Fieldnote, 5 Nov. 2012

At the library, a few minutes early, and I go sign in, then stop to watch some of the youngsters play with blocks and lincoln logs. I see parents grouped toward the front entrance, speaking with one another, four mothers one father. Children around them. The library buzzing with voices and children moving between locations in the space.

As I walk over to the tutor area, I greet a few children, as well as tutors. Inside the room, several children are already being helped with their homework. I see a few students without any tutors, and I’m instantly assigned one student by the VISTA-manager. My old friend, Teresa, who at one point attended the first music class, but wasn’t permitted to attend the last one. I feel her mother may have been upset with Sara and I for recruiting Teresa to take part in the music “fun” when she hadn’t finished her homework. I seem to recall Sara having an issue with mothers at MANOS for showing disinterest in activities that were not deemed “school” like. I foresaw she would make similar claims about some of the young folks and their parents here.

We sat down and did some math work together, as well as writing her spelling words a few times each. Teresa’s a first grader, round cheeks and face, and for some reason when I see her she reminds me of some of mis primos on the side of my mother. She has large brown eyes, the kind that remind me of my Tia Rosie.

We work well on her task, but I realize that when I try to speak Spanish with Teresa, that she ignores me. I hadn’t had this experience before. We share a few words in Spanish, but when I ask her to translate something, I notice she’s reluctant to play that game. With other students this had been helpful in terms of thinking of cognates in English, useful for determining word roots, and also the meanings or significance of words. Because Teresa didn’t see value in Spanish, this entire avenue of comparative language reasoning would be turned off.

The second child I worked with, a fourth grader, Elisa. I had worked with her previously, and her younger brother. A few weeks back I wanted to play Uno with them, but they left. She and her siblings near the library, and she walks them over from her apartment just around the corner from the library.

I was only able to work with her for some twenty minutes, but together we worked on some writing, and she read with me for a bit an issue of Time for Kids. She seemed genuinely interested in why polar bears were going extinct–according to the article we read.

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