Tracy Will begins generously offering free math tutoring during second lunch


For the majority of first semester, math teacher Tracy Will observed students during second lunch excitedly devouring their food and divulging in conversation with each other. However, she also consistently observed students with their heads curled down, hurriedly completing homework.

Therefore, the idea to begin offering free math tutoring during second lunch dawned on Will roughly two weeks ago; she believed that a myriad of students would appreciate a twenty-minute math session during their lunch.

“I just made a poster and hung it up,” Will said. “A few students had asked me for help before I hung the sign, and so those students really gave me the idea that since I’m here anyway, why not open the invitation to the kids to come and get math help?”

Students who have previously reached out to Will for tutoring before and after school, who were comfortable with her teaching style and thoroughly enjoyed having her as a teacher, were key to persuading and encouraging Will to offer her knowledge and time to the students who have second lunch.

An example of a previous student who has requested help from Will before and has completed a tutoring session with Will during second lunch is sophomore Alexis Puffer. Alexis took Algebra/Geometry with Will last semester and enjoyed Will’s patience and kindness.

“I’ve always struggled with math,” Alexis said, “and it felt like a miracle that a teacher would be willing to sit down and help me for no charge or time after school. [During second lunch] I asked for help on my math final; she helped me so much within just seven minutes—more than I learn in a regular forty-five-minute class hour.”

The most attractive feature of Will’s tutoring, besides being completely free of cost, is that she can accurately provide assistance in Algebra/Geometry, Geometry, Concepts of Algebra 2, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, AP Statistics, and Calculus: every math course that FHC offers.

“I’m sure I can confidently help students in any course that they wanted to work on during middle lunch,” Will said. “If a student wanted to have someone else to hold them accountable to seriously working for twenty minutes, then they could choose to show up [as well].”

However, Alexis is currently the only student who has chosen to sit down with Will during second lunch and request tutoring. But, Will is hopeful that with finals approaching this week, more students will find the confidence to reach out for assistance and accept her offer for free tutoring.

“Kids really value their lunchtime,” Will said. “[However], I always appreciated getting my homework done during school because I had sports after school. [But], [students] like to socialize, and I respect that.”

Principal Steve Passinault credits students with having their own tutors outside of school, National Honors Society (NHS) students, offering tutoring in the Academic Success Center after school, and students not wanting to sacrifice their lunchtime to the modest attention that Will’s station has received.

However, Passinault was not surprised that Will began to offer tutoring during second lunch. He believes that Will giving up her time during lunch accurately shows who she is as a teacher and how much she cares about students’ success in math. Likewise, he admires Will as a person and thinks interaction with Will would be beneficial for every student.

“Mrs. Will always wants to try to help kids who are struggling with math,” Passinault said. “I think that tutoring [helps] reinforce the concepts that students are learning. Sometimes, hearing a different perspective [on a concept is helpful]. It helps give [students] the confidence to do better on their exams, and sometimes a point or two makes a difference [on an exam].”

Alexis shares similar opinions with Passinault regarding Will’s personality. Alexis appreciated Will’s slow, passionate teaching style last year, and she admired that Will made every single student of hers feel a sense of accomplishment.

“I had her last year, and she is truly the best math teacher I have ever had,” Alexis said. “I was in her Algebra/Geometry [class] last year, and I have never done so well on tests. Mrs. Will is so sweet and really helps. She never judges and always has opens arms to those that need help.”

Will has also been consistently writing down her availability for math help before and after school for every day of the week, every week, on a whiteboard in her classroom since last school year. However, the results were alarming when she recorded how many students came in for math help during this past December: one.

“I’m always willing to help kids,” Will said. “I wish more kids took advantage of it. When I’m walking these halls, I can give math help. Anytime in this school, or anytime I’m around anywhere, I can help out with math. I just wanted students who saw me sitting there, who might wonder if they could ask me [a question], [to know that they] absolutely [could].”

Likewise, Will stated that every math teacher at FHC offers individual help for students, before or after school, if they are at school. Will enjoys making herself accessible during class, and she wishes that more students had the time and the bravery to come forward for math help. She also believes that having the bravery to seek assistance from a teacher is a beneficial trait to obtain in high school.

Finally, Alexis has encouraged other students to give Will a chance to not only tutor them but brighten their day as well.

“My advice to all of those [students] who are shy is to know that everyone struggles with something,” Alexis said. “It’s never something to be ashamed of. No other students even notice nor will care. So, [get help] on that tricky math question.”