Jamaican teachers being recruited to tutor US students online

Jamaican teachers being recruited to tutor US students online

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

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WASHINGTON, United States — Jamaican teachers are being hired to tutor students in the United States over the Internet.

This is an initiative between the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington DC and Community Scholar Incorporation, a US-based non-profit organisation which focuses on improving the test scores of students in the US.

“We believe that building a community around each student will promote a culture of learning which in turn creates a sustainable environment where students can grow academically. Our target group are second through to eighth grade with math and English being our primary topics,” says executive director of Community Scholar, Robert St Cyr.

“We will add additional subjects including geography, science, history, [and] music in the new school year to provide a more rounded experience for students,” he continued.

In explaining the rationale underlying the programme, St Cyr said “the effort was created to address the achievement gap between black and white students that persists within the United States”.

“We chose these grade levels because divergence of academic proficiency begins primarily in elementary schools and widens in subsequent grades. In addition, a mix of volunteers and paid staff are used to tutor individual students and small groups,” the executive director pointed out.

He said students are grouped according to similar levels of proficiency as determined by teachers in their respective schools.

“We also provide a separate assessment especially as we group students who attend different schools,” he noted.

As for recruiting teachers from Jamaica, St Cyr said it is a strategy designed to help communities both in Jamaica and the United States.

It is against this background that the organisation sought the assistance of Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks in securing suitable Jamaican teachers for the programme.

"We support this initiative as a model of collaboration that is very fitting for the current virtual lifestyle environment while creating a socio-economic opportunity in our education industry, utilising technology and the well-known expertise of Jamaican educators,” Ambassador Marks said.

St Cyr added: “Because teachers will be interacting with students from different backgrounds, they will be able take those experiences back to their classrooms in Jamaica to add to their academic experience. The ability to work remotely presents an economic opportunity for teachers in Jamaica especially with the limitations the pandemic places on in-person interactions.”

“This is a unique opportunity for students and teachers alike: It resolves key issues in modern education that tend to leave some students behind. Importantly, parents who decide not to send their kids to school in the 2020-2021 school year can be assured of a solid education during the pandemic. Their children will get the individualised attention that traditional public and private schools simply cannot provide,” he added.

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