Remote Tutoring and Mentoring (RTM) is a simple way for professionals to volunteer their time without having to travel.
The web-based, interactive whiteboard and audio connection, allows students and mentors the flexibility of connecting from two separate locations. Using a digital writing tablet and stylus, the pairs can draw graphs, write math problems, and generally explore the world from a scientific and mathematical perspective.
- Weekly one hour remote sessions
- Building relationships between mentors and students
- Mentor resources are available to help mentors create engaging and fun RTM sessions.
- We provide extensive training to our mentors
- A closed feedback loop helps to improve our program and the mentor-student relationship
- Opportunity to participate in Careers in the Classroom
Weekly One Hour Sessions
Once mentors complete our screening and training process, they are matched with a student and begin weekly sessions. The session time will remain consistent and we ask mentors to block off the time on their calendars for the school year. Each mentor has one student with whom they will work for the entire school year. Mentors and students log in to their whiteboards via our school pages. Each session lasts between 45 minutes and one hour. Students can bring questions from their homework or class sessions. In addition, we encourage mentors to create real-world application problems for students to do during their sessions. Our mentor resources page has links to many good websites which mentors can draw upon when planning their sessions.
The vision of this program is for sessions to go beyond tutoring and truly to be mentoring. In order to accomplish this, mentors must work to develop a relationship with their students and help students to see the application of math and science in the real world.
Each week, our program coordinators connect with the classroom teachers to find out what students are learning in class. The updates are posted to the class calendar so that mentors can easily view the information.
You can view a real RTM session here.
Building Strong Relationships
We Teach Science facilitates the development of the relationship between mentors and students through three in-person events over the school year. At the beginning of the year we hold a “meet the mentors” event where students get a chance to spend some quality time with their mentors in a relaxed and informal environment. In the first trimester we ask each mentor to find a time to come to the school and conduct an in-person mentoring session during their usual mentoring time. Finally, we end the year with a fun party where students and mentors connect and reflect on their year together.
Mentors and students are able to communicate through an in-mail system called iMentor Interactive. Each mentor and student has a login and will only be able to write to each other through this program. All correspondence between mentors and students must be done through this system. Each week our program coordinators review these messages to determine how students and mentors are developing their relationship. This program allows mentors and students to extend their sessions beyond the one hour of remote mentoring. These messages can be used in a variety of ways: to send information about a specific problem as a result of running out of time; allow mentors and students to learn more about each other; or provide a space for students to ask questions that they encounter between sessions.
Lesson plan database
Our lesson plan database is made up of mentor-created lessons. Ideally, each lesson will extend the curriculum for students to include real-life applications of math. We ask each mentor to upload one lesson plan per month to help us fill the database with thoughtful and tested lessons that other mentors draw upon. We are working to create a collaborative community of S.T.E.M. professionals who share their knowledge and expertise with others.
Our forum is a space for mentors to collaborate with peers and the WTSF staff. This asynchronous community allows mentors to learn from each other and find the support they need. Mentors can post questions, comments, articles, and general thoughts relating to mentoring, S.T.E.M fields, and student needs.
Our mentor resources page has links to many good external websites that mentors and staff have drawn upon in the past. As mentors find new helpful websites, we ask them to email the program coordinators so that the links can be shared with others. In addition, it would be helpful for mentors to share those finds on our forum.
Our initial orientation consists of a two hour training where prospective mentors learn about the achievement gap occurring in American public schools, along with the details of the RTM program, our solution to this serious problem. During the orientation, participants will work together on hypothetical scenarios and group activities. The orientation is also a step in our screening process.
A personal mentor-coach (current or former teacher) watches RTM sessions and provides feedback via email and phone to each mentor. Each coach has a cohort of 10-12 mentors to watch over the year. The coaches watch two sessions per week, and each mentor receives feedback four times during the academic year. The coaches help mentors to recognize areas of strength and places for improvement for future sessions. Coaches also participate in our in-person workshops.
Each year we hold two mentor workshops focused around specific mentoring skills. These workshops are held in the evenings, usually in Burlingame or during lunch at one of our corporate partner locations in Silicon Valley. These two hour sessions allow mentors to connect with each other, get in-person feedback, and learn new skills and strategies for working with their student.
A Closed Feedback Loop
We Teach Science is continually working to improve the RTM program. We collect feedback from all constituencies and analyze the data to determine places that need tweaking. We ask mentors to fill out a short survey each week explaining how their sessions went and how their relationship with the student is developing. Our students fill out surveys once per month on similar topics. The coaches send detailed observation notes to mentor and the WTSF program staff. Twice each year mentors are asked to fill out a longer survey explaining the programs strengths and areas for growth. Between all of this qualitative data we aim to have a complete picture of how the program is running and how all participants are experiencing the program.
Careers in the Classroom
Each Semester we ask one mentor to come to each class to lead a Scientist in the Classroom (SITC) discussion. The goal of these discussions is to help make math and science real for students by allowing mentors to go into detail about their work. Students have really enjoyed these sessions in the past. Some of the topics covered have been: the use of nanotechnology in windows in the future, the impact of vaccines on populations, blood alcohol content graphing, and the ways that video game designers use algebraic equations.
We Teach Science staff supports the presenting mentor by providing an outline to help him/her plan the talk, scheduling the session with the teacher, and attending the discussions to lend an extra hand. To see previous SITC discussions, go to our video library.
Find out what our students have to say about the program