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MIT Students Return to High School ... to Teach

By Pradeep Sreekanthan
Circulation Manager

MIT students will return to area high schools this spring, but instead of taking classes, they will be teaching them.

MIT students, alumni, and friends will teach seventh through 12th grade students from the greater Boston area through the High School Studies Program this spring. HSSP, which is sponsored by the Educational Studies Program, is a "great opportunity for students to do something different from the normal high school environment," said coordinator Rebecca L. Berry '95.

HSST will offer courses in a wide variety of subjects ranging from presentations on favorite hobbies to an intensive course in calculus. The "teachers," including both undergraduate and graduate students, created the classes in subjects that interested them, choosing their content, format, and level of difficulty. Classes fall loosely into seven categories, including math, science, social science, performing arts, liberal arts, computer science, and a catch-all category called "hobbits."

The program will run for ten weeks, from March 7 to May 9. Classes will meet every Saturday for one-and-a-half to two hours. Over 500 students are expected to join the program, which costs $20 per student. Registration will be held on Feb. 29 at the Student Center, and all eligible students are urged to join the program.

Students get teaching experience

Since 1969, the High School Studies Program has been part of ESP's drive to improve the education process. In addition, HSSP helps MIT students to explore and test their interest in teaching while still in college, since formal certification is not required to be an HSSP teacher. Those interested in pursuing a teaching career will get a flavor of the real thing and those set on a different path can come to appreciate this vocation.

The MIT students involved in HSSP will not earn any money for their efforts. All teaching is done voluntarily, and students involved said "it is a lot of fun."

There are over a dozen HSSP alumni in MIT's freshman class, and the majority of them will be participating in the other side of the program this year.

ESP has teaching tradition

ESP members said the organization, which was founded in 1957, has served "over 35,000."

In addition to HSSP, ESP conducts a fall weekend activity called "Splash," where MIT students teach lectures and seminars to junior and senior high school students.

During the summer, a program called "Junction" brings together motivated high school juniors and seniors, college students, and professionals for rigorous courses. Preparation classes for the Scholastic Aptitude Test and a series of seminars on education are also offered.