Name: Sebastian Ward
Hometown: New Haven, CT
College and Major: Yale University, Undecided
Tutor Site: Bristol Street
Clubs: Chess, Arts and Crafts (Helper), Nature and Science (Helper)
Favorite Childhood Book: The Percy Jackson Series
Working with students at New Haven Reads feels so surreal to me. It feels like I was just a student here; being shy around a new tutor or feeling a little embarrassed each time I struggled with a new page of Explode the Code. No longer the student and now being the teacher I used to look up to whenever I needed help feels strange, but in a good way. It is now my responsibility to give help to the students when they need it, foster a safe and encouraging learning environment, and most importantly, connect with the students I work with to make sure they learn and grow. Fulfilling these duties is always a heartwarming experience each time I am in a session- whether as a tutor, club leader, or even club helper.
This summer I have had so many good experiences with different students that I had trouble picking one to talk about. I had great conversations with students while making slime as a helper for the Arts and Crafts club. I also had so much fun playing a chess game on kahoot and getting a summary of the 9th and 10th Diary of a Wimpy Kid books so I could follow along while my student read the 11th one during reading time was an experience I definitely needed (I doubt I’ll ever reach an age where I am uninterested by the adventures of the Heffley family!). However, the most poignant experience I’ve had this summer was during an online tutoring session. Coming home after a day at camp where you run around and play to having to do a tutoring session for reading can seem not-too-appealing at first (I’ve been there). That was what was going on with my student, so I thought that starting the session with a fun activity would be beneficial. We opened with a word scramble, where we both competed to create as many words as we could within 1 minute with seven random letters. The student really enjoyed it, continued working diligently throughout the session, and even requested that we did it during choice time.
My summer at New Haven Reads so far has been an encouraging and fun learning environment for my students. My site staff and fellow interns have been extremely kind, genuine, and supportive to me throughout my time here. I have believed in the mission of New Haven Reads since I was a student there, and my time as an intern has only strengthened my resolve to assist in seeing it through.
A special thank you to First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank for giving me this amazing opportunity.