Question: “My current student is in 7th grade. I had previously worked with mostly Kindergarten and 1st graders and obviously knew the answers to their work, but 7th grade assignments are starting to get challenging! If I don’t know how to do something, how should I handle it in that moment? More importantly, how can I prepare better for future sessions so I’m not in that position again?”
This has happened to me at all levels, middle through high school. Ian Chan, the Digital Learning Coordinator with School on Wheels, suggested that I first ask the student what they do know. I then tell the student we’re going to learn together by researching the problem on-line. The sites I use the most are SOW Volunteer Resources and Khan Academy. I also volunteer at a group home and have found that one of the other girls can sometimes help answer the question. I love it when this happens because both girls are learning.
– Cathie Alter
Most teachers also give out directions in a handout or write it on the board. Some students do not take the initiative in copying it down. The study habits of shelter kids is usually deficient. Urge them to always write down board instructions and always have the phone number or two of a class buddy. They probably have someone to call as they are all into social media.Make certain they know that the responsibility is on them and NOT the teacher’s fault. No responsible teacher is going to give out an assignment unless they have done the assignment before without clear instructions. Kids are big on “it’s not my fault”, but we want to encourage them to take responsibility for their learning. Even if they don’t have a cell phone, though a lot of them do by the 7th grade, there is always a pay phone. OMG!! A pay phone!!
– Pat Bayha
About the tutors:
Cathie Alter has been a School on Wheels tutor for one year. She is a former law firm Administrator and CPA.
Pat Bayha has been tutoring with School on Wheels for over a year, and also tutors at Tuba City Boarding School on the Navajo Reservation. She is a former teacher with the Montebello Unified School District and has many years of experience teaching in inner city high schools, including advanced placement students and bilingual learners.
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