Monday, September 12, 2005

First tutoring session at W Elementary

I got up extra early (groan) and drove up to W Elementary to begin my 8.30-10.30 tutoring shift. I was placed in Ms. D's 2nd grade classroom. The 16 or so kids were mostly from low-income families and predominantly black, the rest white and Hispanic. No truly special-need or highly at-risk kids as far as I could tell. Nearly all could read well; one or two seemed unable to read much beyond a few words. Apparently one or two also don't speak much English. They were orderly and self-controlled enough the time I was there; a few boys not paying attention, some pencil-grabbing, the usual. No hostility or deep antagonism toward school or teachers. Ms. D was pleasant and seemed highly capable. I mostly just circulated around the room, helping with worksheets or reading the story to three less verbal students while the rest read it independently.

It was all pretty average. I guess I'd have more observations if I hadn't been working with kids pretty much my whole adult life. At the end of my sesssion, one seven-year-old boy (deemed "a wild one" by Ms. D) lifted his hand for a high-five, and I slapped it, then turned to go. He said, "Hey!" and I turned around. He was still holding out his hand for one of those urban handshakes. I gripped it sideways, then pulled back, but again he held out his fist. I bopped the fist, then he bopped mine on top. I had the feeling there was more to it, but I had already botched the procedure so much, it didn't matter by that point. Yes, I had experienced The Humiliation Potential of Shaking a Black [Boy's] Hand.

Then I drove to State School, finally bought my parking permit. I've been parking illicitly sans permit, risking a ticket; I figured the odds are low that I'll get one during evening classes, but I have seen lots of School cops in the parking lots at night, and why give myself one more thing to stress over? Also, who knows what my schedule will be like next semester? Just get the damn permit and be done with it. Still, $75 is a rip. I also bought two TExES study guides for my specific tests (#100 and #101).

Then I drove to work. Pretty much a normal day. At lunch, CF pointed at GV and said, "Your holes are bleeding." He meant that GV's nose was bleeding, but it wasn't, so it was still pretty weird. CF is a special child.


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