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We Teach Science Mentor Orientation - RTM 6.0
Transcript of We Teach Science Mentor Orientation - RTM 6.0
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
THE NUTS AND BOLTS
Take the next step towards becoming a mentor with We Teach Science.
Use this link to log in to our website and take the orientation quiz. Once you've passed the quiz, we'll contact you about next steps. We look forward to working with you!
and on top of all of that...
Turn It Around
The U.S. ranks 31st internationally in mathematics.
What Makes a Mentor?
Getting to Know Your Student
Dealing with Conflicts
The Mission Statement
The We Teach Science Foundation works to motivate, mentor, and inspire K-12 American public school students to achieve excellence in the disciplines of math and science.
That's a big goal.
So what do we actually do?
We connect Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professionals with under-performing math students for Remote Tutoring and Mentoring (RTM). Students get help in math and develop a relationship with a caring adult.
See our program in action.
We Teach Science was founded in 2008.
We Teach Science is now a national organization.
In the Fall 2013, the Remote Tutoring and Mentoring program launched its first year in Dallas, Texas. We are looking forward to expanding in to new districts in the area!
In 2011, We Teach Science's tutoring and mentoring became an in-school program.
The Remote Tutoring and Mentoring program started out as an after-school activity, but has since moved to an in-class model. We find this to be more effective for reaching students and providing a consistent mentoring relationship.
The program is continuing to grow!
In January 2014 we added a school district in San Leandro, CA and we're looking to expand in the same East Bay area in the fall. Future states are on the horizon! Stay tuned!
2014 and beyond
The History of We Teach Science
Our organization hasn't been around very long, but a lot has changed in a short amount of time. Learn a little about where we've been, how things are now, and where we're going in the future.
Organization founder Aragon Burlingham talks about the history of the organization.
The Technical Side
A Remote Tutoring and Mentoring program obviously requires some technology to run smoothly. Explore the details of how we use our interactive whiteboard to create the best mentoring program we can.
By building a relationship with the student you work with, you become a trusted adult and a caring mentor. We Teach Science strongly believes that this relationship is just as important as helping students understand math concepts.
Our program would be a lot less effective if mentors didn't step up week after week. Learn about what's expected of mentors and what resources the We Teach Science Foundation provides.
We provide access to the course materials your student will be using - depending on the school in may be handouts, or it may be a textbook. These are great tools for preparing for a session or remembering a particular math concept.
We Teach Science maintains a list of great online math resources, including videos and short articles. If you find yourself needing a refresher on a particular concept, these links will give you a quick rundown on what you need to know. Check them out here: http://weteachscience.org/mentoring/resources.
By Mentors, for Mentors
Some of our mentors have developed great lesson plans for teaching particular concepts, and we've published them on our website so that you can benefit from their expertise. Similarly, if you come up with a great module (particularly one that relates some real-life concept or hobby to what they're doing in class), let us know! We'll post it online so that everyone can benefit. Check out previous lessons here: http://weteachscience.org/mentoring/resources/lesson-plans
In addition to online resources, your Program Coordinator will be giving you all the information you need to mentor successfully. This includes:
Making it Work
Of course our number one priority is student success, but we want to make sure that our mentors are supported and successful as well. Here are some resources you'll use.
The We Teach Science Foundation staff is here for you every step of the way. Learn more about your Program Coordinators and coaches and how they're available to support you.
Welcome to the We Teach Science Mentor Orientation!
We're excited at the possibility of working with you.
Start out by learning about our organizational goals and vision.
being a teenager is complicated!
Math is the gateway to higher learning.
It is the language of science and engineering.
In the districts We Teach Science serves
of students will pass their state algebra
exam. This is true of districts around the country (in California, in Texas, in Georgia...)
Our mentors help change these statistics.
In specific districts...
The drop in scores in Texas is due to a new, more rigorous standardized test that rolled out in 2012. In California, a new Common Core exam (based on a set of national standards for schools) will be introduced in Fall 2014.
Without understanding math, it's hard to pass high school exit examinations, do well on the SAT, or fulfill the requirements that allow you to graduate from high school. In short, college becomes much harder to reach.
Without a solid foundation in math, students will find that most STEM fields are closed to them.
We lose potential engineers, chemists, economists, and software developers every day.
