedience, but I have seen them demanding more resources for their students. When that fails, they fill in what they can. They are providing school supplies, food, and emotional support in addition to their lessons. The teachers I’ve worked with give everything for their students and that’s a team I’m proud to be on.
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