Dial-A-Teacher, the UFT’s free homework helpline, is a lifeline for students every Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. when school is in session.
It offers K-12 students and their parents homework support from licensed teachers in English, math, science and social studies in 10 languages: Armenian, Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), English, French, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Tagalog.
“After two years of dealing with COVID, Dial-A-Teacher is back in full swing and excited to serve,” said UFT Staff Director Anthony Harmon, who oversees the program. One of the best aspects of Dial-A-Teacher, he noted, is that teachers use questions to “help kids find their way to the answers.”
Now in its 42nd year, Dial-A-Teacher continued operating during the pandemic. During the past two years, it has focused in part on helping students “recover the basics,” program coordinator Sean Blanks said.
Changes implemented during the pandemic have made it easier for participating educators to reach those who need the help, said Amy Kopchains, a special education teacher at PS 171 in Manhattan and an educator for more than 40 years.
During the pandemic, she said, teachers employed by the program were given access to the Dial-A-Teacher site via their own computers so they could work remotely, in addition to working from their computers at the program’s offices at 50 Broadway. As a result, Kopchains said, “If a student’s doing an assignment, it makes it easier for the student to screenshot something or for me to get on one of the websites they use.”
Kopchains began working at Dial-A-Teacher in 2003. Because students may request help from particular teachers when they call in, Kopchains said she has been able to assist some students from elementary school through high school.
It’s led her to appreciate what she was told when she signed up nearly 20 years ago: “It’s a really nice way to end the day.”
The hotline number to call for homework help is 212-777-3380.