This afternoon I’m driving seven frosh students to a local public elementary school to tutor third graders for an hour. This is my third or fourth year chaperoning some of the community service tutoring trips and I absolutely LOVE it. I have to say that the frosh kids who sign up to volunteer for the trip are truly remarkable! They love working with their third graders. I don’t know about you, but when I was a high school frosh, volunteering to tutor a third grader would not have occurred to me in a million years!!!
There are many reasons I enjoy doing the trip but honestly, the drive down and back are actually real highlights. I drive the kids down in one of the school’s suburbans and for some weird reason, teenagers seem to think that a teacher sitting behind the wheel of a car is rendered deaf so they spill a lot of interesting gossip about each other on the drive down.
I guess because of the investment they are making, the kids take a lot of ownership over the progress their students are making so on the ride home is often much more about their students … “Dude, my kid is the total math genius!” … “My girl didn’t get that triangle activity.” … “That science reading about the rotation of the planets was off the charts ridiculous! What crazy person thinks that ANY third grader could really understand that??? And they have to know that for the standardized test??? Wha???”
Two years ago, a frosh girl that I was convinced was the eldest daughter of Satan signed up to do the trip. As a seventh and eighth grader this girl was, bar none, the meanest child I’d ever met in my twenty years as an educator. As it turned out, I got to know the very nice young woman behind the mean girl veneer and she became a person that I truly came to like and respect.
How cool is that???