Two weeks left. Whew, its been a long six months. A lot of change, a lot of surprises, a lot of SAT math and YMCA surveys. I feel like I have accomplished a good amount of things at the YMCA; but I know my true impact has been through the Mobile Learning Lab. Kids will come on the bus that are incredibly disenfranchised with their schools; They climb on with slumped shoulders and their heads down. But after a few weeks with one of our tutor/mentors believing in them they leave with their heads held high and filled with confidence. However, this process is not easy. I now truly understand why teachers hate questions like “what time is it?” or “when is this block over?” or my personal favorite: “can we be done now?”. There is a lot of push-pull at the beginning. If I badger a kid into talking to me and force him to move quickly through all the material, he’ll only end up resenting me and think I am just another teacher who doesn’t care. There is also the problem of tutoring more than one kid. When tutoring two students at once I have to leave one to their own devices for a few minutes to help the other, and more often than not I return to the first kid to find them staring off into space or frantically texting underneath the table. I have found that rebuking the kid only causes a rift between me and them. My strategy is to pretend I don’t notice these mini study transgressions and do my best to ease them back on track by asking them simple questions about the subject at hand. After we have met two or three times, the kid will get on the bus, make a beeline to his/her seat next to me , pick up the Tablet and start working without any push from me. They start to ask me questions instead of me asking them, and they start to verbalize what they learn to me. I haven’t found any type of work to be much more satisfying than that.
On a completely different note, I came across this article by MLL star Chazz Woodson about Race, Lacrosse, and Inclusion. As a lacrosse player i found his article completely on point and worth reading; it is also very in tune with the mission of SIS.