A Day in the Life of Joanna DeJesus, a Great Oaks Legacy Downtown Middle School tutor


Ms. DeJesus helping 7th grade student with homework after school.

6:00AM – My alarm rings. Well actually it rings about 4 times before that, but I normally don’t get out of bed until 6. I usually head straight into the bathroom to begin my morning routine. After showering and getting dressed while listening to music, I eat breakfast and prepare my lunch, which is either leftovers from dinner or a cold-cut sandwich.  

6:55 AM – I head out. I work at the Downtown Middle School, so my apartment is right around the corner.

7:00 AM – I like to be at work early. On Monday, Thursdays, and Wednesdays, I use this time to get Dean of Students (DOS) work done since that is my secondary role (Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Students). Some of my task include running the character grades and selecting a quote of the day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have meetings for Character Education planning and DOS Support, respectively. I am learning about the planning for the Character Education class from my amazing coach Ms. Gutekanst and the Dean of Students, Mr. O.

I also use this time to quickly grab the student tutorial work packets that I need for the day, so I don’t have to return to the tutor work room.

7:35AM – The tutors gather for our morning meeting. Our Corp manager gives us any updates and makes announcements for the day.

7:45AM – The excitement begins. At this time I normally head down to the 1st floor for my arrival duty. I help maintain the line as students wait to shake Mr. Podhurst’s (Director of Downtown Middle School) or Mr. O’s hand. Sometimes I support the Assistant Dean, Mr. Cuffee, with making sure students are in appropriate uniform. I love the morning because it’s a good time to check in with the students, see how their evenings were and hopefully help them start the day off on the right foot.

8:00AM – I head upstairs and get my table set up for tutorial. I try to get there first so that my students know to come sit and get started before they get the chance to wander around.

8:15AM – Tutorial begins. 8th grade ELA (English/Language Arts) is the first tutorial of the day. My 8th graders like to try to find ways to get out of doing tutorial packets. They try everything from engaging me in random conversation to making all sorts of deals. They’ve been here longer than I have, so they think they have the upper hand. In order to get them to focus, I offer incentives. For example, for every section they complete in a packet, I allow them to speak about other subjects for perhaps 5 minutes. Often we race or play jeopardy using the packet for a prize (snacks, etc.). At the end of every tutorial, I am impressed. Often times the student that struggled the most will perform extremely well on the Exit Ticket.  

9:15AM – Second period is my “free” period. I dedicate this period to my secondary role. This is my DOS office hour. I love being in the DOS office. I get the chance to meet and interact with students for various reasons. I have and continue to learn a lot about students and about the disciplinary process at DMS. I also use this time to sort and enter late bin homework on Dean’s List, a website where teachers/tutors have access to student profiles (grades, behavior, homework, etc.). I have come to realize that I know more student’s first and last names than I do faces.

10:15AM – 7th grade ELA tutorial begins. My 7th graders are… exciting. They definitely wake me up and keep me on my toes. I have four 7th graders, two very energetic boys full of personality and two sassy girls. I am excited to work with them because their potential for growth is so high. I look forward to seeing them accomplish the goals that they continue to set for themselves on a day to day basis.

11:15AM – Lunch time! On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the other Administrative Assistant to the DOS and I set up the school store. This is always fun because the students have to use their positive points earned (behavior points for exemplifying respect, integrity, self-discipline and/or excellence) for in order to “purchase” items from the school store. They try to bargain and we have the chance to teach them about saving for the bigger prizes and working to earn more positives. The rest of the week I use lunch time to get some planning in… and oh yea… eat.

11:48AM- And so begins what I like to the call “the 3 hour tutorial marathon”. 6th grade Math is first. My 6th graders are competitive. Two boys and two girls. Once we get through the Do Now, these four often grasp the material well enough to compete. I normally have them race, sometimes against me, to see who can complete a set of problems the quickest. This group has also taught me how to be the most effective with differentiation of learning styles. I often have students work together or check each other’s work when they finish a set while I work with a student that is struggling.

12:48PM – 7th grade math. My 7th graders return with more energy than they had in the morning. We normally review the Do Now (section of review), then we take a two minute break to get water and let out some energy by talking about the day or doing some stretches in the hallway. Normally once we get seated students are focused and we get to work on the packet. They have given be feedback – that tutorial isn’t exactly always exciting- so I am working on making things more exciting. THey have to put more effort into tutorial in exchange. Heym I think it’s a pretty fair deal.

1:48PM – And so return my 8th graders for math tutorial. They are even less excited about math than they were ELA. My biggest challenge is motivating them. I am working on ways to get them a little more enthusiastic about math, so I try to have them teach me how to do problems or have them race against one another for a prize (i.e. positives).  

Recently, I have found that they like games and something to look forward to during tutorials. We have turned the tutorial packet into Jeopardy! for positives or for snacks. I also find that if I tell them we will review something they are struggling with in class, they are more willing to focus and get through the tutorial packet, which contains basic skills that they need for class material.  

2:48PM – Free period. A gift after the marathon. This is my time to hide in the tutor workroom and get some packet planning done and check in with other members of my Tutor Corps. They keep me going!

3:45PM – Dismissal duty begins. I support on the 4th floor by ensuring students are transitioning to their homerooms silently before leaving for the day. Around 3:55PM I help transition students who require Study Hall to a classroom where they have to complete any homework they did not do the night before.

4:00PM – Tuesdays and Thursdays we have Power-Up. This is an after school homework help program for students. I have different students for Power-Up than I do for my normal tutorial which is great because I have the opportunity to connect with other students. It’s great to see students so determined to get their work done before they head home.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I am normally free to go at 4:20PM once dismissal is complete. I normally stay until 5:30-6PM to work on parent phone calls, DOS duties, or packet planning. I plan to begin using this time to offer students that would like to stay after for additional homework help.

6:30PM – Home at last. My first order of business is dinner. I try to cook as often as possible, but that depends on my energy and what food I have in the fridge.

7:30PM – If I can keep myself away from my bed to avoid taking a nap, I begin packet planning or working on any other responsibilities (emails, graduate applications). If I do nap, I normally wake up after an hour and do these things.

9:30PM – It’s time to wind down. I get ready for bed and begin watching Netflix or the Food Network. I call my parents/siblings and friends from outside of Great Oaks.

11:00PM – It’s bedtime, otherwise getting up tomorrow is going to be a struggle.


On weekends, I often find myself in Manhattan. I am from NYC, so I love going back to meet up with family and friends. If I am not in the city, I am in my apartment in Teacher’s Village relaxing and working on graduate applications. My group of friends and I have ventured out of Newark a lot because a couple from them are from Jersey. I do plan on finding more to do in Newark.

This blog post describes my Monday- Thursday routines. Friday is different as students meet by grade for Leadership and Community Meeting. I am only required to sit-in on one class to serve as an advisor to a group of 7th grade students. The rest of the day is spent planning packets and doing DOS support. Students dismiss at 2:00PM on Fridays, so there is no tutorial, but there is Professional Development from 2:00PM-4:00PM.

