For six years, Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio, has helped mold and inspire future teachers by hosting an Education Club for students in grades 9-12. The club's co-advisors are Marcia Raglin, a school counselor, and Susanne Moran, a Spanish teacher. They discussed the benefits of the education club recently with CR, and offered tips to other schools that might be interested in creating one. As Moran put it, "The purpose of Dunbar's Education Club is to provide high school students with experience as teachers, help them focus on their future, and excite them about careers in education." Or, as one member recently said, "It feels great to make a change in someone's life. The club gives you a lot of opportunities to make a difference." For more information on putting together an Education Club, e-mail Raglin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Moran at email@example.com.
How was Dunbar's Education Club created?
Marcia Raglin: Approximately six years ago, a psychologist at the elementary school up the street from us asked if we had any students at the high school who could tutor their kids. Ever since then, we've had a group of our high school students who go one day a week to the elementary school and tutor the students over there. That was the beginning of our education club.
How do you get recruits for the club?
Raglin: Dunbar is a year-round magnet school for professional studies focusing on education, medicine and law. At the beginning of the year, we have a sign-in period, in which all students can sign up for whatever club they wish. Once we get the names of interested students, we start meeting around August. From there, we fill the program. One of our main objectives was to give students the experience of actually working with, kids during high school. Hopefully, by the time they finish with us after four years actually tutoring, visiting colleges, and going on field trips, they will have finalized their decision to become an education major in college.
Have the elementary teachers who bring these students into their classrooms been impressed?
Susanne Moran: Yes. Each year we've had positive feedback, both oral and written. One 5th-grade teacher wrote, "The tutors for my class were always prompt, energetic and enthusiastic about every assignment I gave them. They were always positive and more than willing to discuss academic and social skills with my classroom students. The tutors are to be commended for a job well done."
What are some of the benefits of the club and tutoring program?
Moran: It helps the elementary students not only with their academic work, but being tutored by the older students makes them feel special. These are kids who are not singled out for anything, and they really look forward to the tutor coming. And then we found that our tutors, when they get back to Dunbar, come back with a renewed spirit and do better with their own classroom work. Some kids also blossom and come out of their shell. They feel good about helping others; and as they begin to work harder, they feel proud of themselves. And some times the kids become more than tutor and student. They become friends.
What kind of training do you put them through so they're ready to be tutors?
Moran: We usually conduct a short, one-hour training session during one of our club meetings. We focus on what a tutor is supposed to do, how do you relate to your child. What you should do, what you shouldn't do.
What type of subjects do the club members tutor in?
Moran: Whatever the elementary teacher assigns them to do. When they get there, the teacher will say, "I want you to work on spelling words this time" or "I want you to work on math"--whatever that teacher designates. We don't always pick straight-A students to tutor, either. We have picked whoever in the club has shown an interest in tutoring, and we have found that to be very profitable. …