Since we started serving at the Fuller School of Excellence, we've had a lot of amazing experiences with our students. Looking at the progress we've made has been amazing. We have also had our fair share of struggles.

One of the main things that many of our team members struggle with is finding time for small group tutoring sessions and conducting those small groups. A lot of things factor into why we have a hard time making sure our students are retaining the information we are giving them. 

For instance, Joel, one of our team members, had a lot to say about his own struggles. 

"Small group sessions has been my greatest challenge so far. At first, I found it difficult to get my students to focus and take their work seriously." Said Joel. "It didn't take long for me to realize that it was partly my fault. I needed to set expectations from the beginning."

Small group sessions have been a challenge for many of our team members, so we have shared some best practices to help each other out. Our partner teachers know so much more about the students than we do, so we asked for their insight on how we could better utilize our small group time with students. 

For example, we should work individually with students who have trouble focusing in groups. Also, we created an incentive system, such as 10 minutes of free time using their chrome books or even having lunch with City Year members, to encourage students to focus. 

Many of these tactics have helped us achieve better relationships with our students while also improving their academics. The main lesson we have learned from out struggles is to be sure and share tips with your teammates. Reflect on your struggles and your successes and please share them! Never give up because there is always a way. 

Post by Jessenia Martinez, a City Year Chicago AmeriCorps member on the Hyatt Hotels Foundation team serving at Fuller School of Excellence.

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