Retired teachers to mentor students virtually


SPRINGFIELD - Members of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association, a statewide association of retired educators, their families and supporters, are volunteering during this COVID-19 pandemic to assist students tackling the unprecedented challenge of finishing the school year at home.

“We want to help students learn,” said John Flaherty, a former high school and special education teacher and current president of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. “Our members are ready to help students build their learning skills and tutor in highly advanced subject areas like chemistry and mathematics. For elementary students, self-paced and self-directed learning is a foreign concept. A teacher-mentor will help students take their own initiative and focus their learning at their own pace.”

Parents desiring to match their student with a retired teacher may sign up on the Association’s website, www.irtaonline.org. Mentors are on a first come, first served basis. Mentors will meet with students in virtual environments. Mentorships will last from now until the end of the school year or June 1. Mentorships are at the sole discretion of the teacher-mentors.

“A retired Illinois public school teacher’s depth of knowledge is so great, it may be just what parents need to energize their children into at-home students,” Association Executive Director Jim Bachman said. “Retiree-mentors can specifically target aspects of learning that need the most attention, whether it’s mathematics, science, history, writing or reading.”

“Younger students may simply need help reading a story; other students will need advanced tutoring. If we retirees can find a way to help, we will,” Flaherty concluded.

IRTA encourages former teachers, spouses and supporters of teachers to join the Association. Learn more, join or renew your IRTA membership today at https://www.irtaonline.org.

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