As the school year gets into full swing, we at Tutors for All would like you to meet two new members of our team: Carra Fraker and Sahar Hakim! They’ve been doing terrific work this past month to help students and tutors start strong.
We recently had the chance to chat with Carra and Sahar about their backgrounds and experiences so far with T4A.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Carra: I’m the newest Program Manager at T4A, and I’m working for the Boston Green Academy program. I’ll also be focusing on some curriculum development and grantwriting. Before working for T4A, I was an ELA teacher at a large public suburban high school, and I loved it, but I decided that it was time for a career change that would expand my impact. I have a B.A. and an M.Ed from Boston College.
Sahar: I’m the Program Manager at Codman Academy as well
as the Marketing Manager at T4A. I’ve been in Boston my whole life—I received a B.A. in English from Simmons College, and after an editorial internship at Beacon Press, I applied for and received an M.A. in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College. All throughout my school career, I have been a tutor in some way, shape or form (though usually as a language tutor), and spent a few years as a private tutor in Arabic and Qur’an studies for young children.
What drew you to Tutors for All?
Carra: I believe education is the greatest tool for social justice, and I felt drawn to T4A’s mission and its roots. There are plenty of organizations that are doing their part in addressing the achievement gap, but it seems to me that Tutors for All is one of the most student-centered. I also love having the opportunity to work with students at the K-12 level and at the college and graduate school level.
Sahar: I discovered Tutors for All during my sophomore year at Simmons, and tutored at the Prospect Hill Academy and MGH Programs during the summer of 2011. I really enjoyed the ways in which I could work on my own and reflect as part of a team. Later, when I joined as a Program Coordinator, I realized that so much of what I stand for involves working between “at the forefront” and “behind the scenes,” along with establishing and strengthening relationships outside of an academic mindset. So I try to implement that at every program where I work.
What is the most rewarding part about working for T4A? What have you learned so far?
Carra: I’ve done nothing but learn so far! It’s such a pleasure to be with like-minded and hard-working colleagues who are eager to help me learn and grow into this new position. I think the most rewarding thing will be watching students become more confident in their abilities while simultaneously watching tutors, who are of course also students, gain a new skill set and grow in their professionalism. T4A really serves both groups.
Sahar: The most rewarding part is definitely relationship-building with students. It’s a process and a balance that’s renewed every year, but I’ve learned that even stopping a student to say hello and ask how they’re doing is more effective than immediately asking for a hall pass. The more you engage positively with a student, the more you’re likely to have an impact on them, and vice versa. Sometimes, students may come up to me and show me something they’ve learned, or ask to bring home an assessment they’re proud of, and encouraging them in that way is always rewarding to me.
What are you most looking forward to in your work with T4A in 2017-2018?
Carra: I’m looking forward to learning more about grantwriting–that is a new area for me!
Sahar: Currently, I’m looking forward to the prospect of Codman being a weekday program. In my experience as a Coordinator, Codman was exclusively a Saturday program, but I think being on campus Monday through Thursday gives me and the tutors a better opportunity to integrate ourselves into the school’s environment and community, and to meet more closely with students and teachers! I’m also looking forward to having a heavier hand in the way of marketing and social media; it lets me apply a lot of what I learned in the way of publishing in ways I never thought I’d be able to.
What has been your most memorable T4A experience so far?
Carra: On my very first day, our Special Projects Associate Kyle rollerbladed into the office to deliver baked goods. I thought to myself, “I think I’m going to be very happy here…”
Sahar: There was a time last fall when I was visiting Codman to do some inventory for the upcoming program, and as I was leaving, I happened to run into one of our students from last year. His reaction, and how happy he was to see me still working as part of the Codman community, really sticks out to me.
What are your personal goals for the future?
Carra: I’m eager to grow into new leadership roles. One of the reasons I left the classroom (which was a very difficult choice, by the way) was because I felt I was ready for new challenges, but I also felt that getting my administrative license and becoming a principal wasn’t the right path for me. I think T4A is a unique organization with a great deal of potential, and I’m so happy to be a part of its future.
Sahar: I think my current goal is to continue to establish myself as a member of the school communities where I work. In the meantime, I’ve always wanted to write a book, or be published in some way. I have ideas—it’s just a matter of getting them down on paper.