Students Acting as Tutors and Mentors

Students Acting as Tutors and Mentors
Posted on 10/09/2014
Peer Assisted Learning


“When one teaches, two learn” - Robert Haft

There is something special about watching adolescents leading and mentoring.  In 2012,   I so enjoyed watching members of the SMS class of 2015 leading the music worship at Friday morning mass.  Those girls were so attentive to the music director and carried out their charges with utmost enthusiasm, skill, and eagerness.  Each week their confidence and willingness grew and so did my joy in watching them perform.

At the same time, one of my Math students needed assistance beyond what I could provide during class time.  I tutored that student outside of class with no success.  It was then the Holy Spirit inspired me to ask one of the music worship leaders (an accomplished math student) to tutor that person.  When she agreed, I arranged and supervised a tutoring session once a week after school. 

Those tutoring sessions were such a success that other students requested peer tutoring.  The other music worship leaders were among many others (male and female) who would soon volunteer to tutor.  The program continued to grow through 2012 and 2013.  We now have many male and female tutors from the 6th through 8th grades and SMS Alumni who attend high school.  With a little training, student tutors can become very skillful in mentoring others.  Last year (2013) I especially enjoyed watching so many of the PAL tutors leading and mentoring.

In retrospect, this arrangement seemed like such a natural thing to do.  When my son was in Boy Scouts, it was the older scouts who led, mentored, and taught the younger ones.  At SMS the 6th, 7th, and 8th Graders help mentor the 2nd, 1st, and Kindergarteners. 

This year PAL meets once a week on Wednesday afternoon after school from 3:15 PM to 4 PM in the 8th Grade homeroom.  With our new block schedules in Math, I plan to introduce peer tutoring during normal class time.

All students from K through 8 are welcome to receive tutoring.  Students who need remediation and students who excel and want to get ahead regularly attend.  Sometimes we work one on one and other times we work in teams.  At all times, the blessings are abundant for those being tutored, the tutors, and myself!

by John DiGiovanni , Middle School Math Teacher