Today we're talking about one of the best parts of teaching the AVID elective getting to work with some amazing college tutors. A great college tutor is an invaluable resource in the AVID classroom, and the best ones often helped shape the dynamics of not only tutorials, but the classroom culture as well. We are super excited to have one of my former college tutors Karen Lopes in the studio with us today.
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Kelli, Karen, Stephanie
I volunteered for fun, but it was a great experience to know that wasn't what I wanted to do.
Hey AVID family this is Kelly Hogan-Flowers.
And I'm Stephanie Downey
From RIMS AVID and you're listening to the RIMS AVID Roundtable, the podcast where we discuss all things AVID twice each month on this podcast, we get together with a special guest to talk about their AVID journey. They'll tell their story and explain what makes them an AVID rock star. They'll share their ideas, best practices, and strategies that they've learned along the way.
Today we're talking about one of the best parts of teaching the AVID elective getting to work with some amazing college tutors. A great college tutor is an invaluable resource in the AVID classroom, and the best ones often helped shape the dynamics of not only tutorials, but the classroom culture as well. We are super excited to have one of my former college tutors Karen Lopes in the studio with us today. Karen graduated from Rancho Verde High School and AVID National Demonstration school in the Val Verde Unified School District in 2017. She was involved in AVID for all four years and a National Honor Society was consistently making honor roll and receive the California Seal of Biliteracy. After graduation she enrolled in Cal State San Bernardino for biology. She has been an AVID college tutor for both Paris High School and orange Vista High School and is now a substitute teacher in Val Verde. She will graduate this May from CSUSB with a BS in biology, then we'll be enrolling in their single subject credential program. Karen has a great model of how AVID shapes our students and their futures and we're so excited to have her on our show today. So welcome, Karen.
Alright, so Karen, we are so excited to have you today and
Thank you so much for having me today.
Good. And we want to get to know you a little bit. So to start off, where did you go to school? And what do you have in common with your college mascot?
So I go to school at CSUSB. My mascot is a coyote. And I think I identify with a coyote because they both work independently, and it's as a pact. So I feel like that's what AVID has shown us to be like, both working as a team and independently for the future. And I think they're really vocal animals. And I think AVID has really shown me to be very well spoken.
I love that idea of that of the pack, because that is AVID fam.
That's right. So tell us your history with AVID what makes or what made you want to join and how did it impact you?
I found out about AVID in middle school, I actually had a friend who was in AVID. And, you know, she told me a little bit about the program. And I decided, well, I want to do this for high school because I really wanted to go to college, but I didn't know, you know, the path to take. My parents they both come from Mexico and I feel like sometimes I didn't have really the guidance to tell me like, you know, go to college, it's always go to college, but it's never this is what you have to do to go to college. Or even like, I don't know, the application. I didn't know anything at that point. So I decided to go and I took my parents we went and from there, I joined this family and I feel like it's really helped me be where I am today.
I love that.
So if there's a first year AVID student listening, what would you tell them? What advice would you give them?
I would say you know, keep up with your grades. You talk to your teachers find out what you really want to do. It's super hard. There's so many majors. And I feel like along the way, you know, you want to go to college, but you don't know what you want to do. And I feel like it's very hard. If you have that idea that okay, I want to go to college, but I'm not sure what I want to do. I personally didn't join any clubs. But I knew that I liked my major. I knew that's what I wanted to do. So I actually volunteered at Kaiser Permanente. Throughout all of high school, I got all the three Presidential Awards for volunteering there. I did up to 600 hours of community service,
That's a lot of community service
That was but it was it was really like a dedication, like I loved being there. I thought initially, initially, that's what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to go, you know, maybe into the medical field, something like that. But I felt like I was a little pressured because of what I chose. And you know, everybody's doing that everybody goes to biology to be something else. And I felt like along the way, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. So that that wasn't I volunteered for fun, but it was a great experience to know that wasn't what I wanted to do.
It saved you a lot of heartache in the end to volunteering first,
Yeah that's important. I always tell my kids with community service, like, that's a great way to figure out if you like something or not. Because you're out there, you're doing it. Like they may realize I don't want to be around sick people that don't want to touch stuff, you know, and they don't know that if they want to work with animals, they need to go out there and do an animal shelter and really see like, Is this something I can see myself doing? Instead of going to college and trying it for the first time in the major?
