Today was an uneventful day. The kids were kind of crazy, but nothing was out of the ordinary. It was raining like crazy when we got there, and I think the kids were kind of stir-crazy. We arrived, started passing out snacks, and then took a restroom break. These restroom breaks are no small matter… they involve corralling the kids out of their seats, making sure they don’t mow over the other people in line, advising the kids not to throw paper towel at each other and just wash your hands because that’s disgusting if you don’t. It’s quite the ordeal, and the weather made everyone that more antsy. Snacks today were delicious though… I think someone went to Panera and got bagels. They looked delicious, and Sam managed to snag a cinnamon one for me.
I worked with Sam again today. I think it’s sort of become the pattern; they tell us to move around and not focus on just one student, but all the tutors have found the kids they work best with. One of mine is Sam, because he knows me and I think he just likes hanging out. We worked on his spelling words (he was having trouble with the ones that had “gh” in them) and his times tables (the 8’s this week! He was really excited to try them out). For whatever reason I was really distracted today. I couldn’t focus on what Sam was telling me, and a few times Mrs. Rose had to come by and redirect him so he was doing his work. I think Sam could tell, too; he looked a little disappointed when he had to repeat himself a few times. I picked up on it, thankfully, and was more focused the rest of the time.
One of the things I’m noticing is that I’m really getting a feel for the other tutors in the group. Originally I thought this would come first, and then after I’d developed friendships with the tutors I’d start on those with the kids, but it’s been the other way around. Each of the tutors is engaged with their own child, and so aside from the bus ride there and back, there’s not much time to get to know each other. I’m the kind of person that likes to sit quietly and keep to myself on a bus ride, but lots of these people…aren’t. It’s been good, because I’ve gotten the chance to not only get to know them and their stories, but I’ve also gotten to hear what they’re doing with the kids they’re tutoring, and how MOMs as a program is really connecting on an individual level with most of the kids.
More and more, I’m appreciating this program as far more than just a way to get credits for my social work class. I’m planning on continuing to volunteer next semester (though I’ll have to figure out a ride situation). It’s been something that’s really benefitted me, getting to reach out to the community and establish relationships with people I normally wouldn’t be able to. In that way, MOMs is also allowing me a small taste of what it would be like to be a social worker that works in a school, how the unique dynamics between each of the students creates a community that sometimes needs help. So far this semester, I’ve helped not only with homework, but also with communication and planning and helping students see the “big picture” side of things. That’s not a testament to my brilliant techniques; it’s simply an application of the stuff I’m learning in class. It’s a really awesome and encouraging feeling.
Also, on a fun note, Jalen made a point to come up to me and say goodbye today. I told him I thought he was really awesome. He smiled and we fist pounded. He left with his dad, I think, and after he was gone, one of the staff at MOMs came up to me and told me that Jalen told her I was “really legit”. Do I need more reasons to be here?