Sophia Ling on Nov 8th 2009
I would say that I was extremely apprehensive since it was my first official day meeting with my students. On top of that, I was already late half an hour since I completely miscalculated the time it would take to commute from my house to the school. Well, it took a whole two hours by train, ferry, and then the subway! When I finally arrived at the school, I was frantically searching for the literacy specialist since I found her room but she was not inside. There were also these questions nagging me in my mind: Is it really worth it to travel two whole hours just to do some volunteer work? Are my students going to like me? Will I be able to control my students? Am I really going to be such a great tutor where I can actually make some change? When the literacy specialist finally brought me my students, I knew immediately that I had made the right decision by choosing to volunteer for such a great cause. All my initial mental fears were immediately erased.
First off, the two girls were extremely friendly towards me as soon as they sat down. They both greeted me with very friendly hi’s. They were very curious as to who I was and what my name was. After I introduced myself, I asked them to tell me their names and some of their hobbies. They excitedly told me about themselves. I did not really have to struggle with them to get them to tell me about themselves. Well, one thing I found is that both shared these common interests: pleasure in reading books and in watching movies. Since they both enjoyed reading so much, I found it much easier to work with them. They were both very eager to tackle the lists of vocabulary words on the sight words sheet. There were three columns of words, so I worked with each of them individually first to go through the first and second columns and then I had them both recite the words together in the last column. In the end, I thought that this particular sheet of vocabulary words was too easy for them, and it was about time that they move on to the sheet of high frequency sight words. What I found striking is that both of them struggled with the same two or three vocabulary words. I am assuming that since both of them are in the same class, they are both very good friends. They were both so eager to assist each other on the pronunciation of the words that one of them struggled with when I worked with that specific one individually and that the other one knew how to correctly pronounce. One time, I had worked with one of the girls on how to properly pronounce this one particular word. When it came time for the other girl to pronounce that same word, she struggled with it as well. So then the first girl said to her, “I just said it not that long ago.” So then I told the first girl to let the second girl try it on herself first. After the second girl could not get it after a few tries, I allowed the first girl to help her. The way I worked with the girls on the pronunciation of the words is that I divided the words into different parts and had them sound out the different parts and then combine all of them together to form whole words. After we finished the sheet of words, I felt extremely accomplished when one of them commented that I was such a nice teacher.
Afterwards, I had them draw pictures on sheets of papers so then they could decorate their folders. What I found amusing is that one of them had originally set out to draw the apartment building she lives in while the other had set out to draw a movie theater with the screen and seats; however, when the one who had originally planned to draw the building discovered that the other was drawing a movie theater, she quickly changed her mind to draw a movie theater as well since she found that way more exciting. So then the first girl flipped her paper over and started drawing a brand new picture on the other side. I guess this is an example of the need to fit in with one’s own peers.
Overall, I would say I had a very productive first day with my students. I am looking forward to future tutor sessions with them!
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