Thank God It’s Friday: A Reflection On My First Week as a Tutor

Many people absentmindedly say TGIF or some variation, but I mean it, praise my good friend Jesus it is Friday and I can take my mind off of working and school. I am so grateful the school has a four day weekend for Labor Day. So far the plans for the weekend are relaxation, chores that will ease my stress (like tackling all the damn piles), sleeping, eating whatever I want, petting Mittens every second he will allow me to, and going on a day trip with my husband on Monday (the first time in a while we have the same day off!!).

So this blog is about life after college so I’m going to give you a recap of my week with all the emotional nonsense that was going on, and I’m here to tell you, that it feels awesome moving up from college to random part time jobs to  finally working a full time job (mostly in my major, I mean I’m tutoring the kids in English, but it’s 2 years and 4 months since graduation and I still don’t know where I’m heading).

MONDAY

Emotional Mood: Nervous wreck, but convinced I had been well trained so if I just smiled through the awkwardness it would all be okay. Also all the periods are on a off schedule cause periods are only half an hour

Period 1/2: Both ended up being my prep periods, which is kind of nice, that day it was just like AHH! I want to meet students prolonging this is torture!!

Period 3: In this block I’m a para which basically means I’m an extra support for the students and the teacher. It was a tiny class which is great, the teacher is awesome, and I love the students, I’m bummed none of them are my students for tutoring.

Period 4: Went okay, basically just introduced myself to the students, reassured that they’re all just teenagers.

Lunch: After just one lesson already a relief, I have a feeling lunch time is going to be a major pick me up

Period 5: So many kids in this block really only introduced ourselves to each other, a little nervous about having so many kids in one block (7!!) Realized also that unfortunately in some ways they’re all just teenagers.

 

Then there was still some time to prep and they had this thing called Town meeting, the day just flew by and it was cool afterwards to meet up with my husband and go visit my former professor/major mentor and spend time with her and some other people I’ve worked with. Oh yeah and chill out in a pool, but man by 7 I was ready to go home.

TUESDAY

Emotional Mood: Feeling more confident because literally I’m just getting introduced to them and developing routines and getting to know who they are.

Mostly more introductory lesson stuff. Blocks are now normal time so they go for an hour and there is only 3 periods before Lunch. I know I’ll have to be prepared 100% for Tuesdays and Thursdays, I tutor 4 out of the 5 blocks. It’s clear in some blocks that their are some kids with strong personalities. And I’ve met so many teens with names I have literally never heard of before, I suppose that’s what happens when you work at a school where 98% of the students are of color.

I also proctored my first study hall. Not the most thrilling job, but it needs to be done. Although the teacher played games with them for some of the time, so that was cool.

WEDNESDAY

Emotional Mood: at the beginning of the day I was feeling solid since like Monday it’s a much lighter day. The first time I taught was four period and it was a hot mess across the forum**, close to the end of the day I was just feeling like let’s go home.

Since I get a full hour with the kids I get a full introduction to my kids, definitely connecting to some kids more than others. I like that I’ve created some clear routines. Kids come in and dive in straight to work, and at the end we always shake hands (or fist bump/high five). I really like these two groups, ones a bit more talkative, ones a little more quiet they’re both great in their own ways. Also feeling more confident with their names.

THURSDAY

Emotional Mood: Excited!! Two fold-1) I had actually developed my first non-introductory lesson plan based around Humans of New York and was excited to share it. 2) Once I got through the day I would be free for four whole days!!!!

Period 1: Perfect. I tutor 3 teens in ACT prep. They’re seniors so they know the ropes and they’re happy to work hard and do things. No issues there at all.

Period 2: A prep block, I just double checked I had everything for my HONY Lesson plan. Feeling good about things.

Period 3: The first group doesn’t know anything about HONY, no big deal, but it’s just two students (it was supposed to be 4). One student is a bit unfocused, but a bit of redirection gets him going. We have a good time, I’m feeling like I made a good lesson.

Period 4: Lesson goes okay some frustrating moments happen, feel strongly I should have given demerits* some redirection helps, can’t decide what the students feel about me. Doing my best to take NOTHING personally, real struggle.

Period 5: Get told by a student I had a bit of trouble from before the second she enters that she HATES tutorial, school, and also can’t read. Proceeds to spend rest of tutorial volunteering and seemingly trying to show off that she can do anything I ask her to do. Cannot get a read on this student at all–would already like to send all frustrating kids away, which means I need to pray for them (and myself!). Get the sense that most of the kid’s were doing the work, but a bit bored, feeling not so great about my lesson plan and am already starting to brainstorm how to make part 2 better. Didn’t help they were all antsy for the long weekend, damn teenagers getting me all insecure, man.

Thursday Post-work: We as the tutors and teaching fellows all went out to eat together at a pub along Mission Hill, I knew I needed to get home to do a housemate interview, still I wasn’t totally there from the get go. I was so tired. And so socially done. Everyone else was in celebration mode some people even got a second round of drinks, I was just waiting till a polite enough time had passed till I could go home. I DID enjoy myself, I just wanted to be home more than I wanted to be out. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to shine at another outing.

I really like my co-workers, but I’m still just getting to know them. You know me, I take my time getting to know people and I might be just slightly resistant to make new friends (it’s just hard ya’ll, don’t take it personally if I know you in real life).I like all of them in different ways, I feel like that we are a really good team; and since all but one of us is new we’re all learning together.

So cheers to a mostly good week, now for the next four days I’m going to relax, hopefully get some of my favorite sangria and get in some much needed hang out time with my husband.

Happy Weekend!

Juanita

**the forum is basically their cafeteria, the whole school meets in there for their town meetings, they have breakfast and lunch there. It’s also where all tutoring sessions happen. We’re spaced out at different tables, but some periods maybe all but one of us is tutoring so even if the groups are small it gets chaotic fast.

*One of their systems is giving out merits and demerits to reinforce and discourage positive and negative behaviors. It’s something that has to be verbally done and I personally dislike it, but I’m trying to get better at calling out all behavior from now on.

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