June 23, 2020Print | PDF
When Waterloo Region first became involved in a province-wide shutdown, Vidyard, a video platform for businesses located in Kitchener, Ontario, reached out to local hospitals to help support the needs of their healthcare workers. In addition to meals, PPE and letters of thanks, another unique area of need they discovered was tutoring for healthcare workers’ children.
With schools being moved to virtual environments, as well as daily/weekly instruction and assignments provided by teachers, many children needed additional assistance to complete their school work. However, working parents were unable to provide this support because many were working away from their homes and families.
Laurier's Faculty of Education was approached by Vidyard to help support this initiative. As many alternative practicum opportunities were cancelled or postponed, Laurier's teacher candidates were looking for initiatives where they could use their skills to support students in the region while fulfilling their requirements to graduate. Transitioning to a virtual teaching model was an adjustment, but the candidates were able to take on this challenge to support students, as well as to enhance their new teaching strategies as educators.
Some of our teacher candidates have shared their experiences with this unique opportunity:
"I would say my experience as a volunteer tutor has been very rewarding. Every family I have worked with was very excited, thankful and appreciative. The kids are eager to talk with someone new and learn new skills. It’s also a great learning experience for me as a teacher candidate because it allows me to try new things with students in a more relaxed and informal setting."
"I remember being so excited when I received the email for the opportunity to tutor and support children of healthcare workers during this time. It was exactly what I was looking for and the timing of it could not have been more perfect. My experience with this initiative through Vidyard has been so rewarding, and I love signing on and seeing the children smile each week. The children and parents have been so receptive and they never fail to remind me how appreciative they are for my help and support. I feel that I am able to give just a little bit back to the community during this time, while these children and their families are at the forefront of everything going on. I am amazed at how the children have adapted to online learning, and all the work that parents and teachers are doing to support them as well. This initiative has made me feel extra grateful and excited to be going into a career in education and to be a part of this community. Thank you Vidyard and Laurier for this opportunity, we are stronger together!"
"Tutoring online is definitely a learning curve. By not having the same resources I normally would have access to has been tricky. It has definitely allowed me to get creative! I needed to adjust my teaching and ways of explaining concepts right off the bat. For example, I had to make sure I was very clear and thorough when demonstrating. I was nervous to help a grade 7 student with their math, when I had mostly focused on younger grades in my previous placements. It was out of my comfort zone for sure! However, this opportunity has given me a new sense of confidence while teaching as well as a new set of skills that I can use in my future teaching career.
Being able to see my student understand, grasp, and excel in her work is encouraging and exciting! It was interesting for me to see the resources that her teacher was using because I had not been exposed to them in my previous placements. I am now able to utilize some of these resources for my future classes. I think my student has taken very well to these meetings and I feel like she is getting more confident in her math skills. These meetings are giving her extra opportunities to practice and improve her skills. I definitely have a new respect for online teaching. I hope to be able to continue tutoring and continue to build connections with students in this unique way."
The Faculty of Education is very proud of our teacher candidates for stepping up to give back to the region during this time of uncertainty for the community. Their work has provided Vidyard a way to help facilitate tutoring support and allowed them to gain more experience and exposure while fulfilling their alternative placements.
We are grateful to Vidyard for coordinating and facilitating this opportunity that has provided tutoring support from Laurier’s Faculty of Education and local school boards to over 20 children.
For those interested in learning more about the program, contact Laura Galbraith (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Director of Community Impact at Vidyard.