A Q&A with APIE Virtual Volunteers

This fall, APIE’s Math Classroom Coaching and Mentoring programs have gone virtual to support Austin students in these challenging times. We’re grateful to our 300+ volunteers who are showing up virtually for students each week! For the first time in our history, we have several volunteers from outside of the Austin are—one of the unexpected benefits of virtual volunteering! Check out our Q&A below with two of these out-of-town volunteers: Jim Harris from Houston, Texas, and Uyen Pham from Lincoln, Nebraska. They share what it’s like to virtually volunteer with our Math Classroom Coaching program an how it’s making a real difference for Austin students. Our programs will continue in a virtual format in the spring, so if you aren’t already a volunteer, visit austinpartners.org to learn more and sign up today!

Jim Harris | Houston, Texas

Q: How has your experience as a Virtual Math Classroom Coach been so far?  

A: Great!  Mrs. Bosse has done an outstanding job preparing materials so we can help guide the kids through what they need to know to help prepare them to pass the StAAR test and Mrs. Bootz’ training program has made us better tutors.  I especially like the 20 minute feedback sessions after each tutoring session as we all share and learn from each other to help maximize student learning.

Q: This is the first time in our nonprofit’s history that we’ve had volunteers from outside of the Austin area. Can you share what made you interested in volunteering as a Virtual Math Classroom Coach and working with Austin students?

A: I am a provisionally certified math teacher in Texas and was looking for a way to help kids part time and build experience which makes me a better teacher and tutor.

Q: What do you think are some of the benefits of virtual volunteering?

A: Reduced covid risk for all involved, the kids get energetic free tutoring because we are all here because we want to be, and the tutors can improve and hone their tutoring skills.

Q: What impact do you hope to have on your students?

A: I want to help them build confidence, pass the STAAR test, and have fun while doing it.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for show up for students each week, especially during these challenging times?

A: I think they need something that they can count on and to see that someone cares and wants to listen to them.

 

Uyen Pham | Lincoln, Nebraska

Q: How has your experience as a Virtual Math Classroom Coach been so far?  

I kind of had a difficult experience in the beginning because my students were not as comfortable answering questions and it would take a while for me to get a response (sometimes they would not even answer!); however, as we reached week 3, they had definitely become more comfortable with me as well as one another which made our time together more productive and fun!

Q: This is the first time in our nonprofit’s history that we’ve had volunteers from outside of the Austin area. Can you share what made you interested in volunteering as a Virtual Math Classroom Coach and working with Austin students?

When browsing through Voluntermatch.org, I gravitated toward this opportunity because it was virtual, had to do with helping students, and involved math.

Q: What do you think are some of the benefits of virtual volunteering?

Something I love about virtual tutoring is that it is convenient and can be more comfortable for students because they are in their home, an environment where they hopefully feel safe and are comfortable.

Q: What impact do you hope to have on your students?

I hope that I can help them be more confident in math and possibly even develop an enjoyment for it. One of my favorite subjects is chemistry not because I was a natural at it, but it was because I had a peer tutor who helped me understand it and become more confident in it which ultimately lead to my love for it. Hopefully, I can do the same for these students at Dobie [Middle School] or at least get them to tolerate math!

Q: Why do you think it’s important for show up for students each week, especially during these challenging times?

Showing up each week for these students is important because it shows them that there are people, besides their teachers and family, who care about their education and future.

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