A Day in the Life: By Alex Martin

No two days at New Haven Reads are the same. Everyday has several key components — teaching, tutoring, coffee, Zoom — but beyond these, nothing is certain!

Working at New Haven Reads through the Yale President’s Public Service Fellowship, I’ve taken on two distinct roles, essentially: I work directly with students as a tutor and teacher, and I work as a Development and Communications Fellow.

Today, I roll out of bed at 8:30 a.m., and head straight to my espresso machine to pull two shots of espresso, a constant throughout my entire summer.

I head outside, always preferring to work outdoors rather than inside — perhaps a remnant of growing up on a farm in Arkansas and always mowing lawns as a consistent summer job.

After checking my email inbox, I turn to some Development projects. I am researching virtual fundraising, trying to discover how New Haven Reads can plan and execute virtual fundraisers in the coming months in order to recoup some of the funds that in-person fundraisers would normally provide. After scouring the internet and social media for ideas, examples, and articles, I turn my attention to another project: spotlights!

This summer, I have been conducting interviews with students and volunteers in order to craft a number of spotlights for use in newsletters, blog posts, the Annual Report, and other materials. At 10:00 a.m., I interview a longtime New Haven Reads volunteer over Zoom.

After the interview, I write up the spotlight on the volunteer, weaving in quotes from the interview and trying to find a way to tell their story in just a few short paragraphs. I reward myself by making a quick, but delicious, lunch: pan fried gyoza from H Mart!

At 2:00 p.m., my classes and tutoring sessions start. This summer, I am tutoring students at Bristol, Willow, and Science Park, and teaching Math II and Chess at Willow. For the next two hours, I go through my two tutoring sessions with two students I have gotten to know throughout the latter part of the summer. We spend most of the time reading together on EPIC, working on spelling, grammar, and pronunciation on Lexia, and going through their workbooks. At the end, we play a game — tic-tac-toe or hangman, usually — or create a story together!

Finally, at 4:00 p.m., my Math II class starts! Early in the summer, I discovered that teaching fifteen students in one room on Zoom is nearly impossible given all the distractions. Breakout rooms have been the perfect solution! The students work on Khan Academy, whiteboards, and flashcards, practicing their multiplication and division. I hop into different breakout rooms, ensuring that everyone is doing fine and that the curriculum is working well.

At the end of the Math II class, I am done for the day! I send any emails I need to send, write out a to-do list for the following day, and close my computer, the true sign of the end of a remote workday.