SJS Students Tutor over Zoom
Preparing sandwiches on campus with classmates, riding the bus to Love Elementary to tutor, and even building houses in Costa Rica were some of the popular community service projects that St. John’s students participated in before the pandemic.
However, COVID-19 has certainly changed the way that we are able to interact with our community. The pandemic has created many virtual community service options, opening up new opportunities for us to get involved within our community. This summer, many St. John’s students participated in virtual community service projects, one of the most popular being tutoring.
During the first few weeks of summer, many St. John’s students participated in a project called Summer Express, where students virtually tutored refugee children in math and English.
Junior Isabella Gidi was one of the leaders of the project, and her responsibilities included compiling materials for the math instructors, creating activities for the children, and serving as the head teacher for the math section. Isabella individually tutored a student in math and English and had the opportunity to visit her student in her home after the program ended.
“It was one of the best moments of my life,” Gidi said.
Junior Talia Martin was also one of the tutors for Summer Express.
“It can be challenging at times because the kids can lose focus on Zoom, but it was really fun to hang out with them,” Martin said.
In addition to volunteering with Summer Express, Community Tutoring was another option for St. John’s students. Each tutor at Community Tutoring creates their own personal SignUpGenius, which allows them to decide which days and times they are available to meet with students. This provides flexibility if they are going on a vacation or have a conflict on a particular day. I participated in Community Tutoring, and I appreciated the flexibility to create my own tutoring schedule throughout the summer.
St. John’s students tutor people in typical academic subjects, such as math and English, but they also had the opportunity to teach their students a new language through English Connection, a project that focuses on teaching people living in Brazil how to speak English. Junior Louise Terry is one of the founders of this project, and she was hard at work this summer, giving 5-8 lessons a week.
“Teaching English is super fun because you become close with people that you never would have met any other way. You figure out a lot of similarities with the people you connect with,” Terry said.
“It was bittersweet to end,” said Junior Lucia Varma, a fellow tutor at English Connection, after finishing her last lesson with her student this summer.
Learning about my classmates' experiences as well as reflecting upon my own have shown me that, even virtually, we can still make a significant difference in our community. COVID-19 has taken a toll on the education of many, but virtual tutoring opportunities such as these have allowed us to try and rebuild the pieces and give back to our community.
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