Tutoring on Target
Supporting schoolchildren provides lessons for their teachers
Since 1984, culturally and linguistically diverse learners in western Massachusetts public schools have benefited from a program that both boosts their academic standing and self-confidence and hones the skills of the next generation of teachers. Called TEAMS, Tutoring Enrichment Assistance Models for Schools places UMass Amherst undergraduates as tutors of at-risk children in the first through twelfth grades in Amherst, South Deerfield, Greenfield, Turners Falls, Springfield, Hadley, Holyoke, Easthampton, Granby, and Sunderland.
Founded by Robert Maloy, a senior lecturer at the School of Education, TEAMS is a lifeboat for the children it serves. Jennifer Smith ’09, a biology major who plans to be a high school teacher, is one of the 50 to 75 students who each semester fan out across the region, tutoring approximately five hours a week. “This program isn’t just about university students gaining knowledge on how to better instruct students,” says Smith. “It also helps our youth advance and look toward the future and going to college some day.”
In many cases TEAMS can also boost the undergraduate tutors onto a more focused career path. For Matthew Ganas ’08, ’09G, the experience has shaped his life. An undergraduate tutor in his junior year, Ganas says, “Through the course I learned valuable lessons about meeting the needs of all students, including those students considered to be at-risk.” He returned the following semester as a site coordinator responsible for overseeing the placements of UMass Amherst students in various schools throughout the region. “The lessons and knowledge gained through my involvement with the TEAMS program,” he adds, “has helped to shape my beliefs about education and the importance of serving communities and students in need. This course opened my eyes to classroom instruction.” Ganas has gone on to be a successful graduate student in the CTEP, Collaborative Teacher Education Program, and the Bridges to the Future Project for elementary educators at the School of Education.