Joanna DeJesus is from New York. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Linguistics: TESOL from the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Queens College, where she also minored in Sociology and Honors in Social Sciences. She is keeping her options open for the future, but hopes to continue pursuing a career in Education.



A Day in the Life of Danesha Triplett, A Legacy Middle School Tutor

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6:45 AM

My first alarm rings….

6:50 AM

I am making breakfast…

7:00 AM

Everything is ready and I am getting dressed…

7:10 AM

I am walking to the bus with my green machine smoothie… Our Legacy campus, which has one of our elementary and middle schools is not a quick walk from the apartments so there is a bus that comes to pick us up and take us there and back.

7:30 AM – 8:00A.M

I arrive at Legacy Middle School and walk to the teachers lounge with the other tutors. I collect my work packets for my students for that day. I have two 5th graders, four 6th graders, and three lovely 7th graders.

8:00 – 8:10 AM

We have our morning meeting with all tutors and Corps Staff. Corps staff consist of second year tutors who coach new tutors through their Corps year. We give shout outs which gives you an opportunity to acknowledge a person or group for the great work that they do. I always love to shout out my group (group B) for being amazing.

8:15 – 9:11 A.M

My first tutorial! My 7th Graders are awesome! I work with Jayleen, Ammar and Al-zakee. They work well together. This is an English/Language Arts (ELA) tutorial, which is great for my students because they love to discuss the ELA stories and how it reminds them of something that happened in their lives. I always have a goal for my students each day to stay focused and answer the questions to the best of their ability. Sometimes on Friday’s the students have a little more energy than usual so during the week my students are challenged to be engaged in tutorial and to work through the whole packet with the group. If my students are engaged and work through the packet all week, they receive a reward at the end of the week.

9:13 AM – 10:09 AM

For my second tutorial, I have 5th grade ELA. My students, Ahmad and Esau. They are great students and stay focused every day. They love to draw so I cannot forget to bring the colorful markers for them.

10:11 AM– 11:07 AM

Now it’s time for 6th grade math tutorial with Kasaan, Denisha, Tiffany, and Jai. They love to compete against one another so I include a lot of games such as “hands on the desk”; the students have to raise their hand the fastest in order to share their answer first. They all love it and get so excited, more focused and involved. I also include my own version of fast math, which is a section of the tutorial packet where students have to complete a certain number of math problems in 2 minutes. I include the method in each page that we do in the packet.

11:07 AM – 11:37 AM

It is lunch time. Also a time for me to de-stress and finish organizing my binder. I put my exit tickets for the first 3 tutorials in the correct box and folder. Exit tickets are the a few questions that students complete in the last five minutes of the period that relate to the learning goal of the packet. It shows whether the students grasped what they learned from that session. I am also scanning packets so I can upload them into my google drive. I scan packets on the printer so I can have the digital copy online and put them into Google Drive for my coach to give me feedback.

11:38 AM– 12:35 PM

I use this period to plan for next week’s tutorials, my secondary role, and go over my packets for my next 2 tutorials. My secondary role is Technology with Mariusz. I work with him to address technology issues around the school. We work on computers in each classroom, printers and other tools that the teachers and tutors use daily.

12:38 PM – 1:34 PM

During this time I am tutoring 7th grade math and my students take about 30 seconds to get settled down. This tutorial has lots of energy so when we begin tutorial, we start it off with jokes and laughter, get focused and work really hard through our packet. I usually get this group focused by having them explain the events that we are reading about and how it may impact their lives.

1:36 PM – 2:32 PM

My group and I scurry over to room 313 to start math tutorial with my 5th graders. Since there are just 2 of them it takes us 2 seconds to get settled down and ready to start our Do Now. My 5th graders love to take their time doing their work. It creates opportunities to ask questions.

2:43 PM – 3:30 PM

My last tutorial of the day is 6th grade ELA. This group of students enjoy the stories included in the packet. They all popcorn read, taking turns reading each paragraph. They all work and communicate so well and challenge each other’s understanding of the readings, which creates great discussions. We have norms in our tutorial to see that when someone is sharing we do not speak while they are speaking.

3:30 – 4:26 PM

As the day is winding down I am putting my final exit tickets in the correct bins and packets in their folders. As the tutors come into the teacher’s lounge we all unwind and talk about how our days were. We share laughs and wait for the end of the day announcements. We all wait for the group chat message that let’s us know the bus is here and ready to take us home.

4:30 – 6:00

I enjoy the bus ride home with my fellow coworkers we all continue to laugh and talk about how our day went and which student made us smile the most. I get into my apartment building and drop off my books and lunch box. I get ready to go to the gym with my best friend Cassan. We work out for an hour to relax after the day.

8:30 PM – Bedtime

As I am coming home from class I enjoy a nice meal and get ready for bed. I get ready for bed by working on all of my packets for the following week until my eyes can no longer stay open. Lastly, it is time to prepare myself for another day as a Tutor here at Great Oaks Legacy in Newark!

Danesha Triplett is a graduate of The College of Saint Elizabeth where she earned a degree in Health Administration with a minor in Psychology. She is currently working on her graduate degree in Public Health at The College of Saint Elizabeth. Her plans after completing her year of service is to return another year. Ms. Triplett stated, “I would love to see the students progress so I feel like one year is never enough. I would like to continue with Great Oaks Legacy for as long as I can and make a difference”.

A Day in the Life of Asia Nelson, A Legacy Middle School Math Tutor


FullSizeRender (2)5:50am  I am definitely not a morning person so my mornings are a usually more chaotic than other tutors’ but I usually set my alarm to go off at this time and snooze until 6:15.

6:15am  I eventually force myself out of bed and start my morning routine of getting dressed for work.

7:02am  By this time, I am usually dressed and headed downstairs to catch the shuttle to work. I am a tutor at Great Oaks Legacy Charter school and unlike the other campuses, my school is not within walking distance. We are provided a shuttle every morning that arrives at 7:05 am to take us to work and pick us up again around 4:45 pm. Another 

7:15- 8:15 I arrive at school and start preparing myself for the work day. Within this hour, I usually eat breakfast and gather all the materials (such as packets or supplemental worksheets) needed for tutorial. I am also the 6th grade math TA so I usually check in with Ms. Marion, the math teacher, and make any last minute changes to the packet if needed. On Mondays, my morning prep time is cut short for Unity Circle. Unity Circle is every Monday at 7:45 for Upper Academy (grades 5-7). Announcements are usually made within this time frame as well as a brief current event lesson for the students. This usually lasts until 8:15.

8:15 – 9:10 This is where the real fun begins, tutorials. Located in Cafe B, I have my first 6th grade math tutorial. The classes at Legacy are named after colleges and universities so my first group of scholars are called Florida- short for the University of Florida.

9:15- 10:10  Welcome to back to back tutorials with 5 minute breaks in between. My next group of 6th grade students are from Brown (Brown University).

10:15- 11:00  Right before lunch, I have my first group and only group 7th graders from Grambling (Grambling State University). This tutorial group is consist of 3 energetic boys who often find it hard to concentrate. I usually get creative and come up with different techniques and activities to keep them focused.

