A DAY IN THE LIFE OF KATHRYN BLAKE, GREAT OAKS HIGH SCHOOL ELA TUTOR

KB DIL

6:00 alarm goes off…..

6:15…..I roll out of bed and get ready for my day!

6:45 After finishing off my morning cup of coffee, my roommate and I head out the door of our apartment at Teacher’s Village in downtown Newark and begin our walk to Great Oaks Charter High.

7:00 After I arrive at the school, I head up to the staff room, drop off my things, and collect all of my tutorial materials that I will need for the day.

7:15 Our morning meeting commences! Our tutor corps director brings all of the tutors together each morning to go over important announcements and other pertinent information we will need for the day. Sometimes, we’ll meet with our tutor coach (a previous tutor corps fellow) about upcoming deliverables.

7:20 – 8:00 After morning meeting, I head over to the annex. The annex is a large building where out students eat breakfast and lunch. As they come to school, they swipe in with their ID card to mark their attendance, hand in all of their homework, and then sit down to eat their breakfast. My morning duty in the annex is pretty simple – I’m a greeter. I make sure all of the students are welcomed into the building and catch up with students who I haven’t talked to or seen for a while. I also make sure everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing. At around 8:00, I head up to my first tutorial room, review the lesson, and make sure I’m ready to go.

8:07 – 9:03 My first 9th grade tutorial! I have three great girls and although they can be a bit sleepy in the morning, it doesn’t take long to get them going. Right now, we’re working on creative and narrative writing. They are starting to get the hang of writing their own stories from different perspectives. We’re having fun brainstorming and sharing our ideas together.

9:06 – 10:02 This is my second group of ninth graders. This group is in replacement ELA. Although they need extra support, they are eager participants – sometimes I can’t get them to stop talking. Currently, we are finishing up the book Holes, which was one of my favorites growing up. Depending on the day, we usually read and annotate a chapter from the book, go over vocabulary, and answer comprehension questions together.

10:05 – 11:01 My first 10th grade tutorial! I have two 10th grade boys who always do great work in tutorial. Although one of them has struggled throughout the year in ELA, he is finally improving his grade. He has put in a lot of effort this quarter by completing all of his homework and attending our Saturday Academy program. It is so exciting and rewarding to see significant improvement in your students, and to know that you pushed and helped them achieve in school.

11:04 – 12:00 Another 9th grade tutorial! I complete my morning, with three rambunctious boys who are eagerly anticipating their lunch break. I never quite know what to expect with them – sometimes they are on point and diligent, other times they are lost in space, and sometimes they bicker back and forth. But if I know one thing, it’s that they are bound to crack me up. I really enjoy working with them (even when they try to tell me I’m wrong about something).

12:00 – 12:30 Part of my role as the 9th grade English TA, is to make sure that all of the homework is logged and that students who did not complete their homework are held accountable. At this time, I head downstairs to my mailbox and collect any late homework. I log this in our homework tracker as completed. I then check the absentee list to see which students are in school, but did not turn in their homework. Any student that did not do their homework must stay after school for an hour.

12:30 – 12:50 Break time! My morning is pretty jam-packed. I usually take this time to eat lunch in the staff room and take a little breather.

12:56 – 1:52 I don’t tutor this period, but twice a week I work with a student one on one for “blended learning” as part of his extra support team. We read news articles together, write stories, or work on math problems.

1:55 – 2:51 I’m off this period. I usually take the time to complete any grading I need to do for 9th grade English, input grades, or work on my tutorial plans.

2:54 – 3:50 My last tutorial of the day is with a very interesting student! I work one on one with a 10th grade in Replacement ELA. He is a young man who doesn’t say much, so I find myself trying to come up with creative ways to complete our ELA packet together. We usually have a fun time and it’s a great way to end my day.

3:50 – 5:00 At the end of the day, tutors assist with dismissal duty. On Mondays and Tuesday, we also stay after school for PM Academy, an academic intervention program to help students with their homework. During soccer season, after PM Academy, I would stay and coach the girls’ soccer team until 6. But on a normal day, I head back to my apartment around 5:00.

5:30 – 6:30 At home, I have a snack and complete anything else that’s left for me to do. I write my daily tutor survey, which includes short write-ups about our most and least effective tutorials. The survey also gives us a chance to flag any issues or concerns we may have. Once I finish my survey, I might grade some work or call home to parents. Once I’m done with that, I eat dinner and unwind. Sometimes, I hang out with other tutor corps members. It’s been nice to have a support team of people who understand what you do, face similar challenges, and realize the importance of what we do each day.

Kathryn Blake graduated from Kenyon College as an international relations major and religious minor. After her year of service, she plans on doing non- profit work in education.

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