Monday, July 2, 2012

Braggin' On My Students

As you may recall, I tutor children in reading one morning per week. I have three students, all second graders. Sometimes they read to me; other times, they want me to read to them. In between, they tell me about their lives, their joys and their sorrows. 

This year, Maria's mother was deported - a practice of separating families that I know one day we will look back on with deep shame. 

Yadira's dog had puppies - she loved that, but was sad when they were given away. 

Jay was briefly suspended for acting out in class - he returned and has been much better ever since. 

It's all good, even the not-so-good parts. When I can't help them with their problems, I can at least listen and sympathize.

I love it and they seem to like it, and their test scores show that even half an hour per week makes a big difference in their reading abilities. But, this isn't a plea for you to get involved in tutoring students, it's a chance to brag about mine.

Last Friday was the last day of their school year, when the school has a ceremony with singing and dancing and a barbecue to mark the start of summer vacation. I went to the ceremony despite overcast skies and spitting rain - what's a little rain compared to hearing an awesomely composed kindergartner sing "Hallelujah" like a diminutive rock star?

As I sat in the audience awaiting the start of festivities, I kept seeing the door to my classroom pop open and a small head appear to scan the crowd, then slip back inside. On the fourth or fifth time, one of my students stuck her head out and spotted me sitting in the crowd, waved briefly and ducked back in. Then, the door crashed open and all three of my students came flying out, down the ramp and along my row of chairs, each to give me a hug and a brown paper bag tied with ribbon.

Inside were thank you notes, obviously guided by their excellent teacher, but each carefully personalized with the child's style. And jewelry, wonderfully colorful and musical jewelry that I donned immediately and wore proudly for the rest of the week.

Days later, I'm still marveling at the wonderful year we had together. It was worth all the hours of sitting on chairs too small for my butt, correcting their phonics and their pronunciations, witnessing their struggles to master this crazy English language, worrying about their behavior and my response to it. I knew I had an expertise to share with them - what I didn't realize was how much warmth and energy and downright love they had to share with me.

All my students (in fact, all the students in the school) will be promoted to the next grade. And  Maria won an award for "Most Improved" student. I will have new second graders to tutor next year, although Yadira asked me if I would please go with her to third grade, and I have to admit I'm tempted. 


Blogger Greg said...

What a great feeling!Doing what you love is the best.:)

Monday, July 02, 2012  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Sounds like you made a tremendous difference to those kids. Wow! Brava!

Monday, July 02, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, it has been surprisingly satisfying.

Cookiecrumb, I am amazed at how little time it takes to make a difference. And you should see them - they are so adorable! And I'm not usually one who just loves children, as so many women do naturally - but these guys have really gotten into my heart.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012  

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