HTM Blog

Connecting learning and community.

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

​"13 months old!"  Or "One year and one month!"(Which sounds less like I forgot when to do the "hey it's been a year post" and more like "I ​meant​ to celebrate in January"?)Either way, this blog had a birthday (December 9th), and I'm celebrating it now. I asked text analyzer (with an assist from wordle) what I'd been writing ab...
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Thoughtful v. 11: Giving

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking.V.11 ​Perhaps you, like me, have spent time this month thinking of things to give people in your life (who may or may not *need* a thing) Perhaps you have also spent time thinking of giving to those do need (many) things. I've spent time thinking about giving (and about...
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Moments

​Every month, I email our volunteers about their hours. Last month I also asked about moments. Specifically, favorite moment from their time in adult education this fall.And they came back with some beautiful responses: I read these responses and thought... Yep. It's powerful to see students learning. I probably would have said 'ah ha mom...
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Incorporating Volunteers

Our teachers are busy. Really busy. There's a lot to do and never enough time and they're running in 17 directions doing it all anyways. And, here's the honest truth.... free volunteers aren't entirely free: the cost is the time and mental energy to figure out how to use them. It's worth it, though, because volunteers can also help with big sticky ...
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Thoughtful v. 10: Ability

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking. V.10. It's an unfortunate reality that many of the adults who end up in our HiSET classes, were kids with disabilities (especially learning disabilities) who struggled in school. And that school can be a real struggle when your brain works differently than most. And, it's also t...
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Counting

We probably all have them, the moments when life (Or Bing Crosby) reminds us to count our blessings. Thanksgiving, perhaps, or a particularly hard or happy time, moments of transition, maybe.  Life provides plenty of opportunities, but working in adult education -- really, working with adult learners -- offers a particular reminder. ...
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Thoughtful v.9: Growing

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking. V.9. We talk a lot about growth mindset -- believing that our abilities grow as a result of our actions -- but the tricky part for many of us is remembering that we do most of that growing through our mistakes.  Some encouragement, for ourselves and our students...A Simple Tool ...
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Updating

It's been a rush of a fall. And in the day to day of it, it can be hard to pull back and look at the big picture of how it's going. But, I found a few minutes to do it, recently. And this is what I saw: When I look at this data --  one of my first impulses is to quibble and minimize. (Maybe you share this challenge too?) But a second...
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Wishing

​This week's post brought to you by the students in my HiSET math classes. I've been asking my students to write a note, beginning "I wish my teachers (or tutors, or advisors) knew..." for the last year or two. It's 100% taken/inspired by the viral internet story/twitter hash tag (turned book deal, apparently) It's also a beautiful b...
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Persisting

Persisting
It's a new school year, Rosh Hashanah marks a new year in the Jewish calendar, the equinox makes it officially a new season, and I'm placing new tutors in new classes. But I'm thinking about persistence. How, when it's not as shiny and new, and life creeps up on our students, they can keep at it. For most of our programs, this is the bigg...
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Advising

Last week, I posted the practical tips for new volunteers on their first day.  But here's my ​real​ advice for volunteers starting out: - Come ready to learn. You'll teach better and enjoy it more.  And there's so much to learn from the experience.- Come ready to listen, question, encourage - not lecture or dispense facts.- Come...
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Starting

 I started with HTM as a volunteer. The things I remember from my first night: I felt excited and nervous and awkward about doing something new.I said I didn't like math (I ended up a math teacher. Its ok, turns out it's more fun teaching it than sitting through 11th grade math class) A kind student with a lot of earrings tried ...
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Comparing

Summer project list: Compare HiSET exam and new GED exam. ​...Check I made the chart (Based, on this one, thanks DESE!). And I had a good time with it, I like these tasks. HiSET: 5 tests, GED: 4. GED: Multiple question types. Different costs, different rules for retesting.  Similar in x, y, z ways.  I even added a time...
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Succeeding

3 weeks into the new fiscal year, more than a month since most classes ended, firmly settled into 'summer', I think I have all of the data I am going to get for the last year. So I tallied it up, ran it through my spreadsheet, did some math. HTM volunteers gave 1771.25 hours of their time this year.and smiled.  That's an 11% inc...
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Thoughtful v.8: Immigrating

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking. V.8. As we celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, watermelon and cookouts, a few links about the newest Americans.25 Great Stories about the Immigrant Experience Summer reading, anyone?Amira in America an illustrated story about the refugee experienceLiving In America 101: When Re...
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Training

​Astonishing (at least to me), but true, the new cycle is starting for HTM. I'm recruiting new volunteers, setting up the calendar for next year, and planning trainings. I answer a lot of questions, at this time of year, about our training requirements (which -- in the service of giving volunteers options -- are a little complicated). Enough t...
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Celebrating

I spent the week celebrating with 4 of our partner programs: 3 graduations plus an impromptu Student of the Year celebration. As a result I feel (somewhat) qualified to survey 'what works in end of the year parties' Pomp and circumstance, and graduation gowns (ever though I resented the hats every time they made me wear them at my own graduations)....
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Reflecting

For many of our classes, including the ones that I teach, this is the last week of the school year. I'm devoting some of my last-week class time to asking my students to reflect on the year. Officially, it's about feedback and the information I need to improve the class, and about metacognition (awareness of how you think and learn) ((a bit of a so...
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Tutor of the Year

When I asked for nominations, I knew I was setting myself up for a difficult decision. The Tutor of the Year nominees include brand new volunteers, and those who have been here longer than I have. They work with ESOL and High School Equivalency classes. They are young professionals and retirees, male and female. And they are all -- as exp...
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Beyond "Who needs help?"

It's nice when we're all on the same page, even if that page has more than a few question marks on it. At our community gathering last weekend, David raised a topic that's been rattling around my brain and my conversations with other teachers and other volunteer coordinators all year: How can a volunteer know which students to help? And when? In so...
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