Monday, October 10, 2011

First Experience

I had a very unique forst experience at the learning center for our first real service learning experience. I was similar to what I expected in some ways but different in others. Overall I had a very positive learning experience and it felt really good to help out others.
When we first arrived we sat down at individual tables and a few learners were already there. Mark went over things that we learned in training as more learners arrived. All of the learners there were women. Mark started to call out the tutors names and assign each of us with a learner. I was assigned a man that was not there and he did not show up either! Mark said to work on school work and said he was sorry that my learner was not there. I had mixed emotions because I was so nervous going in and now I found out that I was not going to have a learner this week. I really just wanted to have one like everyone else to get the experience of tutoring under my belt so I did not have to get all nervous again next week.
At around 5:30 I started to get bored playing computer games when a younger lady walked in. Mark called me over and I started working with this girl. She was really nice but kind of shy so I just made small talk with her for the first few minutes or so. She is from Africa and lived for a while down south but has been living in Philadelphia for a few years. She has a younger brother who plays football in middle school. I told her how I used to play football but do not anymore and she wondered why I stopped because she knows that football players make so much money. I said I was never that good and she and I both laughed.
My learner then went over what goals she had. She wants to get her GED and was very close to graduating high school but never could pass math. She said math was the main thing she wanted to improve on. We started doing basic reading skills and she already was a pretty good reader. I just had to help her with a few words she stumbled on. We mainly focused on math this week thought because that is what she really wanted to get better at. We did times tables 2-4 and she struggled with some of it but I gave her hints of ways to remember the problems and she was able to recognize her mistakes when we went over the problems. We also worked on some basic division and worked on adding numbers. I had to help a lot with division and almost had to reteach it to myself. She was very good at addition however, so we moved on to adding decimals which she also did well. We touched on subtraction, fractions, and percentages which we will do more of next time. I gave her some homework problems, around thirty or so, for her to work on for next week.
The hardest part of the lesson was that she was unsure of what she wanted to do so I had to make up math problems to do and pretty much run the lesson. I gave her some ideas of things to bring in if she would like to work on next week. I think each week will get easier and easier and it is really a great thing we are doing. I felt feeling really tired but felt good because I know we were helping people out. We were not going to have another lesson for the next few weeks because the center is closed for Columbus Day and we have fall break next week but I an really looking forward to next time!

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