By being a mentor and role model, you give students who have been struggling with math additional support, encouragement, resources, and an additional listening ear.
You can be a role model at a pivotal time.
Think back to your own middle school and high school experience. Everyone goes through some tough stuff as a teenager, but good mentors can make the experience better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Show Up?
Meet the Program Coordinators
What Your PC Does
Contact them when...
*PISA stands for the Program for International Student Assessment. This test measures the mathematical literacy of 15 year old students in many countries. Learn more at http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results.htm.
Despite being a center of technological innovation, the U.S. mathematics score was lower than the overall average.
percent of students passing
Finding Your Way
The GroupWorld Platform
A Quick Tutorial
To get started mentoring with We Teach Science, there are just a few easy tech requirements that need to be met.
Learn about our computer and equipment needs and suggestions.
Hardware and Software Requirements
You are REQUIRED to have a headset with a built-in microphone.
Without it, your student will hear an echo - and that does not help create a fun or productive session! Your student will also have a headset with a built-in microphone. Feel free to contact We Teach Science for product ideas or recommendations.
*Depending on what school district you are placed in, you may also need a webcam.
We host all of the whiteboards for tutoring and mentoring on our website, http://www.weteachscience.org. Here's a quick tutorial on how to navigate to the resources you need quickly and easily.
1. Head to the schools tab.
3. Log in to our website.
In order to see the whiteboard you share with the student, you'll need to log in. You'll be given a username and password once you're matched with a student.
2. Find your school page.
All of the information relevant to being an awesome mentor is filed away under our schools section on the website.
Your school page will be a home base of sorts for all of your activities with We Teach Science. You'll find the interactive whiteboard you share with your student, information on scheduling, and weekly updates on class content here. The school page is specific to a particular class at a single school, so all the information here will be directly relevant to you, rather than the program as a whole.
The entire Remote Tutoring and Mentoring program is made possible by an interactive whiteboard platform known as GroupWorld. Learn more about how the program works and how we use it at We Teach Science.
You'll become a GroupWorld expert as you mentor with We Teach Science. Here are a few basics to get you started.
Give it a try!
Visit the We Teach Science test rooms:
Download the plug-in, and feel free to play around with the whiteboard. Let us know if you have questions!
Your whiteboard will be set up as a 'room' you share with your student. You MUST log-in to see it.
You'll access the room from the school page once you're matched with a student. The room will save things you write on the whiteboard - so you can come back to a difficult problem during the next week if you want.
All your mentoring sessions are recorded.
If you're ever curious about how a particular session or explanation went, feel free to go back and listen. This also allows We Teach Science staff to give you some helpful mentoring tips.
Even though you're not in the classroom, someone is.
The Program Coordinators are in the classroom for every RTM session. So you're not alone - if you're having problems, there's someone on site to help.
Helen Dorsey - Texas - email@example.com
Lucien Wainie - Texas - firstname.lastname@example.org
Candice Bossoletti - Pacifica - email@example.com
Jennifer Ortez - Berryessa - firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Otto - East Bay - email@example.com
or find us all at
In short, we ask you to show up because you make a difference. Students do better on standardized tests, develop an understanding of basic math concepts, and gain confidence in math. Explore the impacts and results of the RTM program.
Many of our mentors share the same concerns. Here's some information about how the program functions and how our expectations work with your busy schedule.
Now that you know more about the organization and our tutoring and mentoring program, learn about our specific expectations of We Teach Science mentors.
Q: When are the in-person events? When will I be mentoring?
Q: How does matching work?
Q: What if my student contacts me outside of WTS events?
A: Our students are told the same thing you are - to limit contact to inside the program. If one of them gets in touch with you (say on Facebook) don't respond. Instead, contact your Program Coordinator, who will deal with the situation.
Q: What kind of prep is required?
A: You should have the time in your schedule to read the
emails PCs send out and you should expect to spend a little time preparing for each session, particularly at the beginning. If you're feeling rusty with a topic, we have lots of resources for you. We are here to help, but ultimately, you'll need to make sure you're feeling comfortable with the material.
A Mentor Is:
A Mentor Is Not:
In addition to the ongoing staff support, We Teach Science offers chances for skill development through ongoing trainings. We offer
on subjects like "Working on Word Problems" or "Engaging your Student" - things that focus on educational and mentoring best practices.
