As a first generation college graduate, Elaine Schear understands what it is like for the students with whom she works at CRLS. After earning her undergraduate, master’s, and PhD in educational studies, Elaine has devoted most of her tutoring experiences to students who are applying to college and are often the first in their family to do so.
Elaine Schear, CSV TutorElaine began with CSV more than six years ago prior to her own daughter’s starting college. She wanted to get involved with her daughter’s school and never realized how meaningful the experience with CSV would become, especially tutoring students through the CSV Tutoring Center. Because of her background in English writing, reading and composition, she began to contribute to the College Planning and Essay Writing program, helping students write their college essays. “There’s no question in my mind I learn from my students, I learn about my students…they keep me on my toes,” Elaine says, describing how she enjoys the tutor/student relationships that are created. What’s more, she appreciates getting to know how each student is so different from another with regard to their personality, their needs, their experiences, and who they are as writers and learners. “It’s fascinating, always,” she says. One student in particular, Jason, gave Elaine “an eye-opening experience”. He came to her with some difficulty in reading, and together they finished Toni Morrison’s Sula. The book opened up discussions regarding race, sexuality, geography and identity which would not have been discussed otherwise, and it greatly enriched the student’s learning. “I don’t know if I can recapture that moment” of watching Jason grow as a learner and reader, Elaine says. The tutoring help “absolutely saved him” when it came to applying and writing his college application essay, by virtue of his own actions and determination. They have continued a correspondence, and even now that he attends a community college, he still asks Elaine’s advice about his writing assignments. For both of them, the relationship was very important, and Elaine believes it was more significant because it extended beyond his time at CRLS. Elaine is an example of a dedicated CSV tutor. She currently volunteers by tutoring after school every week, but she has also helped as a classroom ESL assistant, even conducting a poetry workshop. She is also a co-founder of the Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, the non-profit agency that helps raise funds for CRLS within the Cambridge community. Her work with both FOCRLS and CSV is her way of giving back and ensuring students who want help with their education can get it.