By Lee Johnson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A new school year means homework and tough assignments that may require some tutorial care. But don’t worry, Homework Hotline is ready to help.
The organization uses certified teachers to provide Tennessee students in grades K-12 free one-on-one tutoring by phone and online in subjects that include reading, language arts, math, social studies, science and Spanish. There is also help available for students in more advanced courses like AP calculus and AP physics.
Homework Hotline is the only one of its kind in Tennessee and only one of 10 nationwide. Besides English, it provides tutoring in five other languages: Arabic, Spanish, Kurdish, Somalia and Swahili.
Executive director Rebekah Vance said Homework Hotline is a good resource for all students, particularly those who cannot afford private tutoring or speak English as a second language.
“Many of hotline’s students come from low-income families unable to afford the $35-$65 cost of private tutoring,” Vance said. “Others come from homes where English is not the native language and those in the home struggle to help them with their homework, as it is written in a language they may not speak.”
Last year, the hotline assisted more than 5,300 students through 9,731 sessions. One of its additions this year is an online whiteboard that allows students and teachers to work problems together in real time.
Jonathan Parrish is one of the 24 teachers at Homework Hotline.
Like many of the teachers who work the hotline, Parrish teaches at a local high school during the day. He says tutoring at HH is a refreshing experience.
“Students who call Homework Hotline are actively seeking knowledge and understanding,” said Parrish, who’s been tutoring at HH nine years. “That energy dynamic and giving to someone who is willing to receive is different than when you’re in a classroom of 30 and you have a percentage that wants to receive, but another percentage that is totally against receiving. Coming to Homework Hotline refuels me. It reminds me that there are students who want to learn.”
Jim Wrye, who serves as assistant executive director of the Tennessee Education Association—the state’s largest teachers’ union—said HH is an asset to education in Tennessee.
“It’s important that students get the support and the resources they need to achieve their learning goals,” Wrye said. “A lot of times parents working, extended family working, don’t’ have time to explain certain aspects of the assignments that they’re working on.
“So it’s great to have somebody at the other end of the line be able to walk you through those problems.”
For more information about Homework Hotline, visit http://www.homeworkhotline.info.