Monday, December 14, 2009

Student Reflection

by Danielle McBride

This photo is of the anatomy book that I sometimes have to use to help the students with their work.

For Spanish and the Community, I am working at Champaign Central High School as a tutor in the ESL classroom. Due to the fact that there was confusion with my background clearance, I go for several consecutive hours, rather than two, each visit. Typically, I attend Wednesdays from 10 am to the end of the school day, 3:15 pm. I also attend whenever I have a Friday free in my schedule. Overall, I usually average about ten hours a week in the school. The advantage to this is that I have longer contact with the students, thus allowing me to forge more of a relationship with them.

While at the school, my job is to help the students with any class work, homework, quizzes, and/or exams that they may need assistance with or help understanding. The class subjects may vary from math to history to science; students come in at all times of the day when they need help. The help I offer can vary from five minutes of assistance in translating a word problem in algebra into Spanish to spending numerous class periods throughout the day deciphering the history of the ancient Chinese dynasties. When students are in the ESL classroom but have no work to do, we practice English. This can mean teaching them how to say basic phrases and questions like “What sports do you like?” to clarifying grammar structures in English.

An interesting detail in this work is that I am not always guaranteed to work with Spanish-speakers. There is quite a variety of English language learning. I have found that at various points in the day I am aiding students from French-speaking Africa, China, Vietnam, or Albania.

Another interesting point of my work at the school is that throughout different times of the day, the number of students I work with varies greatly. During some class periods, there are so many students that come down to the ESL room for help that I must work with groups of students, sometimes up to five at once. At other points throughout the day, I can work with only one or two students. In these situations, I am able to focus more attention on the needs of the individual and spend time getting to know the story behind their life and their personality.

In contrast, some class periods no students come down for help with work. During these periods, I typically talk with the teacher and any other tutors that are there at the time. It is during these times that we discuss the environment in the school/town for English language learners, the intriguing life stories of some children, and the problems that we may come across with certain individuals. Even though I may not be tutoring a student during these few points during the day, I am learning and reflecting on various themes.

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