Fieldnote, 25 Oct. 2012

Back to Booker T., and back to working with the same children, this time I see they are happy to see me. I couldn’t attend last week, mostly from exhaustion, but also because I was trying to finish an article, which thankfully I finally sent out (again).

I received some high fives, and I was invited to sit down. I worked with several students at one table this time, mostly with mathematics. This reminded me of MANOS, this was my game, five children, a small group, incorporating Spanglish, literacy awareness, and speaking about school. Two of the children were African American, two were Latinas, and  as the different balances shifted (students were free to leave when they either finished their homework or when they could find more individualized attention from another tutor) between numbers of students, ethnic diversity, and different needs.

One young woman, in first grade, clearly was disabled, but I still did my best to work with her. I could see the supervisor teacher watching how I interacted with her. I did my best to push the girl who seemed agitated when I asked her to erase some numbers and write them neater. I then realized that this young girl was the one who had been crying several visits back, the one the instructors let have a fit. I wondered back why the crying child was allowed to cry and I realized at this second that this child was she. I wondered if the school was equipped with the proper special needs activities for her, or if placing her in special needs was something that happened during the day, but during the after-school program if she was permitted to partake with the rest of the student body, therefore not segregated as she may have been during the majority of her schoolday experience.

I noticed she put a few students at unease. I had a difficult time understanding her when she spoke, and I communicated with her mostly through eye gestures and directly pointing to examples in her homework to imitate. It’s a similar method I use for students wo help them look for examples from other words and numbers to help them whenever they get stuck with their writing or mathematics.

The remainder of the time, I practiced some mathematics with students, mostly borrowing from tens and hundreds when doing subtraction. Some of the students knew a rhyme about how to do this process, but unfortunately I didn’t record it. Next time I will.

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