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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tutoring Moments

There's been so many blogable moments at home and work lately. Right now, I've got an after-school program going in town. There are over 100 students attending at an elementary school.

Before Spring Break, I was called to the Kindergarten classroom. Let me just say, God Bless Kindergarten teachers! I don't know how they do it. This student was drawing on the walls and running around the room totally out of control. Once in the hallway, the teacher was giving me all the gory details as he went to his locker, threw everything out, stomped in and shut the door. The teacher said, "Well at least he's contained" and went back into her room. There I am in the hallway, 10 minutes before tutoring is over, trying to coax a stubborn 5 year old from his locker. Knowing he had the upper hand, he refused to budge from his locker and wasn't scared to tell me in so many Kindergarten words! I called his mama and held the phone to his ear. I couldn't believe it. The only words out of his mouth were "Yes Maam, No Maam." Is this the same kid? After a few minutes, he looked up at me with big, pitiful eyes and said an award winning "I'm sorry Miss Michele." Now, who could stay mad after that? I only wish I had a camera to capture the moment, me holding my cell to this 5 year old's ear while he stood in his locker.

Today, I checked on him early in the session. There he was running around the room, not listening to his teacher, being a basic holy terror. Dang, here we go again! Back out in the hallway, me frantically searching for his mom's number as he slams open his locker, throws its contents halfway down the hallway, ready to jump in. With as serious a tone as I could manage, I warned, "Don't you dare get in that locker!" I should have let him because next that little twerp through a marble at me, can you believe that? I held the phone to his ear to let his mom talk to him as I searched him for more visible weapons. Within minutes, he was apologizing . . . again. Back in his classroom, I gave the teacher his mom's number and while explaining it's magic, another less angry, more inquisitive 5 year old with missing front teeth, looked up at me and spit out, "How old you is?" In mid-sentence, I answered, "Really old" and kept talking with the teacher. Then he said, "What, you is 30 or 31?" He then had my full attention as I answered smiling, "Yes, yes I is, thank you, thank you very much!"

Halfway through tutoring, I was called to one of the 2nd grade classrooms. One of our students was in trouble. I told him to get his stuff and come with me. He burst out in LOUD, obnoxious wailing. I'm mean he was LOUD, it caught me off guard. He's almost as tall as me, standing their throwing a fit like a 2 year old, snot pouring out his nose and tears down his cheeks. I swear, I was more stern with the Kindergartner, it was crazy! Knowing he wouldn't hear a thing I had to say until he calmed down, I told him to go into the bathroom and to dry it up. While in there, it sounded like he was going to throw up. What is the deal? A teacher stopped to listen with me in the hallway and asked "Do you know his story?"

His mom lost their house and moved in with friends. Get this, there are 14 of them living in a 1 bedroom apartment. Obviously, sleeping is a problem. She said he often goes hungry. They are living out of a trash bag in a cramped, little apartment. Mom had a court hearing today and might be in jail tonight when he gets home from tutoring. If she manages to avoid jail today, she'll go back in front of the judge in 2 weeks. When he came out of the bathroom, I wrapped my arms around him like he was my own and vowed I'd never let go. He wailed. I wanted to too.

I was called into the other 2nd grade classroom before Spring Break for a girl acting out. Her mom recently started serving a jail sentence on the weekends. I waited with another girl for her ride to come after tutoring. Her family is living with some church friends because their apartment burned down from a meth lab.

I called a good friend, my mom and informed my husband that I just might pull a blindside tomorrow and bring at the least 20 kids home with me. I saw the movie "Precious" over the break. You'd like to believe it doesn't really happen, don't you?