College students get early teaching experience

Kalyn Gallup

This fall, Iowa State students majoring in education will be given the opportunity to tutor elementary school students who are struggling with reading and math.

“Cyclone Learning Zone” or “Curriculum and Instruction 280T,” provides one college credit to students if they perform 24, one-hour tutoring sessions with kids in four out of the five elementary schools in Ames.

This allows future teachers to get hands-on experience with kids, and also helps develop basic math and reading skills for struggling elementary school students.

The tutoring program is not designed to help with homework, but to teach skills that will make the homework easier.

“This experience gave them extra time and extra attention to make those gains,” mentor teacher Marlys Hindman said in a press release. “We saw a big improvement in their reading.”

Anne Estapa, assistant professor in the school of education, was also impressed with the enthusiasm students expressed while volunteering last semester.

“There were about 74 students that volunteered without receiving credit, and they all had incredible things to say about their experiences,” Estapa said. “It brought up the importance of consistency to many students, and helped them practice building relationships and watching their students grow.”

A similar ISU tutoring program existed in 2006, but it was cut because of state budget cuts in 2008. This same scenario is happening nationwide, with more budget cuts being made to schools, which heavily affect tutoring programs.

According to the LA Times, K-12 budgets were cut $1.8 billion nationwide in 2010, and were expected to reach $5 billion by the end of 2011. 

However, Kathy Hanson, media relations specialist, was optimistic about the future of the class coming up this fall.

“The new potential with the partnership between ISU and the elementary schools will benefit Ames students of all ages well into the future,” Hanson said.