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  • Interviewee: Jen, Olin College senior
  • Organization: City Year (Boston volunteer corps)
  • Role: volunteer tutor/teacher's assistant, one-semester commitment
  • Interviewer: Andy Pethan
  • Date: October 2010

Interview notes

Jen joined City Year mid-semester when she decided to take a leave of absence from Olin. She worked with 5th-8th graders at an inner-city school in the Boston Public Schools system.

Her rapid training consisted of a fast-paced introduction to her teammates, core teaching practices, and classroom management. The first four days of training were spent with the mid-semester recruits. During these days, the early emphasis was on getting to know and trust the other people joining City Year. They briefly shifted gears to classroom teaching skills and closed with basic classroom management. The next three days were spent with the full group of City Year members for the mid-year retraining. During this time, the most asked-for skills from the returning teachers were related to classroom management.

Most of Jen's learning during her semester in City Year came from her time in class during the semester. Unlike TFA, City Year volunteers are rarely in front of the classroom alone. More often, they fulfill the role of a teacher's aide, working with smaller groups of students at a time for remediation, advanced skills, or just to pull certain students out of the large classroom setting. When Jen was in the classroom, she was able to observe the teacher she was paired with. She asked lots of questions and picked up on many of her subtle behaviors. On the few occasions she was on her own in front of the class, she could solicit observations and feedback from other educators in the school.

Jen also mentioned that the City Year volunteers would get together on Fridays to discuss articles or receive extra training.