11:00 – 11:30 It’s finally lunch time. I usually eat lunch downstairs with my coworkers. Being at Legacy and having such a small group of tutors (8) allowed us to become very close with one another. Although this is our 30 minutes of peace, a few students always manage to come join us for lunch.

11:30- 12:25  This is where my schedule gets a little tricky.

Tuesdays & Thursdays: On these days, I tutor SHU (Seton Hall University). This is Legacy self- contained class for 6th and 7th grade scholars. We typically review recent material learned on Tuesday and Thursday tutorials consist of the math lesson for that week.

Mondays & Wednesdays: This is usually my prep period. As I mentioned before, I am the TA for 6th grade math. My responsibilities include creating tutorial packets, making student copies, as well as in class support. I select this time to make tutorial packets for the following week 6th grade tutorials.

12:25- 12:30 Time for my final tutorial for the day but before I begin, I have to transition NJCU (New Jersey City University) scholars down to tutorial.

12:30 – 1:20  NJCU is my last 6th grade tutorial for the day. This tutorial is also the quickest tutorial as well. The lower academy (Pre-k thru 4th) has lunch right before this tutorial and sometimes it takes awhile to clean up after them.

1:25 – 2:20  During this time period, I assist Ms. Marion with in-class support. What this usually looks like for me is sitting in between scholars who find it difficult to concentrate and keep them focused during the lesson. After the lesson, I walk around the classroom and provide extra assistance to the students who need it during independent practice.

2:20 – 3:15  This is another one of my prep periods and varies from day to day. On Wednesday, I have my weekly meetings with Ms. Marion to discuss what the packets for the following week will look like as well as any changes to the unit map. On any other day, I’m usually assisting her with other tasks or working on tutorial packets.

3:15 – 3:30 I usually give myself a 15 minute break before starting my after school duties.

3:30 – 4:30 After School Duties

Monday – Wednesday: Homework help for 6th grade Scholars

Thursday & Friday: Dismissal duty which consist of monitoring upper academy and letting them know once their parent have arrived.

4:45 – 5:00  I’m finally on the shuttle headed home.

5:00 – 6:30  I use as my personal time to either watch Netflix, exercise, or hang out with fellow co-workers.

6:30 – 8:00  I am cooking dinner and getting ready for the night.

9:00 – 10:25  I try not to carry any work home, but if my workload is heavy for that week, I map out this time frame to due so. It usually consists of deliverables such as planning packets, trimester letters, etc.

10:30  Lights out, it’s bedtime.

This blog post describes my Monday- Thursday routines. Friday is different. It usually consist of planning and prepping for next week as well as school supportive duties. We do not have tutorials on Fridays.


Asia is from Florida and attended Clark Atlanta University to earn her Bachelor’s in Social Work and a minor in Criminal Justice. Her plans moving forward as a Tutor Corps VI Alumna are to attend grad school at Florida State University (MSW program) this upcoming fall and eventually start a professional career as a forensic social worker. Ultimately, I would like to open up a nonprofit organization for at risk youth helping them in their preparation for college and becoming self-sufficient.


A Day in the Life of Kelly Hustak, a Legacy Middle School Math Tutor


6:00 – My alarm goes off, and I usually get up right away in order to use the bathroom first. Things can get a little crowded when you’re sharing a bathroom with other people, but we make it work!

6:00-6:30 – I get ready for the day… I usually take way too much time picking out an outfit (which I always say I’m going to set out the night before and then never actually do).

6:30-6:55 – I head to the kitchen. Breakfast is a really important part of my day, and I usually make eggs or a bagel to hold me over until lunch time. I relax for a few minutes while eating, check social media, catch up on the news. Afterwards, I pack my lunch and some snacks to take with me for the day.

7:00 – I catch the school bus, arranged just for the Legacy tutors, outside of Teacher’s Village (TV). The Legacy Middle School is about a 10-minute drive from TV and much too far to walk. Some tutors with cars also drive to the school, but it is not required.

7:15-8:15 – I arrive at school. We have a small closet to keep our belongings in during the day, and I put my lunch in the fridge in the staff workroom. Tutorial for me does not begin until 8:15 and then the rest of my day is very busy, so I take this time to relax and mentally prepare. I grab packets for my students, printed by the TA’s , and take them with me for the day. Sometimes I have a quick meeting with my coach or my corps manager if there’s anything going on that needs to be addressed.

8:15-9:07 – My first 6th grade math tutorial for the day. In this tutorial, I have two students with Individualized Education Plans, or IEPs, which means that they have special learning accommodations. This makes my group challenging to work with, but exciting. Sometimes, if necessary, I modify my plans to meet their needs and we spend time going over what we learned the day before.

9:10-10:02 – My second 6th grade math tutorial begins. I only have one student and we have a great relationship. I really enjoy working with her and she usually is on-task except for when we briefly chat about whatever she has going on in her life.

10:05-10:57 – My third tutorial begins, this time 7th grade math. During each tutorial, we have a 5 minute silent and independent Do Now at the beginning and a 5 minute silent Exit Ticket at the end to evaluate what the students learned during our time together. My three students in this tutorial really challenge me during those silent times, as well as with staying on-task during tutorial. By the time it’s over, I’m usually feeling pretty exhausted and ready to take a minute for myself.

11:00-11:30 – Lunch! It seems a little early but I’m usually starving by this point. I eat in the teacher workroom with some of the teachers at the school. I used to want to eat lunch with the students in the cafeteria, but now I find that I really enjoy the alone time just to relax because it’s really the only break I have in my day.

11:30-12:25 – I begin my fourth math tutorial for the day with a group of 7th graders. They are all very intelligent and it is often the only tutorial of mine in which we finish the packet. I try to push them as much as I can by asking them challenging questions to supplement the packet.

12:30-1:17 – My fifth tutorial! A group of three 6th graders and by far my most rambunctious group. They are filled with energy and love to share every detail of their lives with me. Although sometimes it’s difficult to keep them on task, we usually get a decent amount of work done.

1:20-2:15 – This is the period in which I attend my secondary role, which is the Operations Assistant. I basically help out in the front office with whatever they need. I often deliver papers around the building, make copies, and enter data into the school gradebook and database, called PowerSchool.

2:20 – 3:15 – My sixth and last tutorial for the day! I have two 7th grade boys in this tutorial, and they usually remain on-task. They often ask about their grades, and I check PowerSchool to let them know how they are doing.

3:20-3:30 – Ten minutes to myself! I use this time to eat a quick snack and unwind now that tutorial for the day is finished.

3:30-4:30 – Homework help begins! Another tutor and I are in charge of gathering the 7th grade students and transitioning them to the classroom in which homework help occurs. Once we have arrived, we break into small groups. I usually work with 2-3 students, helping them with their homework in all subjects. It is a nice time to be a little more relaxed with the students, and it provides an opportunity to get to know students who are not my assigned tutorial students.

