Tutoring position prepares graduate for urban education

English grad learns from challenging tutor job in Newark

When Lauren Smith lands a full-time teaching job she will be prepared for almost anything that comes her way in the classroom.

The 2012 English education graduate is a member of the tutor corps at Great Oaks Charter School in Newark, N.J. She doesn’t receive as salary, but puts in 11-hour days, receives a stipend and housing is provided.

Not a bad deal for a young, determined educator, but living and working in a diverse city that boasts a population of 277,184, is a far departure from her hometown of Big Stone City or even the college scene in Brookings.

“Newark kids are tough,” says Smith. “If I can learn to teach and manage these kids, then I can probably teach and canada pharmacy manage any kids. I wanted something extreme and demanding that would require me to run on all cylinders and do viagraonline-4betterlife things I’ve never done before.”

Jennifer Lacher-Starace, instructor in the teaching, learning and leadership, and English departments, was Smith’s student teaching supervisor. She relates that Smith initially felt intimidated about her prospects in Newark after receiving an email about her orientation schedule.

“The names of the other tutors were from places like viagra 50 mg price cvs Princeton and Yale and here she was from Brookings,” says Lacher-Starace. “I said, ‘Look, you are the best that we produced last year. You will be just fine out there . . . hold your head up high. They wouldn’t have hired you if they didn’t think you were going to work out well.’”

Impressed with credentials

As it turned out, officials http://cialisonline-online4rx.com/ at Newark discovered that Smith was one of only three tutors with a teaching certificate among the 40 tutors at the school.

“They are giving her special assignments because they recognize that she is so competent in what she is doing there,” cites Lacher-Starace. “I just feel proud of our program here and I’m very happy for her.”
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Smith, who earned her teaching certificate after student teaching at George Mickelson Middle School in Brookings, works with Newark students in sixth through eighth grade. In addition, she is charged with leading a literary magazine club, teaching creative writing and poetry, and at the end of the course, students will submit their best work in the magazine.

“Lauren is great in the classroom and she loves middle school kids,” says Lacher-Starace. “She is passionate about reading and writing. She has a real good handle on how to make learning fun in the classroom and at the same time can manage to keep things under control, which can be tough for beginning teachers.”

Charter schools are popular in Newark because they http://viagraonline-4betterlife.com/ are undergoing an overhaul in their education system, according to Smith, who indicates that most students are far behind in their grade level and close to 20 percent drop out of high school.

Although not full time, Smith’s role is invaluable because the tutoring system at Great Oaks was created to give students individualized education. Consequently, due to the success in improving education, one in three students in Newark attend a charter school.

“Despite the high stress level, I love this job because it pushes me every single day and forces me to confront my weaknesses as a person and professionally,” says Smith, who notes the best part of her job is that she never feels deserted or left to fend for herself.

“All the tutors are my age and we all go through the same stresses and challenges every single day. The school has dozens of support systems in place to help us whenever we need it.”

An instructor’s influence

Smith was in two of Lacher-Starace’s classes and that experience, coupled with the student teaching scene, helped mold her into the type of teacher she wants to become.

“Jen reminds me of myself, except far more sane and confident,” muses Smith. “I loved her engaging, stimulating and super-organized teaching style. She helped me build my confidence by treating me like a colleague she respected and not just a student whose work she had to grade.”

Smith will conclude her tutoring work when the Newark school year ends in June. Looking back, she doesn’t regret her decision to head east.

“I took this opportunity as a way to gain experience in urban education,” she says. “Even generic cialis though I have my degree and teaching certificate, I still felt like I had a lot of learning and personal growth to do before I could truly feel comfortable accepting a teaching job.

“I want to take this experience and then see what’s out there for me when I’m finished here.”

Kyle Johnson

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