HTM Blog

Connecting learning and community.

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

It's hard to believe, but it's almost time to start recruiting new tutors for the next school year. The process has me reflecting on how our volunteers join our team. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________A dozen interviews will teach you a thing or two. Fortunately I wa...
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Thoughtful v.7: Failing

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking. V.1. So much of learning (and life)  is facing not being good at something (yet!) and moving through that.  And so much of adult ed (and life)  is reckoning with past mistakes. So, thoughtful people facing and re-thinking failure: On Being Wrong (Kathryn Shultz at...
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Community

How do you create a caring, connected community? Maybe it's just me, but feels like one of the big, important questions right now. It's also a practical one: our mission statement starts with that goal, "creating a community'' (And, not just any community, "a caring, connected" one, "where everyone can learn, teach and contribute") That noun, commu...
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Awesome (aka Student of the Year)

"Adult learners are awesome" This is how I start most presentations I give about adult ed. There are other things to say about the field that are important, but this feels like an essential foundation for the discussion. They're awesome because education is important enough in their lives that they're fitting it in among work, kids, the friend who ...
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Training Take Aways

I started our training cycle with Overview sessions in August, and calendar setting in July. I've been following that calendar with announcements, lesson planning, training sessions and follow up ever since. Some months I do a lot of training, some months, less, but as of 3 weeks from now, I'll be done for the year (until the next calendar setting ...
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Tips

​It was a good idea. Have a master list of HiSET tips that tutors could use to help students. Except I didn't have one. I did have an idea: we could probably assemble a great one if we all shared the tips that we knew. And, then we could share it with all of the tutors in HTM and the teachers we work with in the various Juntos Collab...
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Thoughtful v.6: Speaking

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking. V.6. I spent the week preparing for and holding a workshop on tutoring English for Speakers of Other Languages, so I have language on the brain. (And have been inspired to practice my Spanish a little more frequently. I'm listening to Spanish music as I type this) So, for this week'...
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What it really takes

Last week I shared an infographic about the application process for our volunteers. The requirements really are requirements. And those steps really are the steps in the process.But, that's not really what it takes. When I'm doing that interview, those references for, I'm really looking (well, listening) for…. Someone who works and communicates we...
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How do I become a tutor?

​I get a lot of email from kind, enthusiastic people who would like to contribute to the community asking how, exactly, does one become a tutor? The short answer: Email me. There are steps, but I'll walk you through them. The longer answer: Here's an infographic What it takes: We make individual placements of volunteers in a particular classr...
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Appreciation

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 cou...
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Thoughtful v.5: Not Knowing

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking. V.5. Not KnowingOne of my favorite discussions in our training is handling not knowing. The short answer to the dilemma of not knowing the answer to a students' question is to show them how to look it up. The big, long, deep answer is that  adult ed teaches all of us (...
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Transformations

I stood in the dark at the end of a work event, a colleague and I up to our ankles in snow,  talking about transformation and hope and realism (when we really should have been getting into our cars and driving home before it got any later than it already was)  Adult ed does that to you sometimes. (Or maybe any field that you car...
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Thoughtful v.4: Believing

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking. V.4. If I were an undergrad again I'd be A) thrilled (full time liberal arts student is probably my dream job) B) busy with a quadruple or quintuple major (so many interesting things I didn't know to study when I was 19). Among my multiple majors would be psychology, so a f...
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What does $20,000 get you?

What does $20,000 get you?CNN sent reporters into Central Park to hear answers to this question. I've been pondering this question not because I have $20,000 to spend on Hawaiian vacations or student loan payoffs (popular answers in Central Park) but because last week, with January reports starting to come in, the value of volunteer time donat...
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"See? I can't do it!"

Of all the HiSET subject tests, the writing test is the one that would stress me out. There are five tests in all (reading, writing, math, science and social studies) They're all standardized tests with multiple choice questions, a ticking clock, and high stakes,  so there's not a lot that's fun about any of them (exce...
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I love data

I love data ( you might have guessed that from my previous post) I love the way it can make a vague thing concrete and relatable. I like the challenge of setting up the right spreadsheet and formula to show something meaningful. I'll be honest, I appreciate the clear feedback and evidence of our success. So I had a lot of fun putting together ...
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Finding hope in the numbers

.Like everyone else I know, I split my professional time between my actual job and conversations about the weather,  paper jams in the photocopier, 'do we have any [insert random office supplies]?' and the other minutia of work-life.One gray day early this winter, I started my work day with a conversation that segued quickly to the news. Not a...
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Thoughtful v.3: Serving

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking. V.3. ServingAs we come up to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day of service for many, and reflection for others, a few links about the role of service and community in our lives. Science (or at least, these researchers say): time feels more spacious when you do something for others &...
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New Year, New Mission Statement

Welcome to 2017! I'm excited to welcome the new year with a refresh of our mission statement.At Holyoke Tutor/Mentor we are creating a caring, connected community where everyone can learn, teach and contribute. To do this, we bring together adult learners pursuing their dreams, teachers building supportive classrooms and volunteer tutors ...
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Thoughtful v.2: Learning

Thoughtful, a small collection of links to inspire your thinking. V.2.  LearningI love being in education because I love learning, myself. (I've learned I also love learning how we learn) So this week's thoughtful links on learning. How our brains imagine new things(Huge) round up of websites to learn almost anything  6 learning stra...
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