Today was my first tutoring session with Reading Partners (per challenge #21). I met my student who I will be meeting with once a week for the rest of the semester, an 8-year-old second grader who we will call M.
It started out pretty well. She clearly has about 43 kinds of ADD, but we were able to truck along through the "get to know you" exercise. I pointed out Georgia on a map so she could see where I'm from. She told me about being the youngest of five children and how she wants to be just like her two older sisters. She likes french fries and the color pink (red is also acceptable).
When it was her turn to ask me questions (reading from a provided list), she did very well. With the first two questions. The third question had a word in it that she didn't know. As I started to help her sound it out, she made it clear that she wanted to do it herself. So I let her try. For ten minutes. Finally, I had to jump in because otherwise we'd get nowhere, but when I made the word's first sound, she flipped out. Fa-lipped out.
For the next 20 minutes I literally chased her around the room while she screamed "You told me! You weren't supposed to tell me!" She wouldn't look at me or talk to me. Keep in mind that we haven't even started the actual lesson for the day.
Meanwhile the other tutors and students are living out a real-life Hallmark commercial.
Finally I got M back in her chair and on to the next exercise -- drawing her own book cover. Still quite reluctant, she drew a sun. Great! Progress! Then some clouds and some grass. Wonderful! Then she drew two heads with X's for eyes and said that "they were murdered and died and are ghosts and that's what happened and it's a scary story."
And here is where I get kind of sad because M obviously has some bad things going on in her life, things that her reading tutor isn't really able (or allowed) to help with. The coordinator (who is present in the room at all times) is going to talk to her teacher and see what's going on, so I may or may not have M in the future.
Stay tuned. It's going to be an interesting semester.