Fieldnote, 15 Nov. 2012

Today at the school on the Northside I worked with the same students I usually helped, and in addition a few new ones who came to me with math questions.

Ms. C asked me if I would like to lead a Spanish immersion program with some of the students, in conjunction with one of the high school volunteers who also helps out when I’m at the school. I didn’t confirm with her, only because I have a great deal to work on right now and my volunteering hours are already well established. I couldn’t think about how to prepare for a class of fifteen or twenty students. These students especially I would have a difficult time keeping organized, as I have a difficult time trying to reach them, unlike the students at the library.

I have to stop and think about this, what differences do I notice in these two after-school programs? One is very heavy in terms of discipline, but without parental intervention, aside from picking up students. There were no parent volunteers, and I think the staff who help out each get paid. The volunteers come from different places, some the university, and also as high school students. I don’t think I involve myself as much as some of these other tutors, and that may be because I’m new, or really that I’m just not truly a member of the community, at least not yet. Several weeks wouldn’t permit me to claim membership just yet, and only a few hours each week at that.

Nevertheless, I didn’t not follow up with Ms. C about this teaching opportunity, again, because I know it would take up more time that I’m having difficulty parting with. At the same time, my volunteering for this school is limited only to tutoring assistance. This reminds me of my first day tutoring at this school and how I was pushed into a sort of teaching role by Ms. C when I should have only been helping with homework.

As for tutoring on this day, I had a difficult time speaking to some of the students as they seemed to have much more energy than me. I did read with a few, but I don’t think I helped much. One student was especially unruly, and he seemed to be testing my limits. That I didn’t respond to him caused him to try further to push my buttons. Eventually he bored of me, and he left to another group of students. At some point, I heard Ms. C discipline him. As I’m not much into disciplining children, this further cemented my desire not to run a class with these students. The space of the school meant that I would have to instill the same type of “strong” order as Ms. C, and as I just mentioned, that is not my forte.

I finished my two hours of tutoring, and I left quickly. Today was not a day I wanted to spend extra time here.

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