“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.” ― Yvonne Woon
After working with the students with SILA for a number of years now, I have found that the more I am open to growth, the more the students reciprocate that openness. My first year intern-teaching there was hell on earth...I had a short fuse, and that short fuse was caused by my close-mindedness/know-it-all-ness, and the students definitely sensed that.
I had, early on, made a reputation for myself as a rather authoritative teacher - my goal, but at what cost. There was no real bond with the students; there was distance: I was the teacher, and they had to shut the hell up and do what I asked...rather unbalanced I'd say.
My next year of teaching, though, came with understanding. No longer did I yell; I would pull a student aside and speak softly - I would and am interested in what the student had/has to say; I am interested in the story of that student...whether it may be the description as the why he doesn't have my homework (a situation where he and I both know he's getting an unprepared #GAHHH) or talking through a problem.
In the present, as a teacher, a tutor, and a mentor, I am concerned with being present with the student. For every time he shares a story with me - whether it be about his mother's cooking, about his Social Studies homework, or about dodgeball during gym (#SHAWNROCKSWITHDODGEBALL...I'm turning down now - just got a little pumped thinking about it) - I share at least one story of the same nature.
Bottom line: we have all been through similar experiences. My mother cooks; I had his Social Studies teacher; I was short and a boss at dodgeball...I can relate by digging deeper, investigating my experiences, and finding commonality.
So, I intend on continuing to seek to find similarities, which will continue to strengthen the relationships I have with the little nuggets (and not from McDonald's and the like...I'm referring to the real golden nuggets).
Service at Saint Ignatius has truly been such a great experience. Coaching the intramurals on Tuesdays allows me to learn more about the students, especially because there aren't any homework or tasks that have to be done. Each week, I focus on being someone that the kids can relate to and talk with, but at the same time someone they can look up to. I thoroughly enjoy service at Saint Ignatius.
Working with the kids at St. Ignatius has been a really cool experience. I'm going to be blunt, but I thought the kids would give me a lot of trouble. I tutored before but it was nothing like tutoring at St. Ignatius. The challenge of this service project is to be open and honest with the students. Normally, I don't open up to people I just met; it's about trust and honesty. When one of the kids I tutored, "Dee", Dee told me he wanted to become an engineer because he loved building stuff. So, I asked him if he likes to build Legos (kinda my hobby). HE DOES!!! I was sooooo thrilled because we were bonding over Legos. All in all, tutoring at St. Ignatius is truly a mad cool experience!
Each time I go to service, I am more and more surprised. The kids who I thought were the "troublemakers" and are always late and some of the smartest kids in the classroom. I love being in the classroom with the students and it has given me a great experience which I have been able to use examples from as part of the Graduate teaching program. I think that SILA is a very special school with really talented students. Once they are comfortable with you and start to recognize when you come every week they really open up. One of my students, Cody, asked me the other day why I only come on Wednesdays, because he wished I cam more. I was really touched!
Working at St. Ignatius has been an amazing experience for me this year. It is surprisingly nice to get away from Loyola and become a part of someone else's learning experience. After tutoring at St. Ignatius the past semester, I found that the most important thing about tutoring these young boys is becoming someone who they can look up to and confide in. It is important to focus on building a relationship with the students. I try to be someone who they can talk to and trust, rather than someone who is only focused on completing the homework. Overall, I think the tutoring program between St. Ignatius and Loyola is unique and rewarding experience, one that I am excited to continue with this semester!
I think I will be vulnerable in the sense that I may find it hard to relate to these students. I grew up in a different setting than many of them, and this may show when I serve with them. But, if this is the only issue I face, I will be thankful because when it comes down to it, our situations aren't all that different. Just like them, I was at one point an energetic sixth grader who just wanted to play outside, but realized I needed to work hard if I wanted to achieve my goals.
Like Shawn said, I will development an impactful relationship by trying to find commonalities with these children. I think I'll really enjoy this effort because who doesn't like to go outside and play after a long day of school?
During service I have been trying to be present to the utmost degree by understanding my individual tutees as much as possible and simultaneously listening to what they have to say and what they think their needs are. It is perhaps the most effective way to tutor by inverting the relationship between the tutor and the tutee--that is, it is significant to encourage the tutee to explain what he knows and to try to teach me the lesson. In this way, I am allowed to hear his individual perspective and to realize what his academic needs are. Small strategies like this allow me to be vulnerable by listening and sharing stories during the tutor-tutee "inversion process."
Being vulnerable with these children is something that you have to do when working with them. This is because children is open about their feelings and ideas about school, causing yourself to be more vulnerable. To be vulnerable, I will have the positive attitude to want to be there to help them. Also, by keeping a good example for these boys that shows that school is a really important part of your life, especially for your career. Being vulnerable develops an important relationship with the student because it shows that they don't need to be afraid of getting help. You need help some point in your life, and it is not a big deal. This shows these kids that we are there for them, and we have levels of vulnerability just like them. I really enjoy my time at St. Ignatius because it is rewarding at the end of the day.
Letter To Yourself