Fieldnote, 1 Oct. 2012

Worked with only two students this evening. The first girl, Yanet, was in fourth grade. She seemed to be distracted and she had a lot of energy. She would begin to work on a few of her subtraction problems, and stop to look around to observe the tutoring going on in the room. She would lose herself in moments of staring. When I would bring her back to reality, she would continue. I noticed when I tried to help her with certain things in her problems that she wanted to be independent from my surveillance. By this I mean she made comments such as “Let me do it alone, I don’t need help. I’m not dumb.” I’ve heard this from a few students. This sense of independence reminds me to step back in terms of my approach, and also to allow students the freedom to do their work alone and with guidance, but also in terms of allowing them to make mistakes, even if this might be less efficient in terms of time management at the center.

The second student I helped was a second grade, Natalie. She wrote her spelling words three times, but she didn’t bring the other page of her homework to the library. She explained this to her mother Berta in Spanish, and her mother gave her a reprimand.

Her brother asked me if I would read a book with her. “Claro que si” I said.

Berta told Natalie to get her book from her backpack. The book Natalie pulled out from her backpack was too easy. Her mother flipped through the pages and explained to her daughter that she would have to pick a different book. This book, she reasoned, was for babies.

Natalie protested, and her mother left and returned with a different book. This picture book was indeed more difficult and had longer words. I assured Natalie we could get through this book together. Natalie’s mother then put glasses on her daughters face, to Natalie’s protestations.

Natalie and I read the book, she kept her glasses on. She had difficulty with some vowel constructions, but I noticed she was able to grasp smaller words. I was pleased she pushed herself.

Afterward, I reported to Berta about the session.

“Bueno, es bien importante a leer con ella . . . en español si esta bien.”

“Si?”

“Si, en serio. Para leer ingles o espanol una persona usa las mismas metodes.” I wondered if that metodes really translated into methods.

“OK,” she said.

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