4:45 – The day is over!! The bus comes to the school and takes us all back to TV. Having a bus, unlike the tutors at other schools, has its pros and cons. If I have extra work to do, there is not an option of staying at the school to get it done, but it also guarantees that we will be home at the same time each day.

5:00-9:00 – Depending on the day, I use this time to go grocery shopping at the ShopRite down the road (It’s a little too far to walk, but Teacher’s Village has a free shuttle service!) or at the new Whole Foods that just opened up which is a little more expensive, but within walking distance. I don’t eat out during the week so that I can save money, which means I spend time cooking dinner each night. Occasionally before dinner I head to happy hour with friends or coworkers! I try to do my laundry (TV has a laundry room on each floor) at least once a week. I also try (and sometimes fail) to go to the gym a few times per week, which is small but free and located right in my building. Some days I spend time calling my students’ parents to update them on their progress, or call my friends and family to catch up since I’m living far away from home. Once in a while if I’m behind I have to plan packets for tutorial while I’m at home, but not too often because there is no tutorial on Fridays, meaning we have most of the day to plan for the upcoming week.

9:00-10:30 – Time to shower and relax. Showering at night is something new I started doing once moving to Newark, because there’s simply not enough time in the morning. Usually after my shower I crawl into bed with a book. If I’m not already asleep before then, 10:30 is bedtime!


Kelly Hustak attended SUNY Geneseo as a Biology major and graduated May 2016. In the future she hopes to obtain her masters degree and have a career involving environmental education. Next year, she will be working with school groups at an outdoor center.

A Day in the Life of Cory Cuffee, an 8th Grade Academy Tutor

Great Oaks Legacy Charter’s 8th Grade Academy is unique because it is a one year program established for 8th grade students. Students and staff rely on their close-knit dynamics to foster academic and character growth. Mondays start off with a community meeting and the week concludes with Friday morning Leadership Academy where the school Director and Dean of Students–with Tutor support–inculcate the seven habits of highly effective people. On an occasional Monday per month, Gender Group sessions are held to enrich social reasoning skills and to cultivate understanding of self and others.

Cuffee (3)6:00 am: I get out of bed and immediately take a shower and brush my teeth.

6:30 am: I get dressed and make sure I have everything prepared for the day.
7:00 am: I walk, or ride  the Teacher’s Village Shuttle to 8th Grade Academy.
7:15 am: I arrive at the school and I make sure that I have all of my materials prepared for each tutorial.  I also make sure that no one else needs assistance with preparing for their morning duties.
7:25 am: I stand outside to greet the students as they walk to the school.  At this time, I am also watching to make sure the students are walking directly to the school yard and not wandering off into other areas.
8:00 am: I set up my tutorial area by arranging the desks in a way that best benefits the students, and making sure all materials are in place before my students enter.
8:15 am: THE FIRST TUTORIAL BEGINS! The students are working through their packets, and I am assisting each one individually with their needs.
9:15 am: Tutorial is over, and now it is time to plan the rest of my day over the course of a two hour planning period.  I also check in with Dr. Ingram, the School Psychologist, to see if there is anything that he may need from his assistant.  THAT’S ME HAHA!
11:00 am:  I set up lunch for the students, and make sure all trays, eating utensils, and condiments are available for each student.
11:15 am: I pass out lunch to all students and make sure they have everything from the lunch line.
11:40 am: I clean up the lunch area, and prepare for my next tutorial group.
11:45 am:  The second tutorial begins.  During this tutorial, it is very vital to make sure that all students remain alert after coming from lunch.  So, I like to conduct a small ice breaker or some type of educational game to get their brains engaged.  Then we complete the tutorial packets.
12:45 pm:  Tutorial ends and it is time for a break!  So this is where I finally get time to eat something and plan my next day.  I also use any extra time during this break to make sure that Dr. Ingram doesn’t need anything, or to finish up any work that I started during my last planning period.
1:45 pm: It is time for the final two tutorials of the day.  This section of the day can be a little difficult for tutors because it is two straight hours of tutorial time.  I make sure I have water in my system so that I can have the energy to stay engaged and focused while teaching the students.  The students’ energy levels are also elevated at this time because they are ready to leave for the day.  Therefore I make sure that I leave no room for distractions.
3:45 pm: Students return to their homeroom classes to make sure that they are prepared for their homework assignments, and to be dismissed.  At this time, all of the staff members clear the hallways and make sure that everything is in its proper place.
3:55 pm:  Students are dismissed, unless they are staying for after school programs.
4:00 pm:  I begin rehearsal for the school choir.  More than likely we are preparing for a talent show, or the graduation ceremony.
5:00 pm:  I am out of the door!!!! It is time to go home and enjoy some time to myself.
6:00 pm:  I go to the gym for about 45 minutes to an hour, and then I go back home to shower.
7:30 pm: I go to choir rehearsal at my church so that we can prepare for what we are singing on Sunday.
9:00 pm: I go back to the apartment to finish off my evening with some television.
10:00 pm: I get into bed to make sure that I get enough rest to be ready for the following day.

A Day in the Life of Chelsea McCune, an 8th Grade Academy Tutor

Great Oaks Legacy Charter’s 8th Grade Academy is unique because it is a one year program established for 8th grade students. Students and staff rely on their close-knit dynamics to foster academic and character growth. Mondays start off with a community meeting and the week concludes with Friday morning Leadership Academy where the school Director and Dean of Students–with Tutor support–inculcate the seven habits of highly effective people. On an occasional Monday per month, Gender Group sessions are held to enrich social reasoning skills and to cultivate understanding of self and others.


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5:50AM RISE and SHINE! 😉 I’m usually the first one up in my apartment to use our bathroom to groom. I make my way into the kitchen where I boil water for rooibos or green tea (my favorites).  I drink my tea as I make a portable snack, like fruit and nuts or a peanut buttered bread slice to take with me. Then I get dressed.

6:45 -7:00AM On most days, this is when I depart for the 10 minute walk to school. Yes, even during the snowy/icy days in winter. Sometimes I walk with a friend/co-worker, or occasional take the 5 minute ride from Maiden Lane in the TV (Teacher’s Village) Shuttle.

7:15AM I’ve arrived. On Monday/Tuesday morning I have breakfast duty. For breakfast duty, I unpack cereal, milk, bread, fruit and greet students after they submit their homework. Other mornings, I spend this time organizing my tutorial space and reviewing plans. I also check that students are compliant with the uniform rule once they arrive for breakfast at 7:25am.

*This time is most crucial for us to express a sense of urgency for our students to exhibit RISE attributes (Respect, Integrity, Self-Discipline and Excellence) before they report to their homerooms.

7:55AM 1st period bell rings. I prepare my materials to report to my first ELA tutorial on Tuesday through Thursday or to my secondary post: Math in-class support on Mondays.

