| April 19, 2011

I have enjoyed my time as a Buddy. While I don’t have any heart-lifting stories to tell, I know that I have made a difference to these kids in some sort of way; maybe this has more to do with my inability to be “mushy” than anything, but I am not sure. We look at our success based on the way they perform on their end-of-the-year tests (which I find sort of ironic), but I am not worried about that. I take pride in knowing that I have made the kid who’s mother doesn’t think he is good at anything realize that his talents (he is an excellent drawer) can be utilized for productive means. I also like the fact that one child has made me accountable to being on time to school by calling me every morning so that we can walk to school together (I met his aunt randomly in a corner store during the evening one day while she was with him), and asked me to help him and his friend with their math spring break packet. Other students who I thought I didn’t know as well as my Buddies have asked me for help with their work, and have begun to figure out how to critically think for themselves (isn’t that what we want them to do at this age anyway?).

I love the fact that the teacher (Ms. M) that I observe takes real pride in her work. I didn’t realize how much the students respected and loved her until she was absent for two days, and when she returned, she received a warm welcome from the class. She really goes out of her way to ensure that the children are receiving the instruction they need in order to succeed. I was pleasantly surprised when she was disappointed by not being able to work with them after-school because of a schedule change brought on by administration. And the fact that she successfully employs culturally—relevant teaching into her pedagogy is excellent. It is hard to instruct a group of hormonal pre-teens, but she has done the best that she can with the resources given to her.