HTM Blog

Connecting learning and community.

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



When I first started in adult ed as a tutor, the other volunteer in the class was an Amherst College student. 

She was there as part of a course in the English Department at Amherst . The students read, write and think about education, then see it in action as volunteers.

The partnership continues, although my role has changed a bit. Now, a couple of evenings each semester I drive up to Amherst to conduct tutor training with a colleague from The Literacy Project, then the students spend the semester tutoring in Holyoke and Ware.

This semester, snow and schedules, meant we held two trainings within 8 days of each other, so it was on my mind, but I wasn't quite sure what to say about it.  We do it every semester. It's good. We have 3 students working in Holyoke this spring. *shrug* 

However, the research (and common sense, and most religious traditions) say how valuable it is to feel and express appreciation.

And there is much that I do appreciate about this partnership.

Such as ... 

… holding trainings over dinner, and the warm conversational tone that sets. It's a wonderful, receptive, engaged environment in which to train 

… Not just dinner, often home cooked dinner by faculty hosts who have mastered the art of cooking for a crowd without making it seem a production. I have added this art to my life-goals list.

… The care that everyone puts into maintaining this partner relationship. The kindness and commitment to making it work with which people approach limitations.

… Learning this history of the partnership (which predates my involvement by years) this semester. I particularly appreciate that it's a history of good idea, trial, reflection, improvement, retrial.

… How open and thoughtful and ready to be impressed by my adult students, the Amherst students are.

… Talking about adult education with new people is a sure way to remind myself why I'm in this field, and what I appreciate about it. Doing it with a colleague from a different organization gives me new thoughts, questions, takes on things, to ponder on the ride home.

… We learn by building Legos, looking at student work, trying things out, but also by telling stories, listening to stories, reading stories, reflecting on stories.

… How deep the conversation goes. Our take aways' from two sessions are philosophical: What a cool, joyous experience learning can be; Vulnerability; Listening to stories and thinking about the privilege of education; our intentionally slow learning pace in contrast with the frantic-ness of the rest of the world; the confidence and knowledge it takes to play with ideas and concepts; seeing each other, and the adult students as resources; the weight of people relying on you

How do I become a tutor?
Thoughtful v.5: Not Knowing

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Thursday, 20 January 2022

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