Danielle used to joke with her family about being bad at math. Now a math tutor in our Emerging Educators initiative, she’s become confident in her skills, is taking a college-level math course, and is pursuing an education degree without debt.
As a parent, Danielle first saw Reading Corps in action when one of her children received online tutoring during the pandemic. With her days freed up when her youngest child began preschool, she decided to apply to become a reading tutor. To her surprise, there were only math tutoring positions open.
Nevertheless, Danielle’s desire to be near her kids outweighed her subject preference, and she became a Math Corps tutor in 2021. Now, she has newly found confidence in the subject she once saw as impossible! “What I’m teaching the kids, these are the things I was missing when I was younger and made me hate math,” she explains. “This semester, I just took on a college math class that I never would have even dreamt of taking otherwise.” Tutoring, she says, helped her put the pieces together.
After her first term, a Math Corps staff member at her school saw Danielle’s passion for education and urged her to enter Ampact’s Emerging Educators initiative. Members in this initiative pursue an associate degree in education while gaining real world experience as tutors. As part of the initiative, they have the opportunity to earn up to $12,000 toward tuition and educational expenses.
“When you’re presented with opportunities like that, you really can’t turn them down,” says Danielle. “If I’m thinking about moving forward with education, that would be my next step anyway. I only have four years with AmeriCorps before I have to move on to something else, so what is my next step? School wasn’t even on my radar, so it pushed me.”
As a mother of three, a tutor, and a student, Danielle must strategically manage her time, and the flexibility of her part-time Math Corps service makes it easy. Her goal is to complete her associate degree while serving the remaining two years of her AmeriCorps eligibility in the Emerging Educators initiative. However, she’s glad to know the initiative will still cover her if she needs more time.
“At the end of my four terms of AmeriCorps, if I’m not done with classes, I can take that education award and apply it to a four-year college or to the classes I still need to take to finish the associate degree,” she says. “It’s not that added pressure of, ‘it’s getting close, and I still have 15 credits to take, and I don’t have any money to do it.’ That education award is still available to use towards the rest.”
The initiative provides emerging educators with many avenues of support. With an Academic and Career Advisor, members are sure to stay on track and seamlessly transition into their classes. “The first day I started, I logged into my student portal, and tuition was already taken off. I didn’t even have to think about it, says Danielle. “There are people providing answers for my questions all the time so I can’t fail.”
As someone who always had a passion for educating young students, Danielle didn’t know if she would ever pursue it beyond raising her own children, but Math Corps made it possible. “I am so grateful because it’s something that I never thought that I would do. Being in school can be a daunting thing, especially after you’ve been out of school for twenty years. It made it a little less scary.”
Are you looking to make a difference in your community? Become a math tutor! There are over 200 math tutors needed in Minnesota. Visit join.readingandmath.org to learn more and apply at a location near you. Complete one year of AmeriCorps service to become eligible for our Emerging Educators initiative.