Drake Students Complete Year of Tutoring at Hubbell
May is the month of commencement which means beginning. But it also marks the end of many student/pupil relationships. That was the bittersweet case after school on Tuesday at Hubbell Elementary where Professor Lindsay Woodward and a squad of teachers-to-be from Drake University’s School of Education wrapped up a year of tutoring with students from Hubbell.
Now in its third year, this partnership is such a win-win that it’s hard to know where to begin.
How about in the Hubbell library where the 44 tutors and tutees meet up every Tuesday afternoon before pairing off and finding a good space for their weekly literacy dates. Yesterday was so mild that some of the couples went outside. Others curled up in classroom corners or side-by-side in the hallway, hovered over books, deep in learning.
How do all of the students, big and little, feel about each other? That’s easy – the excitement was unanimous, palpable and two-way.
“Our students say their favorite time of the week is Tuesdays at Hubbell,” said Woodward. “They can’t wait to come over here and spend time with their kids.”
The feeling is mutual, according to Hubbell faculty.
“Two of my students have Drake tutors,” said veteran 3rd grade teacher Jody Pugh. “They both love it and are making great progress.”
Hubbell principal Carrie Belt collaborates with Woodward to match Drake Bulldogs with Hubbell Hawks. When Woodward tells her how many tutors she can provide at the beginning of a semester Belt has her teachers nominate candidates from their classrooms. Then families are approached to gauge interest. There is no shortage. The tutoring is free and equivalent to several extra days of one-on-one instruction.
“The school district designates certain colleges and universities for us to partner with,” said Belt, “and we get student teachers and practicum students from Drake as well as tutors. Hubbell and Drake have a great relationship.”
Lots of great relationships, from the looks of yesterday’s final round of get-togethers. On the playground one pair was romping through a book about pirates. Inside another was sharing a rhyming game, to the delight of both players. A bright-eyed, happy-go-lucky boy named Owen kept “kissing my brain” during a series of correct responses to questions his tutor posed. “Right again,” she’d say, and gleeful Owen would smooch the palm of his hand, then pat his noggin.
In the library a girl named Olivia who isn’t officially enrolled in the program was standing by. “She comes in every week,” explained adjunct professor Thom Davis. “She offers her services as a substitute in case one of the kids is absent so the tutor will get the practice teaching. Sometimes she gets to fill in.” That’s the spirit.
Yesterday being the last time (there will be another cohort in June), the Hubbell kids received token gifts from their tutors as souvenirs of the shared experience, mini-planners with Drake tattoos and stickers tucked inside. What they really gained is less tangible but more permanent. The tats are temporary but reading and writing, and maybe some memories too, will last their lifetimes.