Tutors, mentors needed to guide local youth in their studies

Brock University students have the chance to make a difference in the lives of Niagara’s young learners.

The Brock Learning Lab (BLL) has paid and volunteer roles available that allow participants to gain experience working with K-12 students in the local community.

Brock students can intern with the BLL or volunteer as math and literacy tutors, meeting with clients in person or online for at least one hour per week from Jan. 30 to April 7.

The BLL is also hiring experienced tutors to work as literacy and math mentors in local schools from January to May/June. Mentors will work with individual students or small groups during the school day. Literacy mentors will work with elementary school students while math mentors may work with either elementary or secondary students.

To learn more or apply for any of these roles, please visit the Brock Learning Lab website. Applications for volunteer tutor and intern roles are due by Friday, Jan. 20.

Brock faculty and BLL supervisors provide tutors and mentors with support, resources and training in developing individualized lesson plans using evidence-based strategies and instructional methods.

The training and experience offered to BLL volunteers, mentors, interns or supervisors help to equip them for their future careers as educators.

“It was a safe space for me to learn alongside my students. We were both learning at the same time,” Samantha Merrlles, a sixth-year Concurrent Teacher Education student, said of her time working with the lab. “It’s a safe place to practice teaching because you have those supports.”

Merrlles has already used lessons learned at the lab in her teacher education placements.

Korynne Cousineau, a fifth-year Concurrent Teacher Education student, says one of the biggest lessons from her time as a supervisor and tutor at the BLL is that educators are always learning.

“The most important thing that I’ve learned is to ask questions. It’s OK if you don’t know the answer and it’s OK if you say to someone ‘I don’t know the answer right now, but I’m going to find someone who does,’” she said.

Both Cousineau and Merrlles have worked with the lab for several years as volunteer tutors and in-school mentors and both now serve as supervisors.

While Merrlles and Cousineau both found it fulfilling to see tutoring clients improve over time, they say it has also been rewarding to see fellow Brock students grow as educators.

“I think it’s really beneficial to tutors because it builds up their confidence,” said Merrlles. “I think it gives them a really positive experience with teaching that they can take into their placements and into their careers.”

Cousineau agrees based on her own BLL experience, adding she hasn’t found many external opportunities as an undergraduate student to get experience teaching one-on-one or with small groups.

Working with a small group as an in-school mentor boosted her confidence when she saw her students get better grades or develop deeper understanding.

Merrlles’ experience as a supervisor and tutor has helped to prepare her for her career as an educator by providing opportunities to collaborate on solutions and share ideas with her BLL colleagues in a supportive professional environment.

Both Merrlles and Cousineau have built professional connections during their time with the lab. As supervisors, they’ve also had opportunities to develop leadership and administration skills while working with clients, parents and colleagues.

“I just really enjoy working with the Brock Learning Lab,” said Cousineau. “It’s really important to me and I’ve very much found that it’s my home at Brock.”

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