30 November 2010

a YES!!! moment

Today, just like every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 2-3pm I held my "free-for-all tutoring" lessons. If that wasn't clear enough I'll make a short story long. Basically, I sit in my classroom from 2-3 almost every day and any student that wants to come and ask me questions or get more help in English can come and talk to me. This is to replace the tutoring I was having every day after school until nearly 6pm, which is great for me so I can actually get home at a decent time- usually. Plus it shows me who is really dedicated to learning and who just liked to come to my house.

Almost every day I now have the same 4 students, and occasionally a few more will add to it. They know the rule is if they want help on their homework they must do it beforehand, unless they completely don't understand what they're supposed to be doing. I do this because they were all showing up with their homework and we'd spend the whole hour ONLY doing their homework, which wasn't helping them learn anything because they were anywhere from a year to 3 years behind on their lessons. So now the take the important materials, expand on it, play some games, and... get this... learn something. (Oh, side note, mostly 2nd-5th graders come to these lessons).

These lessons aren't so planned. In fact, they're not planned at all. Some students do individual work, some work in pairs, and sometimes all of the grades are working together. It's great, and exactly how I like it to be!

But the YES!!! moment came today with one of the 3rd graders. The first few times this boy came to these open lessons I was kind of confused. He is the student that most teachers would just leave behind because he is a little slower than other students, and he didn't know one word (other than, Hello) in English. If I am totally honest, I will admit that I thought to myself that there was no way he was going to learn English. Until today.

This boy- who I thought didn't really have a chance- was spelling words correctly, remembering vocabulary, and saying sentences. And a 4th grader (who I was told couldn't talk until he was 7, and is a "bad" student) was doing the same thing. These boys wait outside my door for an hour every day (they finish lessons early) for these sessions.

... and there is a 2nd grader who began coming to my English club with the bigger kids because she has a sister in the 6th grade. She was clueless, but it was because her bigger sister was always helping (aka DOING) her homework for her, remembered vocabulary today after we practiced it.

I feel like super-woman right now. This day, with these students, has helped me realize where my focus needs to be: with the kids that WANT to learn. Another volunteer told me this way back at the beginning of the semester when I had a total breakdown but I didn't quite understand how I could do that in the classroom. Well, honestly, I can't. So now I'm going to turn my focus to these kids that come after school because it's obvious they want to learn, and they're eager to learn, and dag-nabbit, they're going to learn... and I'm going to teach them!

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