On Tuesday at literacy tutoring I was first working with a second-grade girl who I get on with, but was being sort of evil: with Amelia/Maiah, her parents call it "glitchy", full of weird disjoint thought processes, and nonsensical and often rude responses. Finally light dawned on Marblehead (as Anna says) and I said, "Isabela, did you have a bunch of sugar today?". Of course she grinned and nodded vigorously.
Then I was helping another second-grader from the same bilingual school, with the same homework of math and language exercises. First I discover that I'm comfortable with calculus and statistics, which means I have no intuitive sense of how to teach "9 + 5" to someone who Just Doesn't Get It. We muddled through, started in on the language work...and suddenly found out he can't really read in either language. Makes sense, right? It's the Family Literacy Center. But in my two months there I've really only worked with the (many) kids from two different families, none of whom are really behind in their education. So unprepped, and in a position of trying to get his homework done, I was a little shocked.
I went and asked for some guidance from the Project READ people in the office, and we did our best. He had to do a book report, so we found the one Spanish book around (Project READ is an English-language program), and I read it to him (not understanding all of it myself, and mispronouncing stuff on every other page) and asked him questions about it. I was pretty beat by the end of the night, but it seemed worthwhile.
It's been sort of a rough month. I hate summer anyway, and always have, and this particular summer my plans are not quite coming through, and I'm having trouble making new ones. I didn't like my job, but planned to stay until the end of the year, when I would take some time off and then go teach English in Chile. I got laid off, leaving me with this gap where I can't quite take a job even if I wanted one (which I don't, really); then I didn't get into the Patagonia program. I'm transferring my application to a different WorldTeach program in Chile, but, uh, it's time for contingency plans.
Anyway. I'm cranky. Bitch and moan.