The CUNY Tutor Corps brings current CUNY students who are studying math, computer science, technology and education into NYC public middle and high schools to provide one-on-one and small group instruction and support classroom teachers. Tutors are paid $15 per hour to spend approximately 12 hours per week in math and computer science classrooms. Interested? Roydon Kellman, a student at City College, talks to CUNYMath Blog about his Tutor Corps experience.
- What attracted you to being a tutor with the CUNY Tutor Corps Program?
There are many reasons for which I wanted to join the CUNY Tutor Corps. One reason is that as a former student in a high school where the interest and emphasis on the STEM field was very low, the presence of a college STEM major would have offered a very new perspective. That person would have served as an excellent mentor from whom I would have learned a great deal. In addition, I enjoy teaching the subjects for which I have a passion. Also, since my first semester at City College, I had been actively trying to become a tutor in some form.
- How does what you are learning in school transfer to tutoring? and How has what you learned by tutoring transferred to your schooling?
It actually works as one circle in my opinion. One day, I’ll be tutoring and the next day I’ll be the student learning. In class, because I also teach, I’m not only paying attention to what the professor is teaching but also how he/she is presenting the material and I evaluate them. If I see something that I can pattern, then when I’m tutoring the next day I’ll try to explain things to the students in the same manner. I think that tutoring makes me a lot more interested and have a lot more to say about pedagogy.
- What are some of the challenges and rewards that you have found in your tutoring?
Challenge ~ It can be very difficult to motivate students to put in the effort and try to learn. What’s worse is that now students, even during the school day, are much more interested in their phones than on learning. Reward ~ Even if it’s only for twelve hours a week, it’s a good feeling to know that I am actively contributing to a community bigger than myself, by passing on what I know and even just by being present in the classroom.
- Has your opinion on math changed since you have entered the classroom?
It hasn’t changed. Math is still pretty cool. The only thing is that when it is being taught, we should take a more hands-on and physical approach. We can use algebra tiles and use more visuals rather than just write equations on the board.
- Have the students you tutor influenced you? and if so how?
Yes, they have. Some students are genuinely struggling with math, despite their efforts, but as their tutor I believe and must tell them that if they put in the work, they will succeed. For them, algebra is one of their biggest obstacles. For me, whether it is academic or not, I decide to work through my challenges and face them head on instead of avoiding them. Otherwise, how would I be able to encourage the students if I don’t do the same?
- How have you balanced school and tutoring?
While school is very demanding, my principle is that when I am tutoring I make sure that if a student needs any help, I’ll be focused on that student. Also, since I am in the school tutoring for the entire school day, my host teacher encourages me to have some downtime to study. Also, I feel that if students see my study habits, that can be encouraging to them. So, overall, I find that the two (school and tutoring) complement one another. Google Calendars is also very helpful and writing checklists help when things get a little crazy.
- What is something unexpected you’ve gained from the Tutor Corps experience?
I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as I did during the training. However, I did. Previously, I’ve always maintained a very narrow view on our schools and education system, which was this idea that They’re all against us! But that’s because I had only been a student up until recently. Now, I have a much broader perspective and have much more respect for teachers and educators. Also, I’ve met a lot of bright and passionate people and these are connections that I would like to keep.
- After being part of the Tutor Corps program would you consider a career in teaching?
Yes. I’ve found myself inquiring about NYC Men Teach program on my campus. But I am still on the fence about which level would I teach exactly. Most likely, because of my interests and field, it would be post-secondary education.
To learn more about CUNY Tutor Corps, visit www.cuny.edu/tutorcorps and submit your Fall application by April 16, 2017!