8:15-9:12  On Mondays, this time is reserved for Community Meeting or Gender Groups. All other days I report for my first ELA tutorial. This is when I tutor my quiet, three-member group. They are usually on-task.We read passages together and apply the skills they’ve learned in class, such as developing strong claims and thinking critically about how the issues presented in what we read relate to the real world. These students work well together, and learn to let each other contribute ideas.At this point in the year, they’ve started to behave like siblings and take advantage of their social proximity to correct each other. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, two students are assigned a blended learning activity called iReady, which allows me to work closely with the other student on the packet for that day.

9:15-10:12AM Math In Class support. Depending on the needs for the day, I either:

1) Actively monitor student’s understanding by walking around with an ‘exemplar’ (answer key) looking at their answers and guiding them to make corrections,

2) Lead small group study sessions to immediately reinforce skills acquired during class, or

3) Encourage certain students to participate more, take academic risk to iterate their process after they have worked on an assigned problem.

11:15-11:47 AM LUNCH. During this time, my role is to enforce the discipline system for transitions and during lunch. The students’ lunch period is my chance to eat and mingle with students in a relaxed setting. I usually talk to them about their day and their general well being, ask them what they are reading, or something unique they have learned outside of school. Often there are leftover student lunches that I and other tutors eat. Eating the same meal as the students has been a way to connect more closely to the student experience.

11:50 AM- 12:47 PM Report for my second ELA tutorial. This tutorial is a little more challenging to manage because the skill levels among my students are not aligned. On on-task days, two students will take the lead with readings and discussion, and will encourage their fellow tutorial mate to participate more confidently. On off task days, students usually complain of boring tutorial packets, so I provide discipline and teachable moments which can sometimes divert attention away from the student who needs more intensive individualized attention.

12:50-1:47 PM  All days except Monday, I maximize my time to annotate the following day’s ELA packet, grade math homework, grab a snack, support teachers or fellow tutors with projects like bulletin boards, or plan out the week’s Enrichment program with my Corps Staff coach.

1:50-2:47PM Report for 1st Math tutorial. The students in this tutorial are the students I worked with for my second ELA tutorial. Behavioral dynamics and tutorial management strategies are the same as they are for ELA. Students in this tutorial need a little more “teach” time on certain math skills.

2:50-3:47PM 2nd math tutorial. The students in this tutorial are those I provided ELA tutorial for at the start of the day. Again, behavioral dynamics and tutorial management strategies are the same as they are for ELA. Students complete a page at a time in the packet and ask me to check for accuracy or for help in showing their work. Most of the time they come to tutorial having nearly mastered the material. They are quick learners. Intermittently,though, I may see a student spending a long time on a problem, so I pause with them to walk through the process to the answer.

3:50PM Dismissal. Ideally this involves an “all hands on deck” approach where all tutors and staff escort students out of the school building. I shake hands, exchange positive daily parting words or give miscellaneous reminders to students before they leave.

[After School Programs 4 – 5 PM ]

Mondays/Tuesdays Power Up We as tutors provide academic support to aid with homework completion for a small group of students. This is an opportunity to tutor students outside of my assigned groups.

Wednesdays/Thursdays Enrichment. I lead the program for an hour. Because students often lose interest or patience with structure after school, programs are best kept light hearted, but engaging with plenty of incentives like snacks. I had the opportunity to lead the Dance and Spelling Bee enrichment for the majority of the first two trimesters. Before entering the third trimester, I collaborated with the Corps Staff Coach to create a Mathletes Enrichment which involved practicing math skills while playing life sized classic board games like connect four and Jenga.

Friday [2-4 PM] Professional Development. In these meetings we learn about school process changes, strategies to improve tutorial management & effectiveness, and tools to help build student character and growth mindset.

5:15 PM Arrive home. For a while I would bring home student’s math homework to grade, and packets to plan, but I reprioritized my time to complete work at school. My students call up to 9pm for homework clarification. I may use time after work to call/text parents to give praises, updates, or discuss areas of concern.

7:00 PM Cook and eat sizable healthy dinner so that I will have leftovers for a few days. Or I make an occasional grocery store run to Shoprite or Walmart via Uber or the T.V. shuttle.

8:00 PM Set aside personal time to recharge, nap, talk to loved ones. I am far from home, so it is important to keep in touch with them as often as I can. Sometimes I may watch a Netflix film.

10:00 PM Lastly, I will shower, drink tea, then sleep.

Chelsea is from Georgia and attended Emory University to earn her Bachelor’s in Sociology. Her plans moving forward as a Tutor Corps VI Alumna are to teach and mentor for a year in South Africa, and start an impactful career as a fitness professional/education & health development non-profiteer, and hopefully ultimately earn a clinical doctorate of Physical Therapy.

A Day In The Life of Nora Gutekanst, Great Oaks Legacy Middle School Tutor

gutekanstblog6:00 am: I hear my roommate’s alarm going off and I start to wake up. I decide I can afford a few more minutes before I actually have to wake up, so I set my alarm to 6:20 and go back to sleep for a couple more precious minutes.

6:20 am: Now it is time to actually get out of bed! I walk to the kitchen and make coffee. I will not survive the day without a cup of black coffee in my system! While the coffee is brewing, I pack a lunch and grab some snacks to bring to school.

6:30 am: When the coffee is ready, I bring the coffee back to my room to drink while I get dressed and ready for the day.

7:15 am: Once I am ready, I make sure I have my lunch, my computer, my water bottle, and all my tutorial materials for the day packed in my backpack and ready to go. When I have everything packed, I walk the two blocks across the street to school.

7:20 am: I am in the school building. I say a quick good morning to the other tutors and staff I see as I walk to the third floor where there is space to prep for the day.

7:25 am: Since I am lucky enough to not have an arrival duty, I use this time before first period to prep and plan for the day ahead. I pick up tutorial packets from the back table where the TA’s leave them out usually the night before. Then I sit at one of the tables towards the back where it is quieter and get organized for the day or prep any packets that I have not prepared yet.

8:12 am: I am on my way to first period, which is 6th grade ELA tutorial. I have two 6th grade boys that I work with for both ELA and Math.

9:12 am: 6th grade ELA tutorial is over. As a transition leader, I have to take some of the students to their next class. I call them into line and lead them silently outside into the hallway to join the rest of their homeroom class as they wait to enter their next class.

9:15 am: I have arrived at my next tutorial, 8th Grade ELA. My group meets on the 3rd floor. As a Timekeeper for my tutorial room, I have to call the Do Now for the first 5 minutes of the period and the Exit Ticket for the last 5 minutes. These times are designated in every period for students to do work silently and independently. I tutor two girls and one boy who I really enjoy working with as they prepare for high school next year!

10:12 am: I have called the end of the period and the 8th graders are being transitioned to their next class. This is the start of my free period.

10:20 am: My secondary role is an Assistant to the Director. My main job in this role is to assist in the planning of the curriculum for the Character Education and Leadership Class that every student at the school participates in. This year the students are learning the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. On Monday mornings, the first three periods of the day are dedicated to this class and I am there to help set up, distribute materials, and work with students on the lesson. During this free period on Tuesdays, I sometimes meet with our Dean, Mr. O, to discuss how the last class went and to brainstorm and prepare lessons for the upcoming weeks. We also discuss the plan for Friday’s Advisory Class, which takes place during homeroom and is when students receive their grades, including their Character Grade for the week. I have to plan a draft of the lesson plan for the upcoming Monday and the lesson plan for Friday’s Advisory Class.

