Friday, February 27, 2009

Tutor Tuesday

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had an official BLSA event this week tutoring.  BLSA used to do a weekly event called Tutor Tuesdays, but I never went.  A 1L, not knowing we used to do this, organized it again, so I decided to go.

The tutoring is part of an after-school program called YES.  The elementary students do activities earlier in the afternoon, and by the pictures on the wall, I guess they go on field trips sometimes, too.  When we arrived they were getting ready for study time.  They each had a folder of special center work.  They're suposed to do a certain amount of work from the folder and then they get a treat of getting to read a story book from the bookshelves.

I sat at a table with My Rhyming Twin, which confused the heck out of the girls at our table, because of the whole rhyming thing.  One of them was convinced we were sisters.  (She also wouldn't believe my braids aren't my hair.)  That girl was in 5th grade, and despite being a bit of a bully and full of attitude, managed to do some work with My Rhyming Twin. 

My girl made me feel hopeless.  She was in third grade and just kept saying she couldn't do anything.  I tried to get her to read, but she couldn't read anything over 3 letters long.  We tried sounding out words, but she couldn't do that either.  Plus, she was constantly getting up, going to get a book, turning pages and putting check-marks on everything.  There were girls like that in my classes in grade school; by the time they were 16, they had kids and drug habits.

Despite her not wanting to work at all, the girl kept talking about how much she liked going to the center.  It made me wonder if she just didn't want to go home.  She was only one of two white children at the center, and she ran right up to my table when she got in the room.  I was kind of curious why she came right up to me, but I didn't ask.  Maybe it was because I was only one of two white volunteers (the other was a middle-aged man).  In any case, it made me feel, for once in my life, like my skin had something to offer.

Most of the time I was sitting there (trying to figure out what to do with this girl), I was thinking about The Legend.  They must have programs like this in the East Bay, and this seems like exactly what he needs.  A job doing anything that pays something, and then a place to volunteer and work with kids the rest of the time.  He would have known what to do with that girl.  I was completely at a loss.

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