Here is a story about how two students, a 5th and a 12th grader connected for mutual benefit and whose lives are enriched because of it.
We all know the severe impact of school shutdowns and “distance learning” upon students, from checking out, to boredom, to struggling without direct teacher feedback and classroom interactions. Worst of all is the extended “learning loss” students face with curricular shortcuts and dampened expectations.
So we decided to run summer mini-classes in order to help students catch up on lost learning from the spring, prepare for the compacted curriculum this fall, and stay engaged over the summer. With our 8+ year experience teaching online, we are fully aware of the extents and limits of online learning. For “distance learning to work,” a few things must happen:
- Expectations must be clear
- Sessions must be limited to no more than 4 students (best 2-3)
- Cost must be low
- Resources must be accessible (whiteboards, screenshare, quizzes, etc.)
- Dial-in capability for seamless audio connection
- Students must feel comfortable
What we didn’t know was the extent to which these experiences would become valuable to our students well beyond the content enrichment and ongoing academic engagement.
Today’s story is about our student from Los Angeles, a child of Indonesian immigrants whose parents both worked in essential retail services throughout the pandemic. And both came down with the virus. This brave, fabulous 5th grader, nevertheless, just wanted to stay up on her math, as her parents were either sick or working.
So we matched her with an incoming high school senior who lives across the country in Virginia, a student we had helped with organization and high-level math and science classes and who, we discovered, loves tutoring. And, magically, she also needed service hours for graduation next spring.
Not only has our L.A. student gotten amazing, compassionate math support, not only did it cost her parents nothing (the direct tutoring equivalent of hundreds of dollars), but our high school student has now completed her service requirement by helping this young student and others.
From learning how to manage a calendar and a professional videoconferencing system to self-advocating her needs and developing a mentoring relationship with an older student, our young student has grown beyond her age. And she’s gotten quite good at Algebra along the way!
As for the high school student, she has found that she loves the teaching, especially how it informs her own learning. Teaching both low- and high-level math has built her own competencies and confidence. Best of all, and aside from the completed service hours, she can now join a videoconference with someone she never met and jump straight into a lesson — this is not easy!
Most importantly, both students have discovered how learning and teaching become a mentoring relationship when done right.
So proud of everyone involved here, students, tutor, and parents!
Our goal is to provide the highest quality, practical language arts classes, tutoring and academic support.
We have been providing affordable and effective online learning since 2012. Review and Sign up for courses here:
A+ Club Online Summer Classes and Academic Enrichment
from School4Schools.com LLC, Arlington, VA