That's great, you're able to do that. So following that same thread there, what advice would you give to first your AVID teacher, AVID tutor? Because you could wear that for a while too? So I mean, what what advice would you give them?
Yes, I worked there for, you know, four years and a half as an AVID tutor. I think in the beginning, I was very scared, like going into it. Like, you know, you're gonna have to help these kids on anything, basically, like, any subject, you're there, you're there support, you're there guidance, they look up to you. And, you know, I think it's very important to know that as a tutor, you're there as guidance support, it's okay to not know, every single question that they do. It's okay. You know, if you didn't have experience with physics, and they do a physics problem, it's okay to go in there completely clueless. But you have the resources, you have what they tell you, that's what they do a tutorial on, you know, they give you the background, okay, now, you know, a little bit of the definition, you know, the problem, you know, the steps, you know, where they got it on the book, you know, online and to look at, like, those resources and see, how can I help them? How can I approach them? And how can I be a guidance to get everybody, you know, going with the tutorial, and just get everything settled? And then you're there hearing the questions. And you could be like, Okay, I get this type of question. Let's ask a little bit further, things like that.
Okay, I think the question and processes so I mean, that's the biggest part of the world. But I think students a lot of times don't realize that even tutors that you don't have to know the answer to be able to help someone solve it. Right, asking those leading questions, is what helps or even if you're trying to figure out yourself, like, what would I ask to figure this out?
As a way that you'll lead those students into figuring it out, too.
Yeah. And you know, as a tutor, it's hard.
It is and I'm not good at math. And, you know, right, but I get asked those math questions and try and figure it out that way. Because it's just
Right, we're always trying to see you know, what formula, or sometimes, you know, we kind of know, maybe that's not the right formula, but we don't say that's not the right formula, we're like, you know, what is this formula give us? What is this? What do you need? What are you trying to find? And then they're like, Oh, it is the wrong formula?
So I think that's, and I love that you talked about how you're there for, you know, guidance, but for us, you know, we really feel like the most important role of the tutor is as an example.
And, and what a great example you've been to, to those students. So talking about your your AVID time, share with us your favorite, you know, AVID memory or AVID experience, or even an avid success story.
I feel like I've had so many great experiences in AVID, even just going on all the field trips, going to all the colleges seeing around like, you know, this is the college that I can potentially go to, I can be here. And the best time I think was the junior trip, I think for everybody. And, you know, it's sad that some of these students didn't get to experience that. Because it was really like, the best experience like you know, you're with all your friends, you are really with all your AVID family, and you're going to all these colleges and seeing, I don't have to stay local, I can go away, I see how these students are doing it and just kind of hearing from every college, you know, a little bit of background about what they are. Maybe you've always thought that you wanted to go to Merced. You see the school, you're like, oh, you know, it's far, but it's not for me, I like something bigger. I like something, you know, it's very different to actually go to the colleges and see the environment. Or if you want something really small to like, you know, there's really big schools and you're like, No, I don't, this isn't for me, you know,
Being on a campus is that's a game changer. That's when you that's when you know
So I know you said you wanted to get first into medical the medical field but then you realize you always wanted to be a teacher. So kind of when did you really know when you feel like you really figured that out?
I think that's the thing. I've always known that I've wanted to be a teacher like, since I was little I would run like get up or run go to my uncle. He would live like right next to us. And I would teach him English, like, it was, it's just those experiences that it's like, this is what I want to do, I would get my whiteboard, go run, and I was the teacher, like, I always wanted to be the teacher. And I feel like sometimes society, you know, pressures you to do other things like, from what you want to do. And I feel like talking to a lot of my classmates in biology, they always wanted to do PA, dental school, something along that route. And it wasn't for me. And when I, you know, went to volunteer, I had that, you know, aha moment, I guess that I was like, I don't want to do this. So that, you know, I was like, I want to be a teacher. And this is what I'm going to do, even if I was like, the only one. And sometimes I feel like I am I the only one, you know, in my major, or there's a couple others. But, you know, in my little pack that I have, I feel like it's just me that wants to be a teacher. So I feel like it's hard. You know, kind of like figuring out, you know, again, how to get there how to apply, but I feel like AVID has definitely, you know, helped me like, get that help ask for those resources. Because I feel like sometimes you don't want to ask for help. Or you're scared to ask for help. And AVID has really shown me that, you know what, it's, it's scary, but you're gonna do it and you're gonna figure out your path.
