October 18, 2011

tutoring sessions

the last 2 days of tutoring have marked a significant advancement.  yesterday emil and his sisters, magdelene and martha, came, as well as abu's sister, elizabeth.  all 4 of them are between the ages 9-12 but they still desire to be tutored.  the little 7-8 year old boys have spread the word. i explained to them that i can't manage any more than the 8 of them because it's challenging to keep them all focused and engaged at their level, and we only have 8 dining chairs.

yesterday was chaotic; today was full of order.  i wrote sentences which they could read well enough -- they were focused on rules and spiritual qualities for how to behave.  one sentence was 'You are a noble human being'.  another was 'Use your mind to think'.  we discussed each of them and they all agree with them or to abide by them (like 'Be on time or you will not be let in').

today i also prepared dinner fully so i wouldn't have anything to do when the kids left (like make a salad).  i also put the timer on so 15 minutes before they were leaving i put the flame on to heat up the rice and stew.  this was very helpful!  i also insisted that they leave on time at 5:30, putting it in terms of honoring my family and dinner time (especially since i request that ayana, dyami and domani stay upstairs during that hour).

what makes tutoring so enjoyable now (though i must admit that every session has been truly lovely) is that the kids are comfortable to participate, ask a question about some word or concept they don't know, and follow a high standard of conduct that i've expected of them.  today i mentioned to them that we should have a spelling contest in a few months.  they are all interested.  they like the idea, too, of them being able to read in a few months.  i told them my focus is teaching them how to read but that we can integrate math into the tutoring as well.

it took quite a while to get to know the kids, furnish our home, let things settle down with the owner, create a workable schedule for weekday afternoons, and lay a foundation for cleanliness and good manners..but now that i look back on it, i realize how necessary each day of waiting was for this to be happening now as smoothly as it is.  praise be to God!

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