MEET THE CHILDREN
On Monday, Esti* finds herself in the special ed classroom once again. Esti has no trouble keeping up with the curriculum; she has trouble keeping quiet when it’s time for silent work. There are only so many outbursts that her teachers and classmates can tolerate before Esti needs to be transferred to a different room. In the resource room, the teachers are not quite sure what to do with her. Esti doesn’t really belong there as her learning skills are fine. What she needs is somebody to help her practice better classroom skills. Esti needs to first learn those skills so that she can implement them in a regular classroom setting. Moving her to the resource room may help her classmates, but it doesn’t help Esti.
On Tuesday, Dina* once again turns in an empty homework sheet. Dina’s mother is too busy at night to help her 7th grader with her homework. Dina didn’t understand the instructions on the homework sheet so she did not review any of the material learned the day before. Not only did she miss the review that homework would have given her, she now begins her day flooded with anxiety as she waits to see how her teacher will react. Like all people, Dina doesn’t learn well when she’s anxious, and Tuesday night finds her once again staring blankly at another homework sheet.
On Wednesday, Tzvi* finally came back to school. Tzvi is a bright child who normally participates in class, does his work in a timely manner and finishes his homework independently. About a month ago, Tzvi hurt himself badly when he fell off his bike, and he spent the past four weeks in the hospital and at home in bed. Tzvi is excited to be back in school, but when the teacher starts talking he feels lost when he realizes that the rest of the class covered a lot of material while he was gone.
On Thursday, it is Leah’s* turn to read aloud in her special reading group. There are five girls in the reading group, but Leah is by far the slowest. While the others are learning how to find characters, plot and other literary elements in a story, Leah is still struggling with decoding. The other girls fidget as Leah reads at an excruciatingly slow pace. Leah feels her cheeks get hot as she grows more and more uncomfortable.
On Friday, Menachem* doesn’t go to school at all. His parents know where he is, but he is there against their will. Menachem skips school often, and nobody knows why. He won’t talk to his parents about it, and his Rebbe and principal have had no better luck. With no competent adult in his life to confide in, there is nobody to help Menachem deal with the demons that are causing him to skip school and sink deeper and deeper into a hole.
What all these children have in common, is that each one can benefit from an adult who will work one-on-one with him or her.
A mentor can help a child who is dealing with non-academic issues that are having a negative affect on the child’s school performance or general behavior. Whether the cause is rooted in a difficult personality, a challenging home life or negative influence from friends, a one-on-one mentor provides a child with a secure place where he can work on himself and grow. Every child has strengths and positive qualities. A mentor can tune into these to help build them up so that the child feels more confident, secure and happy with himself. A child who is happy with himself will generally make smarter and better choices.
A tutor can help a child who needs assistance keeping up with his or her class. Whether the trouble stems from learning differences, reading problems, confidence issues, a large gap in attendance or a move to a new school, a tutor who works one-on-one with a child is well positioned to help the child learn at an optimal pace.
WHAT THEY EACH NEED
The resource room at school is geared towards helping groups of children with learning differences. It isn’t fair to Esti or the other children there, to use that space as a “time-out” for poor behavior. The things that are taught in the resource room may not be what Esti needs to learn at all. Perhaps Esti needs a boost of self-esteem, or maybe she needs to learn impulse control. Developing a new hobby or skill can do wonders for Esti as well.
A mentor can help Esti find her innate strengths and talents so that she can focus on her positive side and improve her classroom behavior. A mentor will build a relationship with Esti while modeling and teaching appropriate skills. As she grows, Esti will develop the tools she needs to change the way she acts in the classroom. This one-on-one interaction with a mentor can be the key to helping Esti succeed.
Dina needs somebody to help her with her homework. She’s a bright child, but the instruction part is often confusing for her. I f she can’t figure out what to do then she can’t get started. A tutor can come to her home after school to review the material she has learned in class, help her with her homework and teach her some executive functioning skills that will allow her to become a more independent learner. Working with the classroom teacher, the tutor can pre-teach the material to Esti. She will then be able to follow the lessons taught in class instead of falling behind. In addition to ensuring that she remains on track, this will boost Dina’s confidence and enable her to be a better learner in school.
Even though he is a bright student, Tzvi can gain a lot by working with a tutor to catch up to the rest of his class. While he was out, Tzvi was not in the right frame of mind for learning. Additionally, the pain medications often made his mind fuzzy. The four week gap he is suddenly facing may be too large for him to bridge on his own. Nobody wants Tzvi to fall behind, get frustrated, or give up. He doesn’t need resource room help, since he learns quickly and easily. He just needs somebody to take the time to sit down with him and present the material in an organized and comprehensive fashion. Short-term tutoring will help him catch up so he will be on par with his classmates.
It’s great that Leah is getting much needed help in the resource room. Yet despite its small size, Leah’s class still has children who are on very different levels. In such a heterogeneous group, it is difficult for Leah to get the help she sorely needs. A one-on-one tutor, either in school or at home, can work directly with Leah, focusing exclusively on her. Sessions will be tailored to her specific needs, so that Leah can get the right help she needs to succeed.
Menachem needs help. But before he can get help, he needs to be open to it. A mentor can work with Menachem to build a comfortable rapport, so that Menachem will finally find a safe space where he can open up about what is really bothering him. The mentor will help Menachem deal with these issues, teaching him skills and tools that he can use when facing a challenge. When Menachem feels more in control of his life, he will be able to make better choices and decisions.
YOU CAN HELP
A child with poor social skills, lack of confidence, anger management problems, fears, moodiness or inadequate coping strategies of any sort, can benefit from having a one-on-one mentor. Achievements Tutoring and Mentoring Services was started by Rabbi Naftali Frankel under the guidance of local Rabbanim and Mechanchim, to provide these services in a professional manner. We have both male and female mentors available to work with your child. Our skilled professionals are vetted well beyond their face-to-face interviews with our staff coordinators, including Rabbi Frankel for the boys’ tutoring, Rabbi Plotsker for the boys’ mentoring and a separate coordinator for the girls services. We carefully match up each child with a mentor who is well suited for that child’s personality and issues. Our mentors stay in touch regularly with the child’s parents and if needed with their Rebbeim, teachers and principals as well. They use our follow up system to ensure that everyone stays up-to-date on the child’s progress.
When a child is slipping behind in class, the school will often recommend tutoring. Yet most schools do not have the necessary resources to interview, hire and follow up with a cadre of tutors in all subjects. This often places the onus on the parents, who must now try to find the right match for their child, frequently with very few leads to work with. Achievements Tutoring and Mentoring Services relieves this burden by matching each child with an appropriate tutor. We have tutors specializing in subjects in both Limudei Kodesh and secular studies, including kriah, reading, writing, math and science.
When a child is in need of a tutor, the parents can call our service to request an application and discuss their child’s needs with one of our service coordinators. A teacher or principal can begin the process by contacting the parents and letting them know about our services. After the initial phone call, our service coordinator will search through all of our available tutors to find the one that is the best fit for this child’s situation. To help ensure compatibility, the child’s principal can meet with the tutor before a match is suggested to the parents. Once the tutor begins working with the child, the coordinator stays in touch with both the tutor and the parents to ensure that the goals set out are being met.
Achievements Tutoring and Mentoring Services also provides shadows in the classroom for students who need full time assistance.
To find out more about our services, or to apply, please visit our website at http://www.achievementstms.com/, or contact us at 732.987.7761 or [email protected].