Friday, January 22, 2010


I've posted before about some of my involvement with children and education, and lately a lot of my energy has been being geared towards that area. I'm currently tutoring a home schooled 10 yr. old in the area of reading comprehension. Brilliant child, excellent reader, and, as it turns out, he's actually pretty good at comprehending. So why am I tutoring him? Well, he doesn't like to read. He'd rather play Halo 3 (a game he had to school me on, further showing his comprehension capabilities.) So, when his mom is trying to go over lessons with him at home, he acts as though he can't do them. I got this admission out of him the other day after we'd gone over three stories and he read and comprehended them perfectly. Additionally, when we were done, he brought to my attention how one of the stories we'd read was very similar to one we'd read the week before...then went into full detail about the similarities. So, yeah. I'll be reporting this to his mother.

This week I helped another 10 yr. old with a social studies project. He wasn't going to do one, because he didn't have anyone to help him. He wanted to do it, but only had two days until it was due and just didn't have the assistance he'd need. If he was intending to do a project, he'd also have to turn in a 250 word essay on it complete with footnotes and a bibliograpy. Well, I'm all about the subject of social studies and specifically history. I also enjoy every opportunity I get to cut, glue, color, draw, and help out a true, sincere person, so I was game for it.

Initially I'd thought that he could do the project on Elijah McCoy, and I'd come up with all these ideas on how, in addition to his background and history, we'd find instances from tv, movies, and music where the phrase "The Real McCoy" had been used. I had it all planned in my mind. Well, that was before I found out he already had something in mind (I'd just assumed he hadn't). He wanted to do the project on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(That's some dark green, shiny fabric on the two side panels. My idea of course!)

My first thought was, "Oh noooooooo!" (lol!) That was only because I knew at least three others would do theirs on Dr. King (turned out to be five), and also because Dr. King's life and work was so vast, and it might be a challenge to narrow it all down in such a short period of time. Of course we'd have to do research, come up with all sorts of information, type it up, etc. So then I came up with the idea of picking out one aspect of his life and focusing on that. We agreed to focus on his involvement with the Montgomery bus boycott.
I wanted the end result to not look like I'd done all the work. Ya know, more fifth grader-ish and less grown up-ish. In the end, we both felt as though we'd struck a good balance, and I was pleased that I was able to successfully control those scorpian urges to take complete control! My only regret is not putting somewhere near the title "Dr. Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Bus Boycott." That thought only came to me after we'd finished and then again after I got to the school and saw the criteria that they were being judged on. Turns out I was asked to be a judge.

I made it known that I'd helped with one of the projects. It wasn't a problem, though, because his wasn't in either of the categories I was to judge. But one of the questions that was asked was something like, "Is the subject clearly stated?" Looking back on ours, it really wasn't. If one read the information on the left panel and looked and the pictures on the right, they could find out, but it wasn't necessarily clearly stated. *Sigh* Ah well. I'm just happy that I was able to help him participate in the event.

The title of the project, "The Right to Protest for Right", comes from a quote made by Dr. King during his involvement with the boycott:

"The great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right."
It can be seen in the middle of the right panel in the handwriting of the student.
I'm still contemplating the quote as a whole, but I do like the last part.


becca.elpy said...

I tutored a few kids for a while a few years ago. I loved the look in their eyes when they grasped a concept. They were smart kids, perfectly capable of getting better grades if only, like the boy in the second story, took time to properly teach them.

The first kid's story cracked me up. Especially since I was homeschooled and tried to play my mom like that. Didn't work when I did it but both of my brothers played her to perfection.

High Desert Diva said...

There needs to be more people like you in the world.

Newness of Life said...

I think it's wonderful that you are tutoring kids. I've found myself being my son's tutor more and more lately. Maybe I'll post more about what I'm going through and feeling about institutionalized education in my blog. Maybe not. lol. At any rate both he and I seem to enjoy more the time WE spend together learning. And I see him taking more initiative with the one on one attention I provide. I wish I could find a way to get him that daily at school. *sigh*