No tutoring today!
A celebratory trip to the ice cream store wasn’t a priority for this guy.
He wanted to battle with homemade robots. So, that’s what we did for the entire hour. Battle and talk about what it felt like to finish Grade 4. What a great tutoring session! We never got to book reading because Glen wanted to build the robots and fight with them. So, here was a perfect learning opportunity.
There aren’t many kids who would pass up on a double scoop ice cream cone. I mean, it’s the perfect way to celebrate, right?
Maybe for some – but not for Glen.
This is one of the many reasons I love tutoring – I’ve said many times to my students, “You get to be you.” They don’t fully understand the freedom behind the statement but somehow, they settle into its truth when they’re in my home. My job as a tutor is to figure out how a child learns best, come along side, teach, watch and encourage. I pay attention to what thrills and motivates. I try different strategies if he isn’t “getting it” and I celebrate his success in a way that makes sense to him. For Glen, it’s a hour of robot competition. Clear the kitchen table and let’s compete! Which one of these robots works best…and why?
Teachers can’t do this with each of their 30 students…but tutors can.
Homemade robots motivate Glen. Ice cream doesn’t. Glen gets to be who he is. He doesn’t have to like ice cream. If he likes robot wars, then we play robot wars. Of course, he put his request in for my homemade banana bread but he ate the last few pieces last week so he had to settle for store bought cookies today.
There is so much learning to be done in every day life. There are always creative ways to teach math and reading. Work sheets are a last resort for me and I know that by the end of the school year, they are the last thing a student wants to see. So, I figure out other ways to get Glen reading. Like instructions for building robots. Or ingredients in banana bread recipes. As soon as Glen climbed into my car this afternoon, he asked, “How old is Russia? Canada is 150 years old and I think Russia is older. Let’s look that up when we get to your place.” So, we read about Russia and we talked about Canada’s birthday. We’ve also had several informative discussions about zombie apocalypses, Viking armies and ant colonies. We go wherever his mind wanders.
And he learns. He really learns.