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May 1, 2008

The Last Day

Last week, there was nothing much to write about. No one came in the room and no one left except for me. It's almost sad when days like that happen. It reminds me of what that high schooler from the week before that said, "if you guys come here and they don't even pay you, you would think there would be more people that would want to get help. It's sad that they don't come." I agree. This week no one showed up either, but there was an incident in the school that sparked my interest. Actually, a couple. A teacher walked in with two students. He said they needed to get some tutoring, but they looked like that wasn't the case at all. After the teacher left, they sat there for a couple minutes. They said they only had to finish a couple questions. At that point one of them mentioned a need for "a book". They both got up and left. No big issue there. A little while later there was a large noise outside of the room we were in. Something definately fell, but me and the other tutor in the room paid no attention to it. Loud noises were not unusual to the school. A minute or so later a teacher came out of the room behind us to investigate. She walked out the front door and a couple seconds later walked back in and said,"they just turned over a table." It wasn't what she said specifically, but how she said it that was amazing. She might as well have said, "He's eating an orange." Later on, the other tutor found out that whoever turned over the coffee table also went to floor above and knocked over other items and slashed holes in the water jugs. It turned out to be a real mess. I feel for the people that go to school there, as students and staff. I hope that eventually there conditions will improve.

April 19, 2008

A Revolutionary Experience

This monday the tutoring was, um, not there due to re-testing that the kids were going through. So the one other tutor and I were able to get some homework and chatting time in. About an hour into this vista, one of the high school boys came in. He asked us what we do, he told us a little about himself, we talked about cafeteria food and all that good stuff...or maybe not so good in that case. Then he asked about what I was taking up in college and what classes I had. I explained a few of them and then decided to tell him about one class that had this very in depth and serious theme running through it. Even the name of the class explained its intensity. I told him the name of the class, my senior class, called "Workers and Consumers in the Global Economy." He stared at me for a couple seconds and then proclaimed a "wooow." I said, "I know. Sounds intense, but it's actually a really interesting class. We basically learn about how industrialization has impacted our society and how classes have been seperated due to impact." I explained ways on how it affects other countries as well and a couple other in depth ideas they have given us and then I looked over at him. His eyes were wide open, not half shut as I was expecting. He not only took in everything I said, but then he responded right afterwards with his own views on globalization and technology and how he thinks it will impact the country in the future! I was astounded at this point. Here is a senior level class that I'm taking at the University of Minnesota, and he understood everything I said perfectly. There were lots of other things we discussed also relating to our society, but I was so happy to have met him and happy to know what future generations will bring to our schools.

April 13, 2008

Continuing on....

My volunteer day on Monday was less entertaining than a couple weeks previous. It was the first day that I successfully made it there and back without transportation issues though. That was a feat and a half. I was able to help with one math problem though which we all concluded should've been waaay more complex than it actually was (We had three of us working on it and it was as simple as adding up two different sides and then dividing it by two). I still remember the problem too, but I'll spare you! So all the tutors argued over how it should've really been solved, up to the point of calculus and then settled on the fact that the book didn't know what it was doing and that problem probably wasn't going to be on the test. But we did end up showing the student the "proper" way of doing it in the end so she wasn't totally confused. I didn't see my student from the week before. I was a little disappointed. I was hoping to see her again. She was doing great! The other student in there was making remarkable progress also. I was very impressed. She passed the practice exam, found out where her lowest scores were and was on the way to changing that. I'm excited to see her pass the test.
The week before....I rode the bus out there...walked a half mile in the snow....arrived there, only to find out that I forgot they had spring break! Wow! I was so glad I had this weeks bus ride down, you have noooo idea.

March 25, 2008

First time tutoring

I went into the school to find out for the first time what I was supposed to do. Orientation was finished and I really didn't know what to expect next. I stepped into the room looking for my supervisor only to be greeted by three other volunteers. I watched two of them teach a couple of the students and then I stepped out only to find out that my supervisor was now there. I went back, looked at the book, glanced curiously over their shoulders for a little bit and I finally got up the nerve to ask if it was okay to join...after they asked me twice first. Yeah, I know, I'm kinda bashful at first. Then I saw what they were doing! That was the end of my bashfulness. It was so much fun to help teach what I absolutely love. I learned also how difficult it is to teach things like rounding. How do you explain that? The girl I was teaching (I sooo wish I could remember her name, I feel horrible for it, but she's really sweet) picks up on what is taught really quick. In the end, I know she'll have no problem on the test. I'm amazed at what she can do. I hope more people will continue to come. It's such a pleasure getting to know them. The most interesting part of being there in the end is actually the transportation. So far I've gotten one ticket for being parked illegally the first day (I swore there were no signs and there were a ton of other cars in the same area until I came out that is) and some guy decided try and "start a conversation" with me while I was on the bus the second day. Hopefully the third will be easier! I wouldn't trade it for the world though. And I'm definately relearning bits and pieces too. Remeber scientific notation? How about the circumference of a circle?

March 19, 2008

Orientation

I was able to meet with Takara, my supervisor, for the first time today and wow was I amazed at what I heard. I am so glad that I am able to work with this organization and it is my hope that the students feel comfortable enough with me to be able to approach me when they need help for tutoring. I wish I could go on to describe what I heard about the school, but I do not wish to do so. I will describe the school though. From what I understood, it is not even actually a school. The center of the building is the stairwell and elevator. On the lower level, drawings of portrats done by a student line the wall on the way to the cafeteria, which also serves as the library/dance hall. The books were all donated by others to their school. The second floor has the tutoring area, a computer lab and in a seperate room the printing lab. There are two classrooms at the end of the hall. The third floor consisted of more classrooms which I saw through a black gate which seperated them from the exit. Folders were displayed outside the gate where students put their work at the end of the day. I don't know what the gates intentions were. I might be able to find out later. In the end, my focus is the students and their progress in passing the tests they need to pass. Takara was excited to hear that I had a deep interest in mathematics and I was excited to see that the questions they had, I actually understood and remembered. I can't wait to get started with this opportunity. I can't wait to get to know the students one on one and help them to pass this test that is so necessary to pass. I only wish that I could do more.

February 11, 2008

Not quite there yet....

I have completed the required training for volunteering, but as of yet have not completed any training for the volunteer organization itself. We have arranged that I can do so this coming Friday and I'm anxious to get started. We wrote down during the training session what my main goals and fears would be when I'm volunteering. I was surprised to find that they were both the same. My goal and my fear was based around being the best that I can be. After taking that course though, I learned one thing. It wasn't about me. It wasn't about how well I taught or if I said the right thing or anything like that. It was about them and helping them to achieve their goals and dreams. They want something out of their life just like I do and they can achieve me and I have been blessed enough with an opportunity to help them to be able to do that. So I am anxious to get started with this work. I hope that I can help get this program started the way they want it to be started and I hope that I can show them that they have the ability to succeed.

February 4, 2008

Volunteer Entry 1

I just recently spoke to the volunteer coordinator regarding the services for tutoring at the Minnesota Internship Charter School. I haven't started yet, but she wants to start training Monday afternoon if everything works out right. I have signed up for the volunteering workshop also coming up on a Saturday. Soooo...even though, nothing is done, everythings in place. Checkmark. Hope the next journal will share something a little more interesting...