A Passion for Teaching and Helping Others Grow
Jacob proudly showed off the letters he had traced to Allison Saydee, who works with the pre-K group at Grace and Resurrection’s Saturday morning tutoring program. When he started, he couldn’t hold a pencil, so it used to be a frustrating exercise for him.
“He needed to develop his fine-motor skills” said Valerie Reid, the coordinator. “We worked on some exercises with him and showed his parents, so he could practice at home. Now he doesn’t even need to use the fat pencil anymore.”
Ms. Reid and the other tutors are parishioners who volunteer three hours every Saturday morning to work with children from Pre-K to high school. Among them are New York City certified teachers like Andrew Petrez who taught elementary and middle school for 30 years.
They bring significant expertise to the program. After assisting with any homework difficulties, the tutors work with the students on enrichment activities. Mr. Petrez makes sure that each week they record the students’ progress and challenges, so they know what topics to focus on next time.
This is the kind of attention that helped Ada. Her mom brought her to the program in April because the teacher had said her reading level might keep Ada from moving on to second grade. Mr. Petrez and the other tutors gave her the encouragement and individualized attention she needed. In just a few months, Ada improved the necessary reading levels to move up second grade. She felt so accomplished, and her self-confidence improved along with her reading skills.
The volunteers bring the same care and professionalism to the adults in their ESL program. About 30 students are divided into four proficiency levels that meet twice a week. A great deal of time and attention was given to selecting the curricula to be used, as well as other resources to ensure a quality program for the students.
One student, Jackie had tried another ESL program, but she felt more comfortable at Grace and Resurrection. She said what really helped her was that the teachers made her feel as if she mattered.