Lehigh students are getting out of university classrooms and into ones at Broughal Middle School to help students with their work.
Graduate assistant Farrah Elhefnawy said there are two tutoring programs that Lehigh students can get involved in at Broughal Middle School: In-School Tutoring and Homework Club. These programs are run through Lehigh, but Broughal community school coordinators and administrators help organize the process.
Elhefnawy said during Homework Club, which is held for an hour and a half after school Monday through Thursday, tutors help to ensure students have completed their homework for the day.
Once their homework is done, the focus shifts to reading, in which tutors encourage students to pick from and read a variety of books. Other than homework and reading, tutors also work on flashcards, academic games and worksheets.
Missy Connolly, ‘23, took up a job tutoring at Broughal Middle School as a work study position her freshman year. She said being a tutor for the past three years makes her want to pursue a career in education post-graduation due to the impact her students have had on her.
“It has changed me so much,” Connolly said. “I grew up in a very privileged, white town in New Jersey, and this program totally changed my whole view and perspective on the world. Getting to work with these kids, I hear how they struggle and don’t want to go to school because they know they can’t afford college. Helping them discover that they can do it, and motivating them, that’s probably my favorite part.”
Elhefnawy said tutors are placed in different classrooms at Broughal and work one-on-one with students who need extra support.
“It’s a lot for the teacher to be working with close to 30 students in one class, so if there are students who are having difficulties, that’s where our Lehigh tutors come in,” Elhefnawy said.
Connolly said while Lehigh student tutors are at Broughal to help students with their schoolwork, they’re also there to serve as role models.
“A lot of the time when they don’t have homework, it’s nice to just talk to them because they really look up to the tutors,” said Jenna Roy, ‘22, Broughal site leader. “Sometimes they just need someone to talk to that isn’t as intimidating as a teacher or a parent.”
Roy said the bonds that she has made with Broughal students have been influential. One of her former students invited her to see one of their music concerts and Roy even knows the student’s siblings who are now involved in the program.
The tutoring programs were remote during the 2020-2021 academic year due to COVID-19. Roy said Lehigh tutors created videos each week of supplemental lesson plans for the students.
Connolly said the videos were not on a platform like Zoom, which made it difficult to interact with the students.
“It was so nice to be back in person, and you could tell the kids were excited that the tutors were back too,” Connolly said. “They told us in the introduction to tutoring that a lot of these kids have a rough life at home and school is their escape. Being stuck at home because of COVID-19 and having to do school on Zoom was, I bet, way harder for them.”
Though the tutoring programs are in-person again, Roy said the site leaders have felt overwhelmed by the lack of tutors. Many Lehigh students heard about the tutoring program from their Greek organizations, but word-of-mouth communication about the program stopped during COVID-19 and students who were involved at that time have since graduated.
Roy and Connolly alike encourage other Lehigh students to get involved in tutoring for a rewarding community experience. Students can become a tutor through work study or by volunteering.
“Not only is it a good work-study opportunity, but it’s good for the soul and helping the community,” Connolly said.