11:12 am: This is the start of the last ELA Tutorial for the day. I work with three 7th Grade girls who are special education students and take a replacement ELA class separate from their peers. For some weeks, I help the special education teacher, Ms. Pichardo, with the planning of the lessons that we do in this tutorial.

12:12 pm: Lunchtime! This is when 7th and 8th grade have their lunch block, and is also the time I can take a few minutes to relax, eat and chat with some co workers. I try to bring my lunch to school since there is not much time to eat out and I cannot afford to do that too often.

12:47 pm: Lunch is over and as a transition leader, I walk up the stairs to the 5th floor where the Big Hall is located. This is where 7th graders eat lunch. I wait for Mr. Podhurst, our school director, to call silence in the room. He then will call location of each tutorial group so the transition leaders can take their students down to 7th Grade Math tutorial. I wait for my team, Team Great Oaks to be called.

12:50 pm: Students have settled into their tutorial groups. Since I tutor special education students, I do not have to tutor during this period. Instead, my students will be in a replacement math class at this time.

1:00 pm: I use this period as a chance to prep and plan tutorial packets or to work on planning lessons for the Character Education and Leadership Class.

1:47 pm: I pick up the 6th grade students from their previous class and bring them to my 6th grade tutorial location in Rm. 409.

1:50 pm: 6th Grade Math tutorial begins. My 6th graders favorite subject is math so I try to make the lesson fun and challenging for them.

2:50 pm: This is the last period of the day, finally! It is 8th Grade Math tutorial. I make sure all students in my tutorial location are seated and I call the time for the Do Now so that tutorial may begin.

3:47 pm: Tutorial and school are over. Transition leaders take the 8th graders back to their homeroom so they can pack up and head home. I am organize my Exit Tickets and other packets from the day and ensure I have my materials for tomorrow.

4:00 pm: Some of my students may come down to the 3rd floor after dismissal to work on homework with me. I usually convince a couple of my students who are struggling to get their homework done alone at home to stay after school with me. If it is a Tuesday or a Thursday, an after school homework help program called Power Up will start at this time.  Certain students who are in this program will spend an hour with a tutor working on homework.

5:00 pm: Most of the students who stayed after with me are packing up their work and heading home. At this time I may call some parents to check in with them about their child’s behavior, homework completion, or current grades.

5:30-6:00 pm: Ideally, this is the time I will be leaving the school to head home for the day!

6:30-7:30 pm: If I am not feeling too tired from the long day, I will take an hour to go to the gym in my apartment building. I am training to run a half marathon this spring, so I try to go at least a couple times a week. It feels nice to take this time to de-stress!

7:30- 8:00 pm: I am usually STARVING at this point and ready for dinner! I will make something quick to eat. I am not much of a cook…so dinners are usually pretty low key for me! Sometimes I may run to get Chipotle nearby or grab dinner with friends instead of making something in my apartment.

8:00-10:30 pm: This is down time I will use to catch up on planning lessons for Character Education and Leadership class or prepping tutorial lesson plans. Some nights I may choose to relax and watch Netflix or read to take a break from schoolwork.

10:30 pm: By this point in the evening, I am exhausted. It is time for bed. I usually fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.


Nora Gutekanst attended Fordham University where she double majored in International Political Economy and Middle East Studies. She hopes to obtain a Master’s in International Education. Following this year, she plans on continuing to work in a school setting or working at an international or education focused non-profit.

A Day In The Life of Tyelisha Johnson, Great Oaks Legacy Middle School Tutor

img_12846:10 am – My warning alarm goes off. This alarm is solely for the purpose of reminding my body that I have to get up in 10-15 minutes.

6:20 am – My real alarm goes off. If it’s Monday morning, I actually have to get up to ensure I make our weekly 7:15 meeting. But today is Wednesday so I can sleep for another five minutes.

6:25 am – Up and at ’em! I get up and go to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. Now it’s time to get dressed. If all goes well and I get my outfit right on the first try, it’s makeup time!

7:00 am – I do my makeup and unwrap my hair.

7:13 am – Now it’s time to grab my bag, my breakfast, and head out the door with my roommate.

7:18 am –  I am in the school building on my way to the fourth floor. I  say, “ Good morning,” to the teachers, administration, and tutors gathered in the hallway. Then I head to the third floor to drop off my belongings and grab student packets.

7:25 –  I make my way back to the fourth floor and make sure that I am prepared for the day. Depending on the day, this includes printing off documents for tutorial, inputting sixth grade ELA homework, making note cards for my students, responding to emails, grading homework, or working on a tutorial packet for the following week.

8:11 am –  I listen to the announcements read by Mr. Podhurst, the director of the Downtown Middle School (DMS), and begin packing up my things to head to tutorial.

8:15 am –  I enter into room 409 for my first period sixth grade ELA tutorial. The Do Now is called and I began working with my students to complete the packet.

9:12 am- Second Period. Now I am heading to Ms. Brook’s room for in-class support during her sixth grade ELA class. While assisting in class, I am finishing homework input, and entering homework from the late bin. Once I complete that, I cross check the attendance with DeansList (our homework tracker website).

11:12 am – It is now third period and I go to room 409 it’s time for for ELA tutorial with my seventh graders. The Do Now is called and we began working on our packet. The Do Now is a silent five minute portion of tutorial that introduces students to the concept we will be working on that day. The seventh graders are coming from math class so they are typically rowdy and take a moment to settle down.

12:07 pm – The exit ticket has just started. This the last five minute portion of tutorial that allows students to show what they learned that day without the help of their tutor. If the students were able to understand and grasp the concept they worked on today they do fairly well on the exit ticket. If not, it gives the tutor feedback on what their students need to work on. As I await my students exit tickets, I begin packing up my belongings.

12:15 pm – The exit ticket has been called and now it is time for lunch for both the 7th, 8th graders and the tutors. Depending on the day I go out for lunch or bring food from home. If I brought food from home I make my way to the third floor where the tutors typically eat lunch together.

12:45 pm – Lunch is just about over and it is time to prepare for my fifth period 7th grade math tutorial. I head to room 411 to set up my tutorial table and to make sure I have everything ready to go. My students arrive at 12:50 pm and it’s time to begin. My seventh graders can be extremely rowdy after lunch or they can be sluggish and tired. I believe it depends on what they eat for lunch. Either way I have to be prepared for both so that I can motivate my student to do their work no matter what mood they’re in.

1:47 pm – The exit ticket is called. I collect my papers and head to room 409 to transition Team Eagles to 408 for sixth grade math tutorial. Each homeroom is split into four teams for tutorial transitions. These four teams are Great Oaks, Achieve, Legacy, and Eagles. On Wednesdays the sixth graders in Ms. Hossain´s homeroom have P.E. before tutorial so I must make my way to the fifth floor to retrieve my sixth graders from the big hall.

