Angela Bagsik, Committed Tutor
Bay Area Tutoring Association was awarded The San José Learns Initiative (“SJ Learns”) 2020 grant from the San Jose Public Library Foundation, which strives to close the achievement gap among San Jose students in kindergarten through the third grade. One of the tutors in the SJ learns Program, Angela Bagsik, shared her story.
Angela, a recent UC Berkely graduate with a B.A. in Media Studies, explained, “I was a bit nervous going into the SJ Learns program. It was not only the association’s first online-only program like this, but it was also my first time teaching lessons online and using websites that I have never heard of before. However, with COVID, you have to make do with what you have, so all of the tutors made sure to be as prepared as we could and asked questions every time something came up.”
Although COVID-19 affected all students and the transition to distance learning was rough for many, Angela was met with a different situation. “When I met my students, I knew that we were going to have a fun few weeks ahead of us. They just so happened to be good friends from the same school, so it made their interactions more genuine and easy. This also made it difficult to keep them focused, but I had to remember that these students haven’t seen their classmates in months, and they are just lacking social interaction with people their age.”
Her experience was similar to many others who were introduced to the new world of online learning and tutoring, yet she was able to grow during her time in the SJ Learns program. “It [SJ Learns] has not only enhanced my tutoring skills, but it has reminded me that students have a lot going on in their lives outside of school. When you tutor a student online while they are at home, you witness their home life, their family relationships, and what resources they have access to. Some students had to take care of their younger siblings while they attended their class, some students did not have access to a quiet room, and some students did not have a good wifi connection. This allowed me to make adjustments for each student. Every student has a different learning process, so it’s important to pay attention to their specific needs in order to help them succeed. For example, I had a student that kept asking if she needed a pencil and paper for the class. Because all of our work was online, I told her she did not need it. I later realized that she remembers lessons better if she writes down notes and refers back to them later. I eventually created strong bonds with each student, gained their trust, and was able to get through to each of them and make some great achievements during our short time together.”
Being able to grow from this experience and witnessing the students overcome the obstacles they faced during this unprecedented time is inspiring. Bay Area Tutoring Association is proud to have tutors who care and understand their students’ needs. Thank you, Angela, for your commitment and efforts to make each student’s experience during online learning an easier one.