Life changing

Spunky. A word to describe the first grader that I tutor every Monday. She’s full of everything- laughter, smiles, tears, attitude, wiggles- and lots of love. We work hard on math, sight words, and reading comprehension. She’s a comfortable burst of energy on a Monday evening.

Hardworking. A word to describe the third grader I sometimes tutor on Tuesdays. She tries her hardest with everything she does- sometimes it sticks, sometimes it doesn’t. We usually focus on math- right now, long division. It’s tricky for her, but there is never a moment when she’s not smiling, giggling, and moving her pencil/working her brain.

The rest of them that I see (whether regularly or on occasion) simply can not be given only one word. They are middle schoolers and high schoolers and they are funny, awkward, sensitive, driven, shy, snarky……you know, “typical”. I love each and every one of them and even though sometimes they bring me really hard math (I am not a math person), we always work through it together and have a fun time doing it. I also learn some cool things with their science projects, reading comp. articles, and history papers.

Last week I was asked to take on a new student. She is 26 years old, and can not read or write.

I have spent all week thinking about this. About how I am going to approach this, without feeling like I’m demeaning her. She’s not a 5 year old who hasn’t experienced life, and I can’t giggle and use my kindergarten teacher voice through this.

I’ve come to terms that I know I need to start basic, even though whipping out my letter ID chart for her feels wrong somehow; I’ve come to realize it’s not wrong. It’d be wrong if I didn’t do it. She’s seeking help, she wants to learn, and I need to do whatever I need to do to help her. I need to get baseline data- where she’s at, what she does know/does not know. Letter ID/sound ID. Sight words. I want to know what’s worked for her and what has not. I want to know where she comes from and where she wants to be; what are her goals and wants and dreams?

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, timid, and a little uneasy. This is such a huge thing and I have it in my hands. Somehow teaching an adult scares me more than teaching a child. Though I’m feeling nervous about this experience, I am also so excited. I am excited to move her forward and give her knowledge that she hasn’t had. I’m excited to see how this changes her life and what she does with this.

I’m excited to see how it changes my life and my teaching, too.


11 thoughts on “Life changing

  1. Maureen says:

    Kudos to your new student for taking on this challenge at age 26! One very positive difference, I suspect, is that she will KNOW her hopes and dreams for reading and writing, rather than you trying to nudge her to thinking about this. This work sounds so exciting – for you and her!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mcoop1st says:

    I am so proud of you for going out of your comfort zone. You ate a life long learner and this is something you will be able to add to your list of accomplishments! If I was taking on your challenge, I would check out Reading Simplified site. It is amazing the progress individual students make with reading using their plans!! Good luck and keep us posted!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. paulabourque says:

    I think this new venture sounds exciting. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Knowing how much you care about people, I think this student is going to be very lucky to have you for a tutor! Keep us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sgeijer says:

    Wow! What an amazing opportunity for you to drastically change the life of that individual! As uneasy as you are, I’m sure she is feeling even more scared and anxious- What an amazing opportunity for the both of you to impact each other’s lives. Good Luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lara says:

    What an interesting and courageous adventure for you both! How often do we all take literacy for granted? Good luck this week, and may you have the grace to get off to a good start!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. daniellecaryn says:

    It will be so interesting to see what the differences are between teaching an adult an teaching a child are. And what is the same. Most definitely, honesty. Sounds like you’re just the reflective teacher for the job!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. stephaniemeier94 says:

    I am so proud of you AND this student. She is lucky to have you. You are reflective and empathetic and diligent. Those are all words I would use to describe you. Good luck on your new journey. I’d love to hear how this goes!

    Liked by 1 person

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