Contact Camille Stone (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
You can continue to develop your skills as a tutor and mentor while you work with us.
Show up on time each week.
Inform your Program Coordinator when you can't make it.
On average, come to three out of every four RTM sessions.
Get to know your student and share your life experiences.
Come to the in-person events.
a reliable, relatable adult who can give advice
a source of help with homework and math problems
a good listener
a knowledgeable source of wisdom about careers and college
a user of both math and common sense in the 'real world'
a caring role model
a teacher - you can pause in the middle of a lesson and play tic-tac-toe or talk about the latest baseball game
a parent - you can be silly and nonjudgmental, even when homework doesn't get done
a peer - you can give good advice and see things from a broader perspective
Find a common interest.
Know what's going on in their life.
Understand that everyone has bad days.
Follow these important guidelines.
Be Part of a Program that Works
You can leverage all of these resources to be both a better tutor and a better mentor.
If you ever have questions, just ask the We Teach Science staff.
In addition to the Program Coordinators, you'll also work with our coaches throughout the year. Their expertise in teaching math and mentoring youth means that they're full of good advice and tips.
The coaches aren't there to criticize - they're around to give you helpful feedback. Feel free to contact them if you have questions about their feedback or if you'd like them to review a particular session.
The coaches will provide feedback on four key principles of good mentoring.
Who are the coaches?
What do the coaches do, exactly?
The We Teach Science coaches are former math teachers who are interested in helping you become a better tutor and mentor. So whether you're having trouble figuring out an explanation for turning a word problem into an equation, or you're not exactly sure how to connect with your student, your coach will have some ideas for you.
All your sessions with your student are recorded. Four times a year, the coach will review one of your recent sessions, and they'll fill out a feedback form (available in the mentor handbook). They'll forward their ideas and tips to you. You're always welcome to reach out to coaches to get more specific ideas or to ask questions about their feedback.
How do you engage your student in the math problems by asking good questions?
Building Mathematical Understanding
How do you help your student understand complex, abstract concepts like variables and negative numbers? Can you explain concepts multiple ways?
How well do you engage your student? Do you provide insight into the larger world and offer good advice?
Engaging Your Student
Do you encourage the student to participate and answer questions? Is the session more like a conversation or a lecture?
Maybe you both love soccer, or you play the same instrument. Finding a common interest will allow you to relate to your student better. Even if you don't share all their interests, you'll connect with the student when you know what they enjoy doing.
If they were going on a cool vacation, ask how it went. If they were feeling sick last week, make a point of asking if they're feeling better. By remembering things about your student besides their math grade, you demonstrate that you care about them.
Remember that even though the students are young, they still have problems and stress in their lives. Maybe a friend said something mean at lunch, or they're going through tough stuff at home. You can relate to them and encourage them when they're feeling down.
Many of the students We Teach Science helps are often uncomfortable with math - and the statistics show why. It's hard to be constantly engaged in subjects you find difficult or uninteresting. Here are some tips for dealing with disengaged, angry, or frustrated students.
We Teach Science Program Coordinators talk about how to deal with disengaged students.
We want our mentors to be there for our students. That means holding up your end of the deal - if you show up on time each week, you'll demonstrate to your student that you're committed to helping them succeed.
If the Program Coordinator knows ahead of time, they can help make sure that the student has other stuff to do that day. We know that occasionally something comes up at the last minute, but try to give us as much advance warning as you can.
*Do not rely on communication with your student to replace communication with your PC. Students don't always have the best of memories, so communicate with the adults.
We know you have a busy schedule. However, we also want to make the experience as consistent as possible for our students. For that reason, we ask that you be able to show up to
three out of every four RTM sessions
(on average). Let us know when you're going to be gone, and we'll do our best to work with your schedule and availability at program launch so you don't have to miss too many sessions.
Spend some time talking about common interests. Also, share your middle school, high school and college experiences with your student. This gives them a broader context for how getting into a certain career path works.
in-person events* at the school throughout the year. These events are a great opportunity to meet and work with your student face-to-face outside of the whiteboard.