And good for you for following your heart.
Yeah, that's always what I wanted to do, you know, and now I'm very hopeful that I get into the credential program and that I actually, you know, do what I love to do.
I wrote you a killer recommendation so I think you'll be good.
So, Karen, I'm gonna give you a sentence starter. So because of avid, how would you respond to that?
Because of AVID, I went to college, I'm going to graduate college, I figured out what I wanted to do in the future. And I learned so many things, I learned to work independently as a group. And you know, I have that individual determination. And I am where I am today because of avid.
Alright, so what was one unexpected thing that surprised you when you got to college, like when going to college or something you didn't expect to see? Or just what was something surprising to you, that maybe you learned or something you could share with students who are going to be in college soon?
I think there's so many things, I think even it comes down to like the most minimal things, registering for classes, like you don't know what classes to get. You don't sometimes you're like, Okay, I'm in college now. But what do I do, like, what's my next step. And just even seeing, like getting familiar with, you know, your school website or something. And just seeing like, these are the classes that I need for my major, this is what I should take, this is what I can explore. Like, there's so many resources out there and just getting to know your school. Like, I know, my school offers so many amazing things they offer the Writing Center, they offer mentors for any, you know, any grade level, and you can just go to them and they they meet with you like twice a week, sometimes even once a week. And as you don't need them that much anymore. Maybe once a month, and just knowing like, you know, they're there for support, they can help me figure out my classes. They tell you about all the resources on campus.
So just being aware of, of what's on campus and what's offered.
That's, that's great advice. Because it is a it is a different world. And as much as you prepare, you still one day, it's like, oh, I'm I'm in college.
Yes all of a sudden, there it is.
I gotta do this. Now. Anything's different. Because we were in high school, you have like so many different teachers, and you have your counselor, and you have those things too. And I think a lot of students know that there's their guidance counselor's at college, where you can go and they'll talk through your plan and what classes you should take. And there's a lot of great resources for students, but when they don't know, but I think avid helps with that.
we talked about ELP. And I talk about how to find those resources and how to advocate for yourself. And I don't think students always know that there's that stuff available to them when they get there. And it's big. And there's a lot of people you know,
Yeah, it's really, it's really different from high school, like even, you know, in AVID, like, we're so used to, like, taking notes and stuff like that, that we go on with those same skills. And, you know, that makes us succeed in our college classes. And I'm really glad that, you know, we've changed the way that we did the notes, you know, now everybody has to like, can express themselves in different ways through the notes like now with, you know, not only Cornell notes, and I feel like that's such a great help for college because sometimes you don't do the Cornell notes. You want to do it your own way. And I'm glad that we're doing that. No. And teaching that now in high schools
Shout out to focus No, right? Yes. All right, Karen, can you give our listeners your very best piece of AVID advice? So to be in, we call this part the the AVID one thing. So, to be successful in AVID what is the one thing that a student needs to do?
I think the one thing that you have to do is be determined, you know, be with your group know how to work independently know how to work together, it's really going to help you in the long run, you know, with whatever major you choose with whatever career you choose. That's what I would say just determination. You know, have those goals. You know, you want to go to college, but what do you want to do after really figure it out?
That's great advice.
Yes, thank you. So that's it for this episode of the RIMS AVID Roundtable. I'm Stephanie
And I'm Kelly.
If you have questions, feedback on today's episode, or an idea for a future show, please tweet us @rimsAVID, or email at email@example.com we'd love to hear from you. And be sure to check out our website rimsavid.org for all the latest news and events.
Thanks again, Karen. Thanks for sharing the spending the afternoon with us and sharing your AVID wisdom and your excellence and just the example that you are and I know that Stephanie is super proud of
of all of the work that you've done, and then how far you've come.
Thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm really honored to be here with both of you guys. And you know, I'm really emotional because it's like Miss Downey has really watched me grow, you know, and we've come a long way. And I think it's a great thing for me that I'm giving back to my community.
And for our listening audience. There are some tears in here today, but, but they're good. Thanks to all of you for listening. Don't forget to follow us in your favorite podcast app, so you don't miss a single episode. Join us again next time for more RIMS AVID roundtable will save your seat.