Mentoring with RTM

Remote Tutoring and Mentoring (RTM) is a simple way for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) professionals to volunteer their time without having to travel.

The web-based, interactive whiteboard, allows students and mentors the flexibility of connecting from two separate locations. With our interactive whiteboard , the pairs can draw graphs, write math problems, and generally explore the world from a scientific and mathematical perspective.

Weekly One Hour Session

Once mentors complete our screening and training process, they are matched with a student and begin weekly sessions.The session time will remain consistent for the school year.  We ask mentors to block off the time on their calendars for the sessions.  Each mentor has one student with whom they will mentor and tutor for the entire school year.  Mentors and students log in to their whiteboards via our school pages.  Each session lasts between 45 minutes and one hour.  Students can bring questions from their homework or class sessions.  In addition, we encourage mentors to create real-world application problems for students to do during their sessions.  Our mentor resources page has links to many good websites which mentors can draw upon when planning their sessions.

Our vision is for each session to be a balance of mentoring and tutoring.  In order to accomplish this, mentors must work to develop a relationship with their students and help students to see the application of math and science in the real world.

Each week, our program coordinators connect with the classroom teachers to find out what students are learning in class.  The updates are posted to the resources page for each school so that mentors can easily view the information.

You can view a real RTM session here.

Building Strong Relationships

We Teach Science facilitates the development of the relationship between mentors and students through three in-person events over the school year in our traditional model.  At the beginning of the year we hold a “meet your mentor” event where students get a chance to spend some quality time face-to-face with their mentors in a relaxed and informal environment.  In the first trimester we ask each mentor to find a time to come to the school and conduct an in-person mentoring session during their usual mentoring time.  Finally, we end the year with a fun party where students and mentors connect and reflect on their year together.

Mentor Resources

Lesson plan database

Our lesson plan database is made up of lessons from the teachers curriculum and are created by our participating teachers, mentors, and staff for our mentors.  Ideally, each lesson will include real-life applications of math and science for the students.  Our program coordinators supply their mentors with weekly planning sheets to use in their mentoring and tutoring session with their student.

Other Resources

Our mentor resources page has links to many good external websites that mentors and staff have drawn upon in the past. As mentors find new helpful websites, we ask them to email the program coordinators so that the links can be shared with others.  Our goal is to create a collaborative community of S.T.E.M. professionals who share their knowledge and expertise with others.

Mentor Training

Initial Orientation

Our initial orientation consists of training where prospective mentors learn best practices in working with students and how to make the sessions engaging and powerful. During the orientation, participants will work together on hypothetical scenarios and group activities.  The orientation is also a step in our screening process.

Dedicated Coaches

A personal mentor-coach (former teacher) watches RTM sessions and provides feedback via email to each mentor.  Each mentor receives feedback four times during the academic year. The coaches help mentors to recognize areas of strength and places for improvement for future sessions.

Workshops

Each year we hold two mentor workshops focused around specific mentoring skills.  We also provide ongoing webinars for our mentors.   These workshops and webinars allow mentors to connect with each other, get in-person feedback, and learn new skills and strategies for working with their student.

A Closed Feedback Loop

We Teach Science is continually working to improve the RTM program.  We collect feedback from all constituencies and analyze the data to determine places that need refining.   We encourage mentors to fill out a short weekly survey explaining how their sessions went and how their relationship with the student is developing.  Our students fill out surveys once per month on similar topics.  The coaches send detailed observation notes to mentor and the WTSF program staff.  Twice each year mentors are asked to fill out a longer survey explaining the programs strengths and areas for growth.  With all of this qualitative data, our goal is to have a complete picture of how the program is running and how all participants are experiencing the program.

Careers in the Classroom

In our traditional model, each semester we offer mentors the opportunity  to come to the campus and talk about their career and real life world applications to the whole class.  The goal of these discussions is to help make math and science real for students by allowing mentors to go into detail about their work.  Students have really enjoyed these sessions in the past.  Some of the topics covered have been: the use of nanotechnology in windows in the future, the impact of vaccines on populations, blood alcohol content graphing, and the ways that video game designers use algebraic equations.

We Teach Science staff supports the presenting mentor by providing input  to help him/her plan the talk, scheduling the session with the teacher, and attending the discussions to lend an extra hand.

Find out what our students have to say about the program

 

Student Video 2011 from Aragon Burlingham on Vimeo.

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