Meet Your Mentor
In-Person Tutoring and Mentoring
At the very beginning of the year, mentors are
to attend the school kick-off event where students get to meet their mentor face-to-face. This is a great way to bond with your student at the beginning, and it sets you up for a successful school year.
Finally, at the end of the year, we
you to come have fun :) by throwing a party at the school (with food)! All the mentors will be there to celebrate with their students.
Share your life experiences, but don't get too personal.
Your time is your best gift.
Please limit your contact with your student to the WTS program.
A: We establish the schedule on a school-by-school basis. Your Program Coordinator will be in touch with dates as soon as you finish our onboarding process and are matched with a student.
We Teach Science Program Coordinators introduce themselves.
A: Matching is one-on-one, and is based on finding a good mentoring pair with common interests. It lasts the whole school year. It is also based on availability - so make sure you've marked down your schedule on your We Teach Science application.
twice weekly e-mails letting you know what students are working on & other important news
information on how your student is doing in class
your student's math pretest score
timely information about program dates and school vacations.
You're having audio problems during a session.
You need to miss a session for any reason.
You want to come for your in-person tutoring and mentoring session.
You're having trouble connecting with your student.
You're worried about teaching a particular math concept.
...or any time you have questions!
Program Coordinators are there to make sure the whole program runs smoothly. Each PC is assigned to a particular school. They are in the classroom for every RTM session. They're also your principal contact for the program - if you're having problems or questions, get in touch with them. They serve as a liason with the teacher and the school. So essentially, if you have any concerns, your Program Coordinator should be your first stop.
It's fine to share what's going in your day-to-day life, but obviously your student doesn't need to know everything. Likewise, you shouldn't expect that they'll share everything with you.
We really believe that your time and commitment to this program is valuable. Please refrain from bringing gifts (even ones useful for school) to your student at in-person events.
For the safety of both you and your student, please remember that you're working with youth.
Limit your contact to We Teach Science events.
In particular, don't offer additional homework help or give your student your contact information. Contacting your student outside of RTM results in a violation of the code of ethics you signed on your application, and it violates the agreement that parents sign to allow their child to participate in our teacher-supervised RTM program.
Hence, any such violations will lead to a dismissal from our program.
In addition to providing a mentor to a student, we've found that the time you put in teaching them math makes a big difference. Check out some of We Teach Science's results.
This is why we ask you to show up for your student every week. You really make an impact - both as a supportive adult and as a math tutor.
You also may not be matched with a student right at the beginning of the school year. Why? So that when a mentor has to leave for any reason, we have strong mentors who can fill their place.
*If you are part of the Purely Remote Tutoring & Mentoring (PRTM) program, in-person sessions are not scheduled - everything is done by video.
to come for one in-person tutoring and mentoring session sometime during the school year. Just let your Program Coordinator know what date you'll be there.
You're also welcome to come to more than one in-person session.
You will need to Log-In to access the whiteboard you share with your student.
Get important contact information and find out more about the curriculum students are covering.
Computers: minimum 1 GB RAM and a processor faster than 1 GHz
Operating Systems: Windows XP/Vista/7/8, or Mac OS X 10.5* or later.
Please note that GroupWorld currently does not run on mobile devices (tablets, phones, etc).
Sometimes a company firewall will prevent you from downloading GroupWorld. If so, get in touch with IT and We Teach Science, and we'll work together to solve the problem.
Select the school your student attends from our list.
Ask good questions.
Connect with your student.
Focus on what your student needs.
Sometimes it's hard not to turn into one of your professors.
Try thinking of your mentoring session as guided practice! Many of our students don't get much time at all to practice math with someone around to help. If you let your student take the lead and ask open-ended questions that guide them along the right path, they'll get a lot more out of their sessions.
We'd like for this to be a skill you develop as you mentor. Don't worry if it takes a little time! We'll give you feedback and tips to make things easier.
It's okay if the first few weeks feel a little awkward. Investing time in creating a good relationship in the beginning will lead to more productive mentoring and tutoring down the line.
Building a relationship helps build trust.
Connect with your mentee not only as a student, but as a human being.
One of the cool things about being a mentor is that you get the time to help a specific student one-on-one. You can learn what helps them most - both in math and outside of it - and use that as a springboard to further learning and engagement.
