HTM Blog

Connecting learning and community.

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



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 soapbox for me, and actually important for students to develop)) And,  at the tired end of the year, with summer vacation temptingly close, it's about taking time to look back and recognize all that we've done.

I give out sticky notes and post questions on the wall, and the students grumble and hesitate, and then – every time – it's a good moment. A chance to celebrate, and remember all of the learning that's happened, and close out the year together. They give stars to each others post-its and the energy changes.

Here at HTM, it's also a month of wrapping up. Not necessarily summer vacation, but it's the start of a new cycle, visiting farmers markets to recruit new tutors. I've spent the last week or two writing annual reports about the past year and objectives and budgets about the next. So, it seems appropriate to stop and reflect here.

I don't have sticky notes, but I remember some of the questions I asked in class: What are you most proud of? What helped you this year? What was your favorite part of the year?

These are good questions, and they work for HTM, just as well as math class.

Proud of:

  • Personally, this blog. Writing each week and figuring out the technology to do it. Finding time to reflect and the words to share what we do and why it matters. These have been the source of personal and professional growth, and starting to share the story of this work is satisfying.
  • Our mission statement. I think it speaks to our values, and it reminds me of what was always true, but easy to forget. Now, it guides my thinking and challenges me to live up to it.


  • Systems. There were a couple of years there of building endless-seeming spreadsheets, assembling an operations manual full of templates and checklists; scanning and filing and sorting of information. And, this year, things were in place to work and keep a part-time, multi-site program more or less organized.
  • People. Always. I'm lucky enough to work with endlessly helpful, kind people, and for this I'm grateful.

Favorite moments:

  • The trainings. I send a lot of emails to people working remotely. It's enjoyable to meet everyone in person and spend a few hours talking about teaching and learning (I love talking about teaching and learning) In particular, I like the common experience of the Overviews – building legos in pairs, reading oral histories, talking about memory and about not knowing.
  • Hearing from tutors and teachers. This made the Tutor and Student of the Year fun and satisfying, but I also love the emails I get from volunteers and from teachers telling me how it's going and what they're doing (Hint, hint, please send more!)
Tutor of the Year


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Saturday, 25 June 2022

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