Fieldnote, 13 Nov. 2012

This week the music class had ten students, and more parents began to pay attention. Sara was pleased, especially as more students came to her to say hello. Children really love her.

As Sara led the song, I did my best to recruit children. I realized that speaking to Carol, the librarian working to help organize the tutoring room, that she could help us. She knows the children better than we do, and she helped us bring several kids to the circle. As we sang different songs in Spanish, I noticed several parents smiling. They probably remember some of these songs when they were young I thought.

There were a couple groups of siblings, but I saw that once there were more music games, several children wanted to join in on the fun. By far, this week was the greatest success with this small program thus far. I was very proud of Sara for the work this evening.

We tutored for two hours after. I worked with three children who mostly completed their homework before getting tutored during the long wait. At certain points of the night, there were 15 children on the list. Two tutors were not this evening, so this may have been one reason why there was such a line.

When I finally got to the children waiting, I mostly had to check what they did. The last boy I worked with, his mother observed us. This was fun. We went through his homework together, but there were a few mistakes.

“She told me to put that,” the boy said to me.

“Bueno, es porque yo no se, no entiendo,” she said.

He shot her a look. I remembered Diego at MANOS; I had seen that look before, a challenging look from children to parents.

I told him not to worry, and his mother as well. When we practiced reading words for his spelling, I saw his mother mouth them too.

When we finished, I asked his mother if she spoke Spanish. She explained that she spoke a little, that her son was her teacher, but that she had difficulty with some of the reading and writing homework. She had no problem with the math homework, aside from understanding some of the instructions. She used instinct in order to determine some of the math problems, but she was less able to do this with some of the reading texts. It’s sometimes the same strategy the students apply to, rather than reading instructions.

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