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Meet Dana Gethers, MS ExTRA Tutor

Deborah Taylor

Deborah Taylor is a Program Manager at ExpandED Schools.

Dana Gethers, MS ExTRA Tutor
Dana Gethers, MS ExTRA Tutor

Dana Gethers has been a beloved tutor at one of our MS ExTRA schools, whose inspiration for working with students comes from her desire to be where she's most needed. While we'll miss her tremendously, we congratulate Dana on joining Teach for America, where she will undoubtedly have a positive impact on even more students


Deborah Taylor: What inspired you to become a tutor?

Dana Gethers: I was inspired to become a tutor after deciding that I wanted to be more hands-on. While in school I interned for a newspaper where I found myself researching and writing a few stories about the state of education in the U.S and the charter school epidemic in New York. Working as a tutor allowed me to be a part of what I'd previously only written about. 

DT: Did you have teaching experience prior to this?

DG: I didn't have much experience prior. I did work in a school setting as a counselor at a summer camp.

DT: What surprised you about tutoring middle school students?

DG: I was surprised by the generational differences. That’s almost weird for me to say because I’m only 22, and my students were ages 10-14. Still, it’s incredible to see the impact that technological advances have had on a generation of students who don’t really know a time before smartphones. Additionally, it was great to be able to mentor them at a time when they’re becoming more self-aware.

DT: What has been the most challenging aspect of your experience?

DG: The most challenging aspect of being a reading coach is trying to motivate struggling students who have a really apathetic attitude towards reading. I grew to be more understanding and patient as I realized their disinterest was often the result of their prolonged struggle with reading comprehension. It took me a few weeks to reach the point where I didn't take their disinterest personally.

DT: What has been the most rewarding?

DG: The most rewarding part of being a tutor is actually witnessing the changes in students that you've helped to inspire. Whether it's an attitude change as  students mature, or academic growth as students learn under your instruction, it's great to be able to personally see these changes because of the intimacy that the small group setting allows for.  

DT: What have you learned from your students?

DG: I’ve learned that most of the time, students just want you to care. They can tell if you don’t and that will definitely impact their performance under your instruction. Teaching isn’t a job to do just for a paycheck or to pass the time until you find something better. You’re impacting the lives of children and you should keep that in mind. I thinks it's important to remember this because everyday will not be a good day. And, while your students may never tell you, they really do appreciate the little things like you just showing up for work daily. 

DT: What are you looking forward to the most about joining Teach for America?

DG: I’m looking forward to taking everything I learned from my colleagues, training sessions, my manager Deb, and my students and using those skills when I teach in my own classroom. I'm also looking forward to being where I'm most needed. Teach for America is committed to placing teachers in underserved regions and communities. I'll be heading to Memphis, Tennessee, [in June] and I'm hoping to bring about as much change as I possibly can. 

DT: Do you have any advice you'd like to share with anyone else thinking about becoming a tutor or working with ExpandED kids?

DG: To borrow from Nike, "just do it." It's one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have and it’s easily one of the most exciting jobs. Everyday brings something new and fresh as you nurture and teach students, while learning from them as well. 

 


Interested in being an MS ExTRA tutor? See here for details.

Interested in being an MS ExTRA tutor? See here for details. - See more at: http://expandedschools.org/blog/meet-marvelous-mr-greg-reading-tutor#sthash.SfboP8k0.T4fHi7Ri.dpuf
Interested in being an MS ExTRA tutor? See here for details. - See more at: http://expandedschools.org/blog/meet-marvelous-mr-greg-reading-tutor#sthash.SfboP8k0.T4fHi7Ri.dpuf
Interested in being an MS ExTRA tutor? See here for details. - See more at: http://expandedschools.org/blog/meet-marvelous-mr-greg-reading-tutor#sthash.SfboP8k0.T4fHi7Ri.dpuf
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