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ETP's Online Tutors Touch Students' Lives

Alexandra Koch on Pixabay

The annual ESRA report "The lives you touched in 2022 โ€“ ESRA Impact Report", which was shared with members at the end of March, detailed in spectacular fashion how ESRA and its volunteers are creating a better world for our communities.

One of the ways in which they do this is by going into schools to assist students with their English studies through ESRA's English Tutoring Program (ETP). The program has been running for over fifteen years and even the Corona virus didn't deter them. They continued tutoring using the Zoom platform and discovered a medium that enabled ETP to reach even those students who live in areas where ESRA has no branches.

When schools this year returned to a more normal routine, the English Inspector from the Ministry of Education, with whom ESRA works closely, encouraged tutors to return to volunteer in schools. But there were those tutors who preferred to continue tutoring online. And there were schools, desperately in need of assistance, situated in areas where no tutor lives. So, the attractive prospect for tutors of using their native English skills to help high school students prepare for their COBE (Computerized Oral Bagrut Exam) remained an online option.

Terry Morris, ESRA's outgoing chairperson, devoted his Chairman's Message to write about how ESRA volunteers help students with their English studies through ESRA's ETP. (See ESRA Magazine, Edition 215, January 2023).
His message was headed "Come join us", a clarion call for volunteers to join the program. He even paraphrased Lord Kitchener's recruitment slogan: "Your ESRA needs you". Somehow I think volunteers, who tutor high school students online for their COBE, might spin that appeal and declare "You need ETP." And here's why.

ETP's mantra "It's a win-win program" took on a new meaning for them when they opted to tutor online. Firstly, they could tutor without the hassle of leaving home, without the need for wheels or buses. Inclement weather was no deterrent. Happily ensconced in the comfort of their own homes, they acquired a new skill (strongly recommended for retirees) when they easily mastered the very basic technological steps needed for online tutoring. Not everything was plain sailing but nevertheless, all tutors derived pleasure from their volunteering. It was clear to all that they were not only giving students the confidence to speak English โ€“ perhaps for the first time in their lives โ€“ but that they were building bridges across communities, and giving students, both Jewish and Arab, skills for life.

Still undecided if indeed this is a program for you?

Read how nothing quite compares with that amazing surge of satisfaction that comes from helping students develop their English speaking skills.

LK: "Thanks again for this wonderful program. It is a win-win for both the tutors and the students. It's a wonderful experience to interact with positive, curious, and appreciative students. In addition to assisting students, it has another very important aspect, dialogue with a community that most of us do not have exposure to. I am so thankful for this opportunity."

DR: "Despite the challenges, I really enjoyed tutoring this year and I am already looking forward to the next round"

MB: "I think this is a fantastic supportive program. Tutoring 11th graders means no pressure for the tutor or the student. Less pressure means less anxiety means effective learning. The kids are fun and I'm learning a lot from them They are gaining confidence and are less nervous."

AM: "I had one student who had not had a chance in the classroom to speak and express herself. So, the ESRA tutoring sessions were beneficial. I found it very interesting speaking to these girls. They did manage in a short time to feel more confident with English."

MM: "There is such a friendly feeling among all of us. When I was on holiday in Egypt, I asked our tour guide to send a WhatsApp message in Arabic to "my kids," which he gladly did. He wrote a few encouraging words about how important it is to study hard and to learn English. I too am getting a lot from these lessons."

DT: "I had three amazing Arab girl students whom I tutored in 11th and 12th grade. It was highly satisfying for me to see them improving over the year. I am still in contact with them and even though I moved on to tutor different students they still ask me questions from time to time, and I am happy to still be able to help them."

When students tell a tutor that they have started speaking English with one another all the time, when they ask to study during their summer and winter vacations, when they write notes which say: "Thank you, we had so much fun with u and u gave us the passion to try" or "Hello, I just finished the exam. It was very good. I answered all the questions easily. I really would like to thank you very much. You were a great supporter for us to pass this exam๐Ÿ™๐Ÿปโคโค.; or when they post on their WuP group "It was a beautiful and useful meeting, thank you, my teacher" you know for sure how you, as an ETP volunteer, have indeed touched the lives of your students. Wouldn't you agree that you need ETP? Click on the link NOW to register. https://ireneo.formtitan.com/ft56dfae621612091398735_copy#/

Lola Katz is the National ETP Online COBE Coordinator. 

 

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Friday, 08 December 2023

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