From Tutor to Teacher


Renée Zahigian
Undergraduate Student

Graduation Year
2019

Hometown
Winchester, Massachusetts

Academic Program
Education and Spanish double major with a concentration in the STEM fields; Special education M.A. candidate

Activities & Interests
Teaching Intern at Instituto San Román and Instituto Nuestra Señora de Lourdes in Argentina; Reach Out Center Coordinator and Volunteer

 

If all goes as intended for Renée Zahigian ’19, next spring she’ll embark on an incredible journey: spending a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a teaching assistant. She’s applying for a Fulbright Award to assist with her plans, which include establishing and running a volunteer tutoring program that will place college students in elementary schools to help children with their homework.

Renée is no stranger to Buenos Aires. Through Assumption’s internship program, she previously spent a month at Assumptionist schools in the city—Instituto San Román and Instituto Nuestra Señora de Lourdes—teaching students English and even lessons entirely in Spanish on everything from poetry to the nervous system. “My experience in Argentina helped me become more open-minded, which is an important trait for any teacher,” says Renée. “I loved my time in Argentina, and I can’t wait to go back.”

Renée’s Fulbright plans reflect her passion for both teaching and service. At Assumption, she served as a volunteer tutor and helped to run an in-school tutoring program for the nearby Lincoln Street Elementary School. In fact, tutoring at public schools in Worcester is what originally got her involved in the classroom—and dedicated to becoming a public elementary school teacher. “Many of these students will be the first in their families to attend college,“ says Renée. “I want to be a role model for them, and as an elementary school teacher, I can help them develop skills they’ll need for the rest of their lives.”

Understanding the needs of different populations will help me build a better, more effective, more inclusive classroom.

As an education major at Assumption, Renée has already made an impact. She has taught students from third through sixth grades math, literacy, and history; worked with special needs and English Language Learner (ELL) students; and volunteered with the Worcester Refugee Assistance Program (WRAP), helping refugee students who are still learning English master a variety of skills.  

Once she returns from Argentina, Renée plans to complete her master’s degree in special education. In fact, she’s already enrolled in Assumption’s accelerated master’s program. Says Renée, “Understanding the needs of different populations will help me build a better, more effective, more inclusive classroom.”   

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