1:50 pm  – Majority of the students have transitioned into the classroom at this point. Ms. Grant our tutorial room leader calls the Do Now and our students began working silently. Every now and then a tutor may have to make classroom reminders for students to stay at a Level 0 (silence). Once the five minutes for the Do Now are up, math tutorial begins.

2:47 pm –  Sixth grade math tutorial is over. Although I only tutor sixth and seventh graders my day is not over. I transition the Rowan students in our room to their math apps class in 506. Each homeroom is named after the college their homeroom teacher attended. Ms. Hossain, one of the sixth grade ELA teachers, attended Rowan and therefore that is the name of her homeroom. The reason for this is to expose our students at Great Oaks Legacy DMS to the names of different colleges and universities.

2:55 pm – After school I have have both the drama enrichment and basketball practice. If it were Tuesday or Thursday we would have Power Up. Power up is an after school program that allows students to receive help with their homework, particularly in subjects they are struggling in.  Since today is Wednesday, my co-enrichment leader will be conducting drama enrichment today, while I go to basketball practice with our girl’s team.  While I wait for dismissal, I usually finish planning the day’s enrichment lesson plan, and I go home to change clothes for practice.

3:40 pm – I arrive back to school just in time for dismissal.

3:47 pm – Since I am part of the dismissal team, I now transition the students that have study hall from room 408 to 410. After that, it is time for practice.  

4:00 pm –  The boys and girls basketball teams are lining up to transition to the bubble, which is our gym. We head over and have practice until 5:30 pm.

5:30 pm – Practice is now over and we transition back to D.M.S. Here we drop the students off and wait for their parents to pick them up.

5:50 pm –  I arrive back at home. Now it is me time! I take about an hour to nap, read, watch TV, or call my family. I have to remember to take time for myself each day so that I don’t become overwhelmed.

7:00 pm – I begin looking over my planned packets for the next day. I make note of any extra notes or documents I need for my tutorials tomorrow. Then I finish grading homework and checking my emails. As the sixth grade ELA teacher’s assistant for Mrs. Brooks, the other sixth grade ELA teacher, I am responsible for grading homework and exit tickets collected at the end of class.

8:00 pm – By this time I’m starving and trying to figure out what dinner will be. I am more than likely not done grading so once I finish eating I will continue to work.

9:00 pm – I am finished grading homework and exit tickets, but my sixth graders will take a math quiz during tutorial to help them prepare for their math or math apps test on Friday. I take the time to make a quiz from the concepts we have focused on this week.

10:00 pm – I should be done with work by now  but not quite ready for bed. I take a shower, grab a snack and maybe indulge in a book or an episode from one of my favorite shows.

11:30 pm – It’s now 11:30 pm and I am pooped! Time for bed. I head to bed and dream away until I hear my alarm the next morning.

Tyelisha Johnson attended Spelman College. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After Great Oaks, she plans to attend graduate school to receive her Masters in Sociology with a focus on Community Redevelopment.

A Day in the Life of Sarah Gilbert, Great Oaks Legacy High School ELA Tutor

20170109_1353505:45: My alarm goes off and on good days I get up now. (I’ve only had 3 of those days so far, oops!).

6:00: I wake up on days that I snoozed the alarm, and drag myself into the kitchen to brew coffee for the day.

6:10: I begin to get ready, and most of the time I lay everything out the night before (clothes, bag, papers) so this process is as quick as possible.

6:45: I transition to the kitchen where I pour my coffee and make my lunch. Since I am not a big breakfast person, coffee is all I really need, so this gives me time to make a sandwich and chips for lunch.

7:00: I leave Teacher’s Village and walk to Great Oaks Legacy High School. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, my suitemate and I will catch the Teacher’s Village shuttle. If not, we walk.

7:10: I arrive at school and grab a few things before the morning meeting.

7:15: Morning Meeting with Mr. Jacobs! He is the Tutor Corps Director, so he informs us of any events going on, different schedules, testing, and gives us any reminders we may need such as deadlines or coverage for absent tutors. If I have any questions, this is a good time to check in with him or my coach before I head to homeroom.

7:30-7:55: Homeroom! My homeroom duty is homework collection, so all of the 9th and 10th graders turn their homework in to me. I sort and organize it for collection with the help of another tutor. I really love this duty because it gives me time to talk to the kids outside of the classroom in the morning. This also gives me the opportunity to learn a lot of the scholars’ names who aren’t my tutees.

7:55-8:12: Homeroom videos or announcements. This is the time of the day when the students are given updates on any upcoming trips or changes in the schedule. After the students’ breakfast, we clean up and begin to prepare for the day.

8:15-9:12: 1st Period: This is my only free period for the day until the last period, so this is normally when I make copies, grab packets for the day, and work on grading. On most days I grade during the evening, but sometimes I like to use this hour to get a start on the assignments or update the online grade book . Once a week, I use this time to make phone calls to my tutee’s parents to update them on what has happened during the week.

9:15-10:12: 2nd Period: This is my first tutorial of the day for 10th grade ELA. This tutorial has three girls who are all very close friends. It usually takes some effort to get them focused since it is early in the morning and they are still not in the mood to work. I let them tell me about their previous nights or mornings so far, and then we get to work. Sometimes I have to adjust the plans for one of the girls since she is very smart and gets bored with the material quickly. No matter what though, these girls are full of energy which is a good way to start the day.

10:15-11:12: 3rd period: This group of students is also 10th grade ELA and is made up of three girls and one boy. They are all on the same level and enjoy joking around while working. They all usually like getting the packets done and can do so while talking about other things. Sometimes if we finish early we will discuss whatever story they are reading in class or play games with the vocabulary words. They really enjoy this because they are pretty competitive and enjoy the temporary title of Vocab Queen or King.

11:15-11:47: 4th period: This is my 30 minute lunch period, I normally go downstairs away from the kids to eat in order to have a little time to myself. This is when I relax and read a book or update grades a little. Since I only have 30 minutes I don’t have time to go get lunch, so I make sure to bring my lunch everyday.

11:50-12:47: 5th period: This is another 10th grade ELA tutorial made up of all girls. These girls normally are in good spirits after eating lunch and work very well together. They have all been friends for a while and enjoy working. I rarely have to tell them to get back on task and many times they finish early as well. With this group, I will review for a quiz or test, or teach them how to outline papers in preparation for whatever they are doing in ELA class that day. This group of girls always loves talking about their day, my day, or whatever plans we have for the weekend. They always brighten my day, and their positive energy and personalities help to push through the middle of the day hump.

12:50-1:47: 6th period: This is my last 10th grade ELA tutorial and is also made up of all girls. These girls are definitely more rambunctious and enjoy catching up and talking about the latest fashion trends. They work well together and at the same pace, so I normally allow them 5 minutes at the start of tutorial to get all of their talking out before we start the packets. Once focused, they are very driven to do well and want to earn good grades. We often check their grades after the packets are finished to see how we can improve them.

