I'll admit, most of my students are enigmas to me. Having only been on the job for a few months, and noting that this is a very different population than I'm used to working with, I spend a good bit of time learning to communicate with my students and then processing what I've learned.
Today was no different. There is one student who has sporadic attendance in our program, and would rather choose to constantly run around, do cartwheels and turn circles rather than do homework. My boss had a meeting with his teacher and mom today [I would have been there too if I hadn't gotten up late...oops] and I gained a little more insight into his life.
There is a slew of challenges going on in this child's life both at school and at home, and getting the background made the daily grind a little easier. After getting the run down on the meeting, I spent the better part of my day making word cards. He is surprisingly good in math but struggles in reading and spelling. LA [my boss] and I hoped that by making letters cards and word matching, he would be more apt to study. We hoped that giving him something to move, something to put his hands on, would entice him a bit.
Today was not his best day, and about an hour into program he was frustrated and crying [and it wasn't even related to homework!]. After a little coercion, he finally worked with me on the word cards. There is a lot of work to be done, and I do not have a hard time envisioning more frustration and tears, but he seemed to enjoy the work.
I'll admit - working at my computer all day and putting together these activities for him was tedious. By the end of it my shoulders hurt, my legs were restless, and it felt like I had wasted a day doing nothing but cutting paper. For the last few weeks I've been working on individualized activities for my students to do once they finish their homework. With more than 25 students in 9 different schools, I've been spending a lot of time in front of a computer. The work seems to be never ending and I didn't realize how tiring it can be.
But watching him work today was the reward. I wasn't sure he would be on board with the activities but he seemed to enjoy them [as much as he could in his current emotional state].
There are so many things going on in the lives of my students, and sometimes I forget they are just kids. I'm still learning a ton every day, but I'm lucky enough to have students and a boss who give me grace each day as I fumble my way. I know there are more long days ahead, more mistakes, more tears and frustration [from my students or me?]. But I know it all works for good, and I hope I get some insight one day into the long term effect.