MsGeek.Org v2.0

The ongoing saga of a woman in the process of reinvention.
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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

One of the things I do with my time when not in College is volunteer with an organization called Koreh LA. They're a literacy organization that goes into schools to help kids who need extra help in language arts. I started with them last semester, and I have two boys at Hazeltine Elementary School whom I read with. Most LA Unified Elementary Schools are on a "multiple track system" which alternates pretty much every two months. I'm reading with one kid now, and the other is on vacation until around Halloween. Then the kid I'm currently reading with goes "off track" and takes a vacation, then I work with the other kid.

However, it seems as if Hazeltine Elementary is not so enthusiastic about our presence. As many times as I have come to the school and had sessions with the students, it seems like there's been an equal number of times when 1.) the teacher has forgotten all about me, and 2.) the teacher is reluctant for me to drop in and work with a kid for fear I will take them away from their programmed activities for too long. I got a bit of both today. Nobody told the teacher in this one kid's class that I was coming, and she was horrified that I'd take the kid away from his math and Open Court Reading (ugh!) assignments. It was a tense situation and I felt 100% unwelcome.

The one thing I took away from Education 203 is a strong regard for the power of learning to read by reading and by being read to, and the power of learning to write by writing. No amount of fuh-fuh-fuh-phonics and fill-in-the-blank worksheets will help a kid become more fluent a reader and a writer if they don't have context and input. It is almost like these teachers perceive that I might "show them up" in front of their students by reading them cool books and having them make their own personal storybooks.

Today I had a "why do I even bother?" feeling walking away from the school. Hopefully reassigning me a time to work with the kid during lunch (he hates having to play on the playground...I suspect he's being bullied) when I'm not stepping on the teacher's toes (grr) might be best for all concerned.

Hopefully things will get better there. If not...oh well. This kid goes off track and the other kid goes on track around Halloween, like I said. And in his case, I know that I can keep his attention if I find him neat books about Dinosaurs.