Class curriculum is a guideline, not a rule.
We provide some updates on what the student is doing in class -
but you're not required to stick to exactly what they're working on that week.
If your student is struggling with previous concepts (like fractions, or negative numbers), you should feel free to go back to those concepts. Listen to your student, and figure out what they need. That is the beauty of this one-on-one time you have with them!
We're not checking to see if you're spending a certain portion of every session working on math. If your student is tired or losing focus, consider taking a break! Play a game of tic-tac-toe, get up and stretch, or just chat for a few minutes. By tuning in to what your student needs (including break time!) you'll be a more effective tutor and mentor in the long run.
Pause after asking a question.
Your student is definitely going to need some time to think over the awesome questions you'll ask. A good rule of thumb is to count to ten before saying something new - the pause might feel awkward, but everyone needs time to process new information. It's tempting to answer your own questions a lot, but try to resist and listen to your student.
Aim for a conversation.
Both you and your student will have more fun if the session is more like a conversation than a class. You
hear yourself delivering a math lecture. Try to let your student talk 50% of the time. This will encourage them to ask questions and go back to concepts they're having trouble with, and it will also let them know that you care about their input and their comfort with the material.
It's OK to go over concepts multiple times. Be patient with the pace you go through the material - keep working on the concepts your student doesn't quite understand. Finally, don't worry if you only get through a few problems per session - we aim for quality, not quantity.
A good place to start is to find a shared interest or something that you can use to build a good rapport. Maybe you play the same video game or watch the same TV show.
Remembering what they're up to is also a great place to start. Maybe they had relatives visiting or competed in a recent sporting event - ask about what's going on in their lives. This process will make your sessions more fun, and will help build a true mentoring relationship.
Why spend time on relationship building?
First, we want our students to have mentors who genuinely care about them.
Second, it's a lot easier to ask questions about subjects you don't understand when you TRUST the person trying to help.
Our goal is for this program to create the feel of an aunt or uncle helping you at the kitchen table - and that can't be achieved by talking about math 100% of the time.
Now that we've combined like terms, what's our next step?
Tell me about systems of equations.
What do you remember so far?
How can we tell that the answer we found is correct?
What is a way to check the answer?
*** Please note that you may not be placed in your preferred school; however, you are still
to participate in the 5 In-Person events if you're not in our PRTM program.
Attend 2 Mandatory Trainings
Twice a year, in the Fall and in the Spring, We Teach Science hosts required mentor trainings in the evening.
If you live or work near a WTSF location (SF Bay Area or Dallas) we ask that you attend in-person.
We usually have two or three different locations and dates to choose from and we give you plenty of notice so you can plan your schedule accordingly.
If you don't live in one of these areas, we will offer a webinar version.
The We Teach Science staff (many former educators) work to create presentations that are timely and useful to help you be a better mentor and tutor. These events are a great time to talk with other mentors and find solutions to any obstacles you might have encountered!
(that's 5 mandatory events all school year long)
Q: Can I remain paired with my student for more than one year?
A: It depends on which school district you're placed in. Your PC would discuss this option with you during the matching process.
* If you are using a Mac, you will also need to install XQuartz to run GroupWorld. If you have any trouble, please let us know! Here is the link: https://xquartz.macosforge.org/landing/.
The calendar is always visible on the school page & provides info about upcoming events.
(if you look at algebra)
Be a good listener.
Adults talk "at" kids all day long. If you actually let your student talk and LISTEN to them, they will find you fascinating!
What Types of Math Classes Are We Serving?
Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, we are serving 7th-10th grades. Each school district is different, but the courses could be:
7th or 8th grade Integrated Math
(Common Core pre-algebra, algebra, statistics, and geometry)
Read and Respond to Emails
We send out emails twice a week.
Sometimes, depending on the time of year, there may be more.
We understand that you are very busy, but email is our main form of communication with you.
These e-mails give you information about what's happening in the classroom as well as upcoming events or possible schedule changes.
While we are very cognizant of your busy schedule, we do expect that you read our messages and respond if necessary. You are now a part of the WTSF family, and all communication is meant to help you be a better mentor to your student.
Sounds like a no-brainer!,
The top of the school page has contact information and important links for both mentors and students.
(if you live or work near your student's school district)