Tutoring Monica

Oct 1, 2009

Monica is a professional tutor. Still dressed in my business clothes, toting my professional looking tutoring bag, I finally made it to the apartments from work. Some of the elementary school girls were showing off their new dance choreography while Emily waited for me. Monica didn’t wait for the end of the song; she saw me and announced to everyone, “I have tutoring!” As Monica led me and Emily to her apartment, I could tell she meant business.

The whole thing was rather surreal, how perfectly planned it all seemed. Just a month earlier, Monica’s mom, invited me to meet Monica’s second grade teacher and learn about the curriculum. The teacher told us about what to expect from the school year and how