1:50-2:47: 7th period: This is the period that I provide In-Class Support to the 10th grade ELA teacher. This class is one of her largest classes and has lots of my tutees and students from homeroom in it. They always have a lot of energy and enjoy joking around. They are very interested in The Kite Runner, which is what we are reading now. Most of the time there are students in this class who have read ahead and want to talk about it with me. My role is to walk around and help the kids with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and to get any other students that are off track back on task. This happens all the time, so I am constantly tapping papers or telling the kids to turn around. However, it’s all in a positive manner since this group really does understand the material we are going over. They just have lots of energy, as they are ready for the end of the day.

2:50-3:47: 8th period: This is my other free period and the last period of the day. Most of the time this is when the 10th ELA teacher and I debrief about our day, how tutorial plans went, how the class before went, and what needs to be graded or what copies need to be made. At this point in the day, I just relax when I need to, or begin grading any work I have. Sometimes I go and make more coffee or run to the corner store to get a soda for the rest of the afternoon if I am feeling tired.

3:50-4:00: Dismissal! At this point in the day I go downstairs to the front door to say goodbye to the kids. I really like holding the door open since that allows me to see all my students one last time. I tell them to have a good night and remind them of any work or studying they need to do at home. I love this time to talk to kids because they are very happy since the day is over and generally like to joke around with me as they leave the school.

4:00-5:00: PM Academy: On Mondays and Tuesdays this is an hour of the day for extra support for new students to Great Oaks or any students that need academic intervention. I have 3 regular students who finish their homework during this time, and sometimes I will have one or two students who come to me if they know they need help with that night’s ELA homework assignment. This is a more relaxed time to help the students with any questions they have that may have not been covered in class or tutorial.

5:00-7:00: After school! Normally this is when I may stay to get copies made, file homework, or grade a bit. Sometimes I leave right at 5 if I know I can grade at home, or I will stay because I know I need a school environment to finish grading (otherwise I will fall asleep the moment I get back). This time frame changes based on what work I have and sometimes I plan for this time to be completely work and sometimes this is me going home early and resting in bed while grading and watching Netflix.

7:00-10:30: Most of the time I am back home at this point. I make dinner and either take a shower, read, or finish grading. This is a good time for me to wind down and read a book for pleasure or watch the newest episode of whatever show I am on. I also plan my outfit for the next day and make sure all my papers and bags are together for the morning.

10:30: This is when I go to bed. Allowing myself to get at least close to 7 hours of sleep is important for the long (but rewarding) days.

Sarah Gilbert graduated from Georgia College with a BA in English Literature and a Minor in Spanish. After the program she plans to attend graduate school for a Masters in Literature. In the future she aspires to work for a publishing company or magazine as an editor.

A Day in the Life of Kelley Benck, Great Oaks Legacy High School Math Tutor


5:30 AM – I hit snooze a couple of times before I crawl out of bed. I head into my living room in my Teacher’s Village apartment in downtown Newark to make myself a cup of tea and read the New York Times and the BBC.

6:00 AM – I scarf down some breakfast while I make my lunch and get ready for the day.

6:50 AM – I check for the twentieth time that I have my water bottle, keys, and tutorial materials for the day, then take the ten minute walk to the high school from Teacher’s Village.

7:15 AM – I head to the second floor library space for our staff morning meeting run by either the Tutor Corps Manager, Mr. Jacobs, or the high school director, Ms. Belden, to get updates and reminders for the day. This is also a great time for all the tutors to check-in with various class materials or questions to make sure we’re all on the same page and ready for the school day.

7:20 AM – Once students arrive at school, they go to their lockers, get in uniform, grab breakfast, and head to their homerooms to turn in their homework. During homeroom students eat their school-supplied breakfast and listen to the daily announcements. Similar to Hogwarts, when students come to Great Oaks they are placed in a house (Malcolm X, Indira Gandhi, Frederick Douglas, or Jackie Robinson). I go to my “Malcolm X” homeroom for 11th and 12th grade students and set out the homework folders. The houses are designed for students to be able to build comradery and school spirit.

8:15 AM – Students are dismissed from homeroom and head to their first period class. I have a free period during this time, which I spend collecting the tutorial packets for the day, reviewing my tutorial plans, and checking my students’ grades so I can speak with them about any red flags.

9:15 AM – 11:12 – My second and third period is very different compared to most tutors. I work with a group of 6 seniors who are taking Elementary Statistics from a professor from Essex County College. The professor meets with these students for 1.5 hours Tuesday and Thursday mornings, where I essentially act as in-class support. With the remaining time left after the professor’s lecture, I will go over topics from that day’s lecture that students are still struggling with. On days when the professor does not come for class, I prepare lectures on material the students need additional practice with, provide them with supplemental homework assignments, and answer questions about their assigned textbook problems. At 10:15, during period 3 I do the Active Study tutorial activity for the day.

11:15 – 12:12 – For period 4 I return to the typical duties of a tutor. 11th and 12th grade students participate in “Active Study” for their tutorial. The objective is to encourage students to become more independent with their school work, learn to utilize resources other than their tutor for help, and develop strong study skills so they can be better prepared for college. Each day of the week focuses on a different skill: Monday-ACT/SAT prep, Tuesday-Study Skills Development, and Wednesday and Thursday are Math or ELA depending on which tutor the students meet with.

12:15 – 12: 45 – The 11th and 12th grade students have lunch at this time. I help the Operations Team set up lunch, track students who take a lunch for the day (to help the Operations Team consistently order the correct amount of lunches), and then clean up.

12:47 – 2:47 – Time for my lunch! I usually take about 15 minutes for myself to eat and step away from work. I spend the remainder of my free period making parent phone calls, preparing future tutorial materials, or doing work for my secondary duty. Aside from my tutorial obligations, I work with Academic Support. My focus is to track and support new and retained students to make sure they are offered the help and material to succeed in school. I meet with the retained students during homeroom to have a weekly check-in, listen to their questions or concerns and review their work and performance for the week. In addition, I work with those students’ tutors to see how myself or other staff can better support the tutors and the students.

2:50 – 3:45 –  I begin my 10th grade geometry tutorial. On Mondays and Wednesdays my group does the tutorial packet given for geometry that week, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays we utilize a math computer program called ALEKS.

3:54 – All students are dismissed from class, I quickly make sure my tutorial area is clean and then head outside to assist with dismissal for the day.

4:00 – 5:00 – On Mondays and Tuesdays some students stay after school for PM Academy. The purpose of this time is for students to be able to do their homework for that night as well as get assistance from their tutors on any of their class material. In the winter I will be helping coach the boys basketball team. We will practice three days a week at a local gym in Newark after school and have a study hall for the remaining two days of the week.

5:15 – I leave school and head to the gym at Rutgers Newark. When I get home I make dinner and finish any prep work for the week or help grade the 10th grade College Action class materials. Usually students will text me for help on their homework assignments or some will call if they just need someone to talk with.

Kelly Benck graduated from Gonzaga University with a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry. After her year of service, she will pursue a career in medicine as a physician.