AU’s Tutoring Corps provides new Federal Work-Study opportunity

New Federal Work-Study opportunity connects AU students to faculty members’ children

AU’s Tutoring Corps provides new Federal Work-Study opportunity

The Mary Graydon Center, pictured in 2016. 

A new Federal Work-Study opportunity is virtually connecting students with the children of American University faculty who need support with schoolwork during a time when many students are still learning online or going to school in-person only a few days a week. 

The AU Tutoring Corps, which launched in January, assigned AU students seeking Federal Work-Study opportunities as tutors to the children of AU faculty for the entire spring semester.

Zakia Charfi, an administrator at AU’s Child Development Center and one of the faculty members who oversees the tutoring corps program, said that about 100 students applied for the program, with even more faculty and staff members who signed their children up. Currently, the program has 79 AU students in it, Charfi said. 

Qudsia Saeed, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education, said that the program has been an enjoyable experience so far. After applying for the program, she attended a training session and was then paired with a student. She checks in regularly with that student’s parent, who is a professor at AU. 

“It’s a nice safety net for parents, especially those who are professors right now, to know that their kids are in safe hands with AU students,” she said. 

As a secondary education major, Saeed said she appreciates how she can apply skills she learned in some of her classes to her tutoring work. 

“It’s nice seeing how what I’m learning in the classroom applies to different learning environments,” Saeed said. 

Joanna Setow, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, said that the work has been rewarding and she appreciates the self-directed nature of the program. 

When applying, students indicated their preferences of the subjects to tutor in. Setow said that, while she had originally preferred to tutor in government and other humanities disciplines, the student she tutors has most often needed help in algebra. 

“I’m remembering a lot more algebra than I thought I would be able to, but it's worked out pretty well,” Setow said. 

Because sessions take place virtually, Setow said she has utilized features on Zoom such as the whiteboard tool to help to make tutoring easier. 

Students who receive Federal Work-Study are limited in the number of hours they are allowed to work and the amount of time spent tutoring varies per student. However, students get one hour of paid prep time per week, according to Setow. 

Charfi said that although she is not sure yet if the program will continue past this semester, she sees it as a great success. 

“It was a great program, everybody benefited from it,” Charfi said. “The Federal Work-Study students are employed and they had a meaningful teaching experience and the students got one-on-one assistance on their course materials and the parents had a break during the day while they were working remotely.”

nheller@theeagleonline.com 

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