Work in Progress

Baseball, Seminary, Wrestling, and the Dreams and Days of one Mike Work's Angeles experience

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Life of a Tutor...

I had two English lessons today, and while they could not have been more different, both were rejuvenating.

First, I met a friend at the bookstore/coffee shop to catch up after a few weeks apart; he's working on a major term paper for a church history class, one which i know well, so we spent the bulk of the time together brainstorming, putting together a potential thesis and a plan of action. Loved it.

Second, my intermediate conversation students at the head start center had to run today, so I sat in on Ellen's introduction class and soon found myself as unofficial child care for the two six-year-old guys who were there with their mothers. Within five minutes of trying to do a vocabulary-teaching puzzle, i re-learned that kids don't like to work together (even when the project's one that can't be done individually, which should force the sharing of resources), unless the task is something monumental.

Like fighting me.

So we spent the next hour outside, and one of these fellows kept jumping on my back and shouting out 'i gotcha!' i'm thinking...'dude, you're, like, a tenth my size; what do you mean, gotcha?'

These guys had limitless reservoirs of energy, so we went from wrestling to chases around the playground and the entrance paths. It was quite the experience, watching the kids go through the gamut of emotions insanely quickly. For instance, Benjamin fell and skinned his knee, cried for a minute, and then took off running, much like the superhero he claimed to be. The guy conjured up tears within seconds when i didn't give back a toy gun (which didn't seem an appropriate plaything; a trip inside confirmed my hunches, as his mother insisted that it be dropped in the trash), and begged relentlessly, in between spirited efforts to forcibly seize it from me. But 'no' means 'no,' and i'm starting to see the wisdom in that.

Playing with kids reminded me that there is value in the child development courses i took in undergrad, and also brought to mind the close connections that i see between learning to follow jesus and education at its best (sadly, neither is welcome in many churches or schools...just a brief gripe).

Today led me to ask the question, 'what are my most important skills for this job?'
making paper airplanes
pursuing on foot at the right speed and angle, so as to direct the guys towards the playground and not the parking lot


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