Elementary Education Candidates Make a Lasting Impact through Tutoring
Drew Polly, PDS Co-Director, UNC Charlotte, Drew.Polly@uncc.edu
Ambrosia Wilson, Community in Schools Coordinator, Reid Park Elementary, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeking a need to provide further academic support to elementary school students, Mrs. Ambrosia Wilson, the Community in Schools Coordinator at Reid Park Elementary School in Charlotte, NC, reached out to UNC Charlotte faculty looking for partnerships. At the same time, Drew Polly, a faculty member in the Elementary Education program at UNC Charlotte was looking for ways to create more meaningful and intentional clinical experiences for sophomore and juniors in his technology integration course.
In the fall, 2014 and spring, 2015 semesters, 51 sophomores and juniors at UNC Charlotte spent over 700 hours tutoring students in Grades 3-8 at Reid Park Academy, which is a school in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District.
During the fall, 2014, Mrs. Wilson organized an iTutoring program that met for 2 hours after school each Thursday. Twenty-eight sophomores/juniors in the technology integration class tutored students weekly in literacy or mathematics, provided help with students’ homework, and also worked with them on education iPad applications (apps).
This tutoring partnership evolved in the spring, 2015 semester based on a need for teacher candidates to spend more intensive time in classrooms with students during the school day. In Spring, 2015, 23 candidates worked with Reid Park students in Grades 3-5 over 10 weeks. Each tutoring session lasted 45 minutes to an hour and focused again on literacy and mathematics. In most cases, UNC Charlotte candidates read books, helped students with various activity sheets, and supported students in other academic areas.
This model varied from the typical teacher education clinical model, in that UNC Charlotte candidates in the tutoring program spent intensive time multiple times during the semester working with the same student instead of observing and teaching an occasional lesson or two.
UNC Charlotte candidates, who were just beginning to take elementary education courses, commented about the benefit of getting to know students, work with the same students consistently throughout the semester, and try some of the teaching strategies that they were learning in their course work. Teachers reported that the tutoring helped to provide additional academic support to students and that the students looked forward to their weekly tutoring time.