by Ann Abbott
This student has beautifully narrated an important moment. It shows the child's learning. And hers.
José and I had been working on a reading assignment for a solid twenty minutes. The objective was to find vocabulary words the student did not understand, write them down, and define what they meant. José struggled the most with the spelling—it was hard for him to get the letters in the right order. José however was determined to make a strong finish. Finally he selected his last vocabulary word: magical. Hurriedly he told me to cover up the word in the book to see if he could spell it on the first try. With a dramatic sweep of the hands, I concealed the word on the page. José looked thoughtful as he formed the letters, keeping the results hidden from me until he completed the task. Then, he tentatively put his pencil down and revealed the “magical” word. Success! With bright eyes and a happy heart, he gave me one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. Nothing can compare to seeing the look on a child’s face after he’s overcome a personal challenge.
This semester I have had the wonderful opportunity to tutor a student at Booker T. Washington Elementary School’s after school program, S.O.A.R. S.O.A.R. stands for “Student Opportunities for After-school Resources.” This program pairs a tutor with a specific student who is currently struggling with their school work and needs extra attention. Every Tuesday through Thursday, the students, many of whom are from Spanish-speaking families, stay after school until 5:00 pm to work with a tutor on everything from math to reading. Often, these children do not have the opportunity to speak English with their parents at home and need extra help to understand their homework. Therefore, it is critical that this program has enough volunteers to give these students a chance at success. The children in the S.O.A.R. program work very hard and benefit greatly from the help of university students, like you, who selflessly donate their time to give guidance to Booker T Washington students.