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圣地亚哥华裔青少年对跨族裔困难家庭子女的学业辅导和助学活动

 

从2018年9月起,每个星期天下午,有一群华裔高中生孩子会聚集到半小时车程外的圣地亚哥北郡Vista一家叫做 Solution for Change(SFC)的慈善机构里,做起义工小老师,风雨无阻,不但寒假暑假都坚持,就连从今年3月份开始的新冠疫情期间这些义工小老师都没有停下他们的工作, 只不过是把面对面辅导改成了网络辅导。

 

SFC是一家为无家可归的家庭提供住所和重返社会训练的慈善机构。这些义工小老师们所参加的活动是圣地亚哥平权会和SFC联合举办的,专门为这些无家可归家庭的孩子提供学业辅导的慈善项目,叫做Tutoring for change (TFC)。这个项目从开始到现在已经有三十多位华人青少年学生加入义工团队,而他们辅导过的从学前班到九年级的学生也有超过70人。

 

TFC项目设立的初衷是希望能以华人孩子普遍比较有优势的学业能力,去帮助无家可归的家庭中有学习辅导需求的孩子,使他们能有学业上的进步;同时以这样的方式鼓励华人孩子更多的回馈社会,传授一种助人乃快乐之本的人生价值。

 

尽管有一些思想准备,在辅导项目刚刚开始时,第一批的义工小老师们仍然是遭遇到了一些他们没有预料到的困难。这个困难主要来源于两个方面:一个是学生普遍的学业基础比预想的要差,第二个是学生的学习愿望和学习习惯,整体都比较弱。面对这样的情况,义工小老师们很快意识到他们所担负的任务不仅仅是教教数学题和英文阅读写作,而是更多地要设法培养这些孩子的学习兴趣和学习习惯。对于这些本身就是学生的义工来讲,这个局面是相当有挑战的。义工小老师们很快在一些热心家长的帮助下,针对这样的情况想办法,发挥团队精神,共同解决。

 

他们首先建立团队,把所有的义工老师根据年龄,特长和时间等因素建立小团队,每个小团队有不同的责任,有的负责准备教学资料,有的负责监督课堂秩序,有的负责学生档案;除了这些团队工作外,每个义工老师都负责教一到两名学生,掌握他们的情况。其次,在整个活动中以大带小,并给每个人机会锻炼整体协调的领导能力。项目刚刚开始的时候,有两位当时12年级的同学Angela 和Ana带领低年级的义工老师进行教学, 开了一个好头。当他们毕业之后,第二梯队的同学就接下了他们的工作,并且逐步建立了轮值的制度,使每一个义工都有锻炼的机会。担任轮值工作的时候,不但要全面掌握教学和学习的情况,还要学会处理一些特别的或突发的情况,对义工小老师全方位的能力是一个很好的磨练。在摸索了一段时间之后,目前这个教学项目已经建立了比较完整的系统,给每个学生建立的个人档案,对他们的学习情况和进度有清楚的了解。

 

谈到帮助一些学生特别是低年级的学生建立良好的学习习惯,这是相当困难的事情,因为他们家庭和其他的环境因素,所以有些学生甚至到了高年级仍然没有建立好学习习惯。义工小老师们一方面是以身作则,在教学时态度认真专注努力,一方面也通过一些游戏和鼓励的方式,帮助学生们逐步建立一些好习惯。在这里很多义工家长也给了大力的支持,包括提供学生各类的食物和奖品,有些家长甚至带着表现好的孩子们一块儿做游戏,提高他们的兴趣和认同。

 

而说起提高学生的学习兴趣,义工们更是想了五花八门的办法,从教学材料,到教学形式,到游戏时间的设置等等,都想办法把学生的学习兴趣、学习成果和正面回馈结合在一起。这里更要提到热心的家长们,有时候义工老师人手不够,家长们就积极参与教学,声情并茂,全情投入。而家长这样的参与对义工小老师们也是一个极大的鼓舞。

 

经过这两年来义工小老师,家长和组织者们的共同努力,特别是义工小老师和家长们的积极支持和付出,SFC里的不少学生学业上有明显的进步,对学习的兴趣也增加了很多,更可喜的是开始养成了良好的学习习惯。小老师们也常常感叹,这些学生们其实天赋都很不错,个性上也都非常可爱。只要给他们一个好的环境和持续的帮助,他们一样能够闪光发亮。

 

比如有一个5年级的男生数学天赋非常好,但是因为之前的学习环境不太好,本身也没有建立良好的学习习惯,所以一直被当成一个“问题学生”。当他接触到我们的项目和义工小老师之后,点燃了他对数学的喜爱,也很快展现出了他的天赋。现在我们的义工老师正辅导他准备参加加州的奥林匹克数学竞赛呢!

 

另外,有一位6年级女孩子非常害羞,刚来的时候几乎不和老师对话,我们的义工老师非常耐心地跟她谈心,慢慢打开她的心扉,发现其实她有强烈的学习愿望,所以就尽心尽力地辅导她。现在她可以非常骄傲地告诉大家他的理想是长大当一名医生。对比当初,当义工老师听到她现在这样的理想和看到她满脸的自信,感动的几乎落泪。

 

这样的例子其实还有很多。

 

特别值得一提的是,在今年年初新冠疫情开始爆发,圣地亚哥各个学区全部改在网上授课之后,TFC项目也面临可能停摆的状况。平权会理事,SFC领导层和义工小老师们反复商议,决定通过线上继续辅导,项目不停摆。为了保证效果,所有的辅导变成了线上一对一进行。义工小老师除了完成自己学校的功课,还担任了一到两位学生的一对一辅导帮助,就连暑期都没有停止。这样有恒心和毅力的坚持,为这些学生建立良好的学习习惯和对学习的认真投入,树立了绝好的示范。

 

通过这两年的辅导,义工老师和学生们建立了深厚的感情,不但是学业上的教学关系,更有一种朋友和亲人的关怀和鼓励。每年都有从SFC毕业, 重新适应社会并迁出SFC的家庭, 但大部分毕业家庭的小孩都选择继续留在TFC, 接受义工小老师的陪伴和辅导。SFC机构也经常发信谢谢我们的义工老师对这些小孩的辅导及展现的模范作用。 SFC的社区协调人Emily Page 最近发信说 “I want to start by extending profound gratitude for everything you have done and continue to do for our families during this unpredictable time. Despite any challenges that may have arisen with remote learning/teaching you have persevered and helped our children learn and grow so they can reach their full academic potential.” 她并且和这些受帮助的家庭的家长们一起做了致谢卡来感谢我们的义工小老师们。TFC义工小老师的努力也获得了社区领袖的关注。加州参议员Brain Jones 特意写信感谢平权会为Solution For Change的75个K-8th 的学生所做出的社区服务,并颁发了2020年度加州英雄(California Hero 2020)的嘉奖证书。

义工小老师们则从中真正体会到了助人乃快乐之本,社会的所有进步都是大家一点一滴建立起来的,把自己的所知所学服务于社会,造福于他人,是一种责任,也是一种人生态度。以下是部分义工小老师的感言, 从中可以看到他们在辅导的过程中心态的转变, 这些经历对义工们自己的成长帮助很大。

 

 It has been over two years since I became a tutor at Solutions for Change. This has been, and is still, an extraordinary experience that I am so grateful to be a part of. Seeing my students grow more confident in their abilities and in themselves is one of the most encouraging things for me as a fellow student; their optimism and interest in learning more pushes me to become better in every way. My students have grown so much, skill wise and intellectually: from starting with basic multiplication tables, they are now able to do division and have asked me to teach them about environmental science and American history.Through this program, I have learned about responsibility, adaptability, empathy, and patience, skills that will help me tremendously in the future. While continuing my efforts, I hope my contributions will grow stronger and bring something wonderful to the students and their families.

 

—-Sarah Wang, 12thGrade at Pacific Ridge School, Tutor of the Year

 

 When the pandemic hit in March, we continued tutoring remotely and moved from group learning to one-on-one tutoring. It has been challenging setting up and scheduling tutoring sessions as the Solutions for Change families were struggling with dealing with the pandemic impact on their day to day living. Yet it is encouraging to see the progress my student has made and know that she is able to keep up with her schoolwork. While my student was struggling with multiplication at first, she can now do algebra.  By giving back to the community, I have learned so much - empathy, compassion for others, and social responsibility. I hope to continue my efforts in the future to address the issues that society faces and make a difference in the disadvantaged communities. 

 

—-Kate Wang, 12thGrade at Canyon Crest Academy, Tutor of the Year

 

 

 

“The beauty of tutoring for me is seeing improvement. It no longer takes them one minute of finger counting to find the answer to “4+4”, or multiply 3 and 2 together to get 6. Some students came in not knowing the alphabet or how to write their numbers but are now able to. As we transitioned into virtual tutoring, we had the benefit of working with the same students for months. While the distance between our screens made it hard to form relationships at first, I eventually found the one-on-one tutoring style more optimal than the drop-in tutoring we did in-person. A particular instance that I recall clearly from virtual tutoring was the first time one of my students asked if we could extend the tutoring session. It made me happy that the students I tutored were excited and willing to come to tutoring and cemented by dedication to this organization.

 

—-Sophia Fang, 11thGrade at Westview High School, Tutor of the Year

 

The reason why I like this program is that it always surprises me how easy it is to make the children smile and laugh. In this day and age, it is easy to forget that happiness can come from non-materialistic things, such as learning a new concept or finally understanding the problem that you have been struggling with for a long time. It really inspires me to see that I am their source of happiness, that with my help, I can provide them with happiness at that moment and hopefully forever. When COVID-19 struck in March we, like every other organization, were forced to continue virtually. Suddenly, the Sundays when we would see them in person switched over to seeing them online. The first couple of weeks went relatively well. My students were on time, no internet problems.  However, it soon became obvious that their home environment was not suitable for learning. The constant loud background noise made it hard for both the student and I to hear each other. The wifi would constantly cut off or lag on either side. Even under these circumstances, my students continued to show up every week for tutoring. They find a quiet corner in the house to learn or go into an empty room. These efforts made it clear that even amongst a pandemic, they yearned to learn. I am grateful for Tutoring for Change for giving me this opportunity to experience something that I would have never gotten to experience if I had not joined. I am especially grateful for my students for always trying to find time to learn and grow as a person. This made me realize how fortunate I am to have a quiet learning environment and stable internet at home. That I should never take any of that for granted.

 

-Angela Fang, 11thGrade at Westview High School, Tutor of the Year

 

At first, Tutoring For Change was just a volunteer hour opportunity. But soon I realized that it had a lot more to offer than just community service hours. The program opened my eyes to another side of the story that I've never seen before. It gave me the blessed opportunity to make personal connections with bright, amazing kids.  As I got to experience what life is like from the perspective of another fellow human, it prompted me to have a personal reflection. I've learned a lot not only about others but also about myself. The most important lesson I learned from this experience is how small amounts of giving and kindness can lead to noticeable impacts on the people around us. 

—-Leo Liang, 11th Grade at Del Norte High School, Tutor of the Year

 

 

 While tutoring online sounds relatively easy, it can be quite frustrating at times, especially when students do not show up at our usual designated times. One of my students, trapped between the divorce of her mother and father, has been living under her mother’s care. Unfortunately, her mother was diagnosed positive with Covid-19. As she was recovering, my student was exposed to different environments. Our usual weekly meetings were suddenly halted. I can’t even imagine what she had to go through, but as a tutor, her experience has led me to be a kinder and more compassionate person.

 

—-Austin Li,10thGrade at Westview High School, Tutor of the Year

 

 

Solutions for Change quickly adapted to the new situation and changed our methods so that we could get back to helping as many children as possible. Instead of traveling to the shelter and violating CDC guidelines, we switched to zoom, a well-known internet platform used for teaching. This has impacted us greatly because now, everyone is learning online, and sometimes, it starts to get boring. We want the best education for our students so when they grow up, they can make a difference in the world.

 

—-Jason Ye, 10thGrade at Westview High School, Tutor of the Year

 

When I first started tutoring kids at school, and then eventually for Solutions for Change, I looked at the experience like something I was forced to do just to get volunteering hours: a chore. However, as I developed bonds with the students through physical tutoring at the Solutions office, I got to learn more about the students’ situations and felt compelled to help them even more. It felt like I was a part of something larger, it felt like I was helping people instead of just helping myself get volunteering hours. As we went into quarantine and developed a true one-on-one tutoring relationship with the students, it felt completely different. It allowed me to truly see the growth and development of my students as well as their own unique personalities instead of just a face that I had to teach. It has given me a completely new meaning to why we tutor these kids and how important developing these relationships with them are. 

 

—-Darren Zhou, 11thGrade at Westview High School

 

The “Tutors For Change” program is a great learning experience not only for the tutees but also for the tutors. I realized that not everyone has the privilege to receive a high-quality education and live in an academically competitive environment. Through the program, I have learned how to incite motivation into students who do not have the desire to learn initially. It is such a wonderful and rewarding feeling to see the look on the children’s faces when they finally understand a hard topic. The program provides me with an opportunity to give back to the community, especially during the current Covid-19 situation, with online tutoring.

 

-Albert Liu, 11thGrade at Scripps Ranch High School

 

 

When I first began teaching my student, Madison, I was extremely nervous and had no clue what I was going to do. Our first class didn't consist of much: just a little introduction and getting a feel for things. Over time, Madison and I grew closer and more comfortable to each other, sharing laughs and internet issues alike. I have been tutoring her for nearly 4 months now, and I'm constantly grateful for Madison's cooperation and her family's support. The experience as a tutor has been rewarding on so many levels, but above it all, it's the chance to make a deep impact in someone else's life which constitutes the core of what it means to teach. I can say with confidence that I will hold dear for the rest of my life all the skills, experience, and memories I've gained through the process.

 

-Daniel Xu, 10th Grade at The Bishop’s School

 

 

This program has been very helpful in teaching me communication and teaching skills, something that is not taught in school. It is also my privilege to be able to help others in need through tutoring them on schoolwork. This has been a tremendous and unique experience for me, and I appreciate having the opportunity to be a part of it.

 

-Leighton Hsieh, 10th Grade at Canyon Crest Academy

 

 

第一次去辅导这些孩子的路上,我忐忑不安,不知道这些孩子的学习水平,更不知道这些孩子有没有学习兴趣。到了之后,发现已经有十几个小学生在那里等待,我负责辅导两个小姐妹。姐姐是二年级,妹妹上幼儿园。姐姐对两位数的加减还不是很明白,我就耐心地给她讲解,等下课的时候她已经能够独立地完成作业。妹妹似乎对数学不感兴趣,但是她说喜欢画画,我就拿出纸和彩笔和她一起画了一个漂亮的房子,她说她希望能和爸爸妈妈还有姐姐可以住进这个大房子。一个半小时很快就过去,结束的时候两个小姐妹的爸爸来接,我和她俩约定下周再见。接下来的三个月,我经常来辅导不同的学生。

今年三月份疫情爆发,我们不能继续当面辅导,在 “Solutions For Change” 的帮助下,我们改为线上辅导,刚开始的时候我辅导一位学生,现在我一周辅导三个学生,其中有一个学生还要求一周两次课。当前,疫情还没有结束,在疫情面前不论贫穷和富贵,人人平等,只有大家一起提高预防,才能战胜疫情。这使我充分认识到,每个人不论来自什么样的家庭,都应该得到尽可能多的学习和教育,只有这样我们才能一起战胜困难。我会一直坚持帮助这些需要帮助的孩子。

 

-Emily Zheng, 9th Grade at Canyon Crest Academy

 

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