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FHS peer tutors lend hand

Farragut High School’s peer tutoring group is now talking applications for the 2009-2010 school year for general education students who would like the opportunity to become a mentor to special education students.

FHS special education teacher Carolyn Owens said, “We are a special education class and we have a peer tutoring class where we teach general education students about our students and they come and work with them.

“During the day they go with them to their non-paid job sites out in the community and help train them. They go shopping with them and they go to restaurant training with them. If they have a gym class they go there. One of our guys has a ceramics class and his peer tutor goes with him to that.

“We have a county wide curriculum that we teach so they have state standards they have to meet,” she added.

The peer tutors also organize monthly Peer Tutor Family Fun Nights.

“Once a month we do something and different groups do different things. We are going to Cotton Eyed Joe’s next month, we have gone bowling and we had Mr. Ghatti’s Night. We just do lots of fun things,” Owens said.

Friday, Feb. 28, was family game night in FHS Commons.

The per tutors set up board games, bowling pins and several other activities for the students to participate in.

April Over said she enjoyed being a peer tutor.

“I think it is a really good experience for everyone to do. Not everyone gets a chance because there are only like five peer tutors per class, but it is definitely a good experience.

“I used to volunteer at Crumley House Rehabilitation Center and I learned a lot from that and I really enjoyed it. This is a good experience to work with [your classmates] and understand the harder situations in life,” she added.

The program offers peer tutors the opportunity to work with each of the students in Owens and fellow special education teacher Becky Comer’s classes.

“We rotate so every peer tutor gets to work with each student for a week,” April said.

Although many of the students, such as April, take the class for more than one semester, students have to apply for each opening.

“There is an application process and they have to have approval from a couple of teachers and write an essay on why they want to do this and have a certain grade-point average. They get a grade for his and usually they make a good grade in this class,” Owens said.

Joshua Overton, a teaching assistant in Owens’ class, said he felt the peer tutoring program enables general education students to understand that while their special education counterparts have certain limitations, they also are just like everyone else.

“I have worked with kids since I was a kid and this is definitely a little bit of a different experience, but at the same time, your reactions and things like that have to be the same. You have to be a little more patient and your reactions have to be a little different, but at the same time, they are no different than anyone else, other than the fact that they are in bigger bodies with younger mindsets. You just have to take that into account but you don’t treat them any different than any other kid in school,” Overtone said.

Faragut High School students interested in becoming peer tutors should contact Owens or Comer to begin the application process.


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