student-teachers help advocate literacy through read alliance program
By Kianni Johnson, Senior writer & editor
Teachers of Tomorrow students have been interning by tutoring reading to youngsters around the Queens area with its partnership with Read Alliance.
The Read Alliance paid internship program contacted the Teachers of Tomorrow SLC last year hoping to grant six students, ages 14-17, the opportunity to tutor local elementary students in grades kindergarten through second grade in reading. However, throughout the school year, the internship program later expanded to 20 students and wishes to keep it growing!
According to the Read Alliance website (www.readalliance.org), “The mission of Read Alliance is to improve the educational trajectory of at-risk, early elementary students through one-to-one tutoring in foundational reading skills. Established in 1999, Read Alliance is a not-for-profit organization that improves the chances of academic success of the educationally and economically disadvantaged children we serve by ensuring they possess the reading skills necessary to read grade-level appropriate text and catch up to their classmates.”
The process of the program starts with students identifying if they qualify. The program requires students who are 14-17 with a valid working card. Also, one has to complete the online application and then go through an interview process. Once chosen, Katherine Feliz, program representative, comes to the school for a training session then puts the students on payroll as the program pays $9 an hour . Afterwards, students attend training at the local elementary school’s location then start working.
Teachers of Tomorrow believes this is a great opportunity that tries to prepare students to experience real life teaching. If applying, one will get hands on tutoring outside of school and receive real job experience. ToT Director Ms. Miller believes students will benefit from the experience of working with younger students.
This program has had many students applied and participate. Two senior students of Teachers of Tomorrow, Michelle Banegas and Aleah Cole, enjoyed being in the program and learned a lot.
Michelle Banegas wants to become a teacher and she received learning experience to become a teacher, learned patience, and learned several techniques. “This program has impacted me because it made me want to become a teacher even more. It helped me explain things more such as using techniques like first I say word, then me and the student say it together, then the student by themselves.” For Michelle, having one on one with the students is what she likes most about the program because it's easier. One thing she loves is spending time with the students becoming better readers however one thing that was a struggle is the students staying on task because they can be distracted by their surroundings. “The most important skill for this program is patience. Have patience. I recommend this program for those wanting to learn patience and become teachers. The program is very helpful!”.
Aleah Cole has grown out of her shyness and is able to talk and help people with any difficulties they may have. Different from Michelle, Aleah does not wish to become a future educator. However, the program accommodates skills and supports academics. “One thing I loved is getting to help students with reading and breaking down students complications.. Kids like to see someone higher helping them and seeing helpers that they can learn from. There is nothing that I would change about the program, I like it the way it is. This program is for students who want to help others with their reading.” Aleah believes, in high school, one should create a list of goals and celebrate them until you reach them and always have patience with students!
As a result of this program, tutors learn effective behavior management techniques, data collection, and the importance of consistent attendance, punctuality, and appropriate workplace communications. In the words of Teachers of Tomorrow Director, Ms. Miller, “Gaining real life experience while in High School is essential!