HTM Blog

Connecting learning and community.

The Holyoke Tutor/Mentor program connects volunteers to adult education classes in Holyoke.

Training Take Aways

I started our training cycle with Overview sessions in August, and calendar setting in July. I've been following that calendar with announcements, lesson planning, training sessions and follow up ever since. Some months I do a lot of training, some months, less, but as of 3 weeks from now, I'll be done for the year (until the next calendar setting in July, Overviews in August)

This startles me a little, even as I'm making the "last call!" announcements to everyone else

(A little like the week I spent reminding everyone else they had to do their training, and then forgot that that training I was reminding them about, that was this Friday. I thanked the organized part of my brain, and my systems, and google docs that I could pull off a 3 hour training, with snacks, in approximately no time at all)

Altogether, we've held 17 sessions this year, on five different topics (plus a series at Amherst College) with 35 different tutors participating.



Over the time I've been doing the training, some things have remained constant: pair shares and oral histories in the Overviews, scheduling is hard, I like talking about teaching and learning.



This year, some things have changed: I've moved our resources and evaluations online (out of my own overwhelm with the amount of paper I accumulate, and to make them easier to access in the future). I'm slowly creating remote versions of the trainings for those times when my best attempts at scheduling fail. I added topics to the Overviews this summer, tweaked agendas as I went, and spent much of the year gearing up to train about ESOL, a subject I've never taught myself.



In the process, I've learned:

How xkcd inspired scientists to explain their research in the 1000 most common English words

How to say "banana" in Nepali

"Hypothesis testing", a wonderful phrase for the trial and error process of learning a language.

The curse of knowledge

About Nora Ephron's high school journalism class


As I look back on the year, I hope we've taught:

How amazing our students are

How hard it is to learn English, pass the HiSET, come back to school

It's ok not to have all of the answers

That volunteering is mostly about listening, supporting, encouraging, strategizing, questioning -- not lecturing or even explaining.

Awesome (aka Student of the Year)
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Thursday, 14 November 2019

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