Fieldnote 4 Sep. 2012

Library tutor, first visit, 6-8PM. Shown by X how to sign-in in the back room, then brought out to the tutoring room. The tutoring room is a small clasrrom six tables, two chairs at each table. Mostly quite voices between the pairs of tutors and tutees. I notice the three other tutors besides S and myself and women, two middle-aged, one probably in her twenties. All white. I hear everyone speaking English.

X is Latina, but I didn’t ask here where from. Her accent reveals this to me. She walks S and I to the computer in the classroom. This is where we see a list of the tutees who need help, followed by their grade, and the school the attend. We take the first person off the list, giving preference to elementary school-aged students, and shout their name into the library. The youth will appear according to X. When we finish helping one youth, we move to the next.

I helped three boys, K (first grade), R (first grade), and Ke (sixth grade). The first two boys had spelling homework. They wrote their words three times. That was all they needed to do, ten words, mostly 3-5 letters long. They had the packet for the entire week. The first boy, I helped him with the entire packet. He showed this to his mother who spoke to me in Spanish. I surprised myself that I was able to communicate so well in Spanish. I assured her that her son’s primary concern was to practice the words on the list. She was unfamiliar with the assignment, and after clarifying with her, she understood how to practice her spelling words with her son.

Working with Ke was also interesting because of his science homework. He seemed to have difficulty with writing, and I think he appreciated the detail with which I went over his words with him.

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