Meet Kailyn Espinosa - a third-year college student (technically a lower senior) at Hunter College double majoring in Adolescent Education grades 7-12 and English Language Arts. Combined, these two majors work towards equipping her with the skills to do work in the field of Adolescent English.
Kailyn’s journey started off in her senior year of high school, during the pandemic where she worked as a middle school tutor. She tutored middle school students in different subjects such as English, Math, Science, History, and did other work like social emotional learning. On top of that, she often had to communicate with parents to discuss the progress of the students.
As she entered her first year of college, she took on the role of Learning Advocate. As a Learning Advocate, she conducted family outreach which meant she helped families connect with different resources. She often helped families acquire access to chromebooks and wifi during this tough period of time of online learning. Additionally, in order to build community through the pandemic, she hosted movie and game nights to unite students even through a screen. At some point during this point in time as a first-year student and as a worker within the organization, she took on both roles simultaneously.
Even through her roles within Arete as a newcomer, Kailyn underscores her growth as a student but also as a worker. While in high school, she never envisioned herself becoming a teacher; however, after becoming a tutor, she found out it was not as bad as she thought it would be. “Maybe I could become a teacher!” asserted Kailyn as she recounted that upon entering college, she declared an undecided major but her initial roles within Arete allowed her to develop a strong interest in teaching and education. Her professional development also consisted of figuring out her strengths and weaknesses. She found out that she was pretty good at teaching and advocating for families and had the necessary skills to go into the profession of teaching. On top of that, Kailyn was able to narrow down the age group of students she felt most suited to teach through her work as a tutor and Learning Advocate.
During her second semester of freshman year, Kailyn got promoted to a supervisor of the tutoring program. She essentially overlooked high school tutors and helped foster a stable environment for the tutor-tutee relationships. This meant she created breakout rooms, welcomed both tutors and tutees, and conducted observation sessions during ongoing tutoring sessions. During these sessions, she observed the relationship between tutors and students and gave tutors feedback to help them improve on their tutoring skills. Kailyn’s previous experience as a tutor gave her the expertise to know what was working and what was not working during tutoring sessions. Her promotion from tutor to supervisor gave her insight into the management of tutors and gave her the opportunity to professionally develop and gain competence as someone in a higher position.
Later on, during summer bridge, Kailyn became a literacy educator. As a literacy educator, her focus was on students who were behind in literacy. Her responsibility was to help bridge the gap between on-level students and students who were struggling in literature. In order to do so, Kailyn helped students by reading and testing their comprehension skills in small groups. One thing that Kailyn learned as a tutoring program supervisor and literacy educator was that she could work with older students and professionals. Her previous experience revolved around a younger demographic, but these two new roles allowed for her to experience what it would be like to work with older students and also take on roles that were higher up within the organization.
Currently, Kailyn works as a Specialized Reading Intervention Facilitator. She administers and facilitates specialized lessons to help students’ comprehension skills through different activities like SEL, writing prompts, and discussions about the books they read. In conjunction with this first role, Kailyn is also a Program Coordinator and Data Specialist. She reports data for middle school and high school students through two different platforms - EZ Reports and CitySpan. The data she handles and reports is fundamental to the funding Arete receives. It is worthy noting that Kailyn started off with just reporting data for one community school (The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology) but has now transitioned to managing data for all of Arete’s community schools.
“Before Arete, I did not know what social emotional learning was!” One thing that Kailyn pointed out as something she appreciates and makes Arete distinct is that they exposed her to SEL. She was shown different activities to conduct SEL. She then became equipped with the skills to host her own SEL sessions and activities. Through this, Kailyn learned that social emotional learning is an integral part of learning and development which ties back to her career aspirations of working with children and education.
Kailyn acknowledges that her work with Arete as of now delves into a more administrative field, but still maintains the essence of working with kids. She benefited from the flexibility that Arete granted to her as a college student. Arete was able to accommodate to her schedule and helped her gain social skills through her various roles. Her exceptional journey within Arete highlights how she was given the opportunity to professionally, socially, and emotionally grow as an individual.