Oh. My.Gosh. I had no idea the work that I would have to put in as an aide in a K-5 classroom. No. Idea. I get to work a bit before seven, clock in, and sit with the kiddos in the cafeteria. I head to help the SPED buses in and chat with the SPED teachers and aides and then head to the library. I have about twenty minutes of shelving, an hour of checking books in and out, and half an hour of finding, marking, and inner district mailing.
Then I’m off to gym with the 5th graders, 1st graders, and kindergarteners until 12:45. I have a blast. I get to walk around and make sure they’re doing stuff correctly, help them, hold their hands, direct them…I’ve never been in this much contact with little kids before and I love it. I’m active all the time. Honestly I sit down for about…oh…an hour during the day. I love it!
After gym I head back to the library, shelve a few things for an hour and help the kindergarteners with their books. For the last hour of the day I get to help the 5th graders with reading or math. This was the part I was most nervous about. I have NEVER been a tutor with kids before—but I wanted to be there.
Let’s be honest…I had no idea how to do most of the things they were talking about! Four types of energy? Um…I know a billion. Long division without a calculator? …jeez…it’s been a long time…
I went in today and helped two kids work through their problems. One that seemed to have it down but had trouble counting and another that didn’t know how to get started. He just needed an example. I LOVED watching them come to life and LOVED talking to the kids. I had a blast, they enjoyed it. They smiled and laughed and tried—and I just…I melted. I know not every day will be like that but this one was a great one.
I left to a second 5th grade classroom for the last twenty minutes of the day. First I worked with one kid who I spotted the first day I was in the classroom. He was rowdy, rambunctious, the teacher had him separated from his entire class. I’ve been sitting with him at the end of every day helping him get this things together. He’s been working. I know I’m not a miracle worker but, even if it’s for thirty minutes, he’s on task, working, and actively involved in explaining what they did for the day.
Today I was asked to guide a student through the work that he didn’t do during class. When I met him he didn’t want to work, didn’t want to tell me his name, didn’t want to do anywork. It took five minutes for him to even write down the title of his paper. I figured there was something else going on—but how do you find out when the teacher is busy and the class is in chaos?
I asked if he wanted to read it to me while I wrote for him—he said yes. As soon as I began to write down the words I saw the problem—he didn’t know the words and he hardly knew how to read. He had some words memorized but beyond that he couldn’t identify some word sounds or combine syllables. He broke out of the angry, oppositional facade and began to sound out the words with me. He quit crossing his arms, leaned in to the paper, and read the vocabulary out to me on the board. He drew his pictures and even stayed a little bit after class to work on his stuff. I didn’t see a kid that didn’t want to work—he is a kid that doesn’t know how to work—there’s a huge difference.
Today was a huge success…I can’t say that tomorrow will be but I can hope <3