Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tutor/Tutee Appreciation Night

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I'll repeat it anyway (I've been known to repeat stories over and over and over again): I tutor a 9 year old boy named Howard every week as part of a Georgetown outreach program for kids from the not-so-great parts of town. I really enjoy tutoring (I've been doing it for about 5 years now) but this is my first time dealing with someone so young. The kid is smart but, just like any normal 9 year old, he wants to play all of the time, and the thought of practicing his cursive makes him hysterical.

He spends most of the one-hour session running from me, hiding, doing cartwheels, and complaining about the exercises I give him. Since I am just a kid in disguise, I play along and find ways to incorporate multiplication table drilling exercises into Foosball games (ie, I will not put the ball back out until he gets three questions correct in a row).

One week he really irked me to the point of bitchiness, and I was stern with him. Ever since then he's been behaving better. I didn't necessarily handle the situation with all the grace in the world, but it was one of THOSE days... "Everything is F**CKED, Everybody SUCKS, You don't really know why, but you wanna justify RIPPING SOMEONE'S HEAD OFF."

Yes, I just quoted Limp Bizkit. That is a good "bad day" song, though... at least the intro.

I digress (surprise, surprise)...

So, for the event, the kids put on some performances. You know, your standard kids' show songs and dance. As a group they performed a song in sign language or maybe interpretive dance, I'm not sure. It was very pleasant. The best part for me was when my tutee, his brother, and two other boys recited "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes. Here it is:

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now—
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

It was very touching, and yes I got a little misty-eyed. I am a softy (despite my tough exterior), and I tend to get the whole goosebumps misty-eye reaction to most performances (especially when there's kids/music involved) but this was really really strong for me. I have met my child's mother and I have been told she has some sort of debilitating illness. I cannot say for certain, but I don't think she's got it easy. And so, hearing Howard recite that really got to me.

The rest of the ceremony was pretty long but there was an emphasis on how great this program is, how great the supporters of the program are, and how great God is, too. The kids are all members of the same church, so there were definitely a lot of religious undertones, overtones, and in between tones, too. Religion/religiousness is not my cup of tea but slowly a personal set of ideas is taking form in my mind. I even considered giving up something for Lent. Not for Jesus, per se, but for me. Self-improvement, if you will. Which is, indirectly, for "Jesus" or "God" because... well, because I said so. Because wanting to be good is wanting to be one with God. How's that sound? I'll think of a better explanation when I'm not exhausted.

Moving right along...

Topping off this hectic week is our class auction. It's tomorrow. I auctioned off the first item for bid! It's 6 bagged lunches consisting of PB&J sandwich on whole wheat, veggies or chips, and fruit or a granola bar, for 15 bucks. I am also auctioning off a nice bubble bath, body lotion, soap, and other girly stuff gift set for 7 bucks (I think it's worth like 30). So that means I'll be at school tomorrow from early in the AM till the evening. *Sigh* Story of my life.

If you're bored and have nothing better to do, check it out. There are some funny items up for bid: SMP 07 Auction Website.

The proceeds go to our class funds and our class project, which involves building wells in Kenya to provide suitable drinking water for the population there. I think it's an amazing project, but there are many naysayers who believe it is not feasible.

I have never been so involved in helping others and I have never felt so great in my life. I think my grades are suffering because I keep wanting to be involved in everything while also partying a lot. Whatver, Trevor, I'm still gonna reach my goal and at least I can say I did something besides study all day... PSHHHHHHH *snaps fingers*

And now, it's 11:20 pm. I'd like to wake up on time for once this semester. I'd also like to have an extra 2 weeks to study for this upcoming exam. I've just been so gosh darn busy lately!

I missed The Office and that makes me sad : (

Nighty night world...

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