Since mid September I have been volunteering at a one-day-a-week after-school program. Most days, there have been times when I have wanted to scream. Some of the kids just don't listen. Some seem not to be able to stop talking when asked. Many have trouble sitting still. Just last week, I told a girl to sit up during a presentation (the kids were seated on the floor, and this girl was alternating between lying down and rolling around). She just looked at me with a half-confused/half-glare expression but stayed reclined. I repeated my direction, and I received the same look. By the third time, she actually listened, though it took only a couple of minutes before we did that same dance all over again. I am unsure what I could have done differently, short of dragging her out of the room. But not only would that have been disruptive to the presenter and everyone else (though probably not a whole lot more than the kid's rolling around), but manhandling kids is not something teachers/leaders do in this century. You know how sue-happy this country has become...
But despite the frustration and headaches that sometimes occur, I know this is what I should be doing for now, making a difference even in some small way. Some of these kids have grown to like me and want to be around me, whether they request that I help them with homework or they ask to sit next to me (or on my lap) during presentations. And there is just something about getting an exuberant hug from some of these kids; you can almost feel their love pouring out.
After I had finished helping one second grader with her homework last week, she suggested we play hangman. She came up with a phrase, and I managed to correctly guess only two letters before I lost. She asked me to keep the paper, because she wanted me to have it from her.
Yes, this is a good reminder of why I do this.
And besides, I would much rather focus on that than my trying to maintain order amid the chaos of indoor recess yesterday. Nothing like trying to keep almost 70 or 80 kids from running over and wrestling one another. I was just trying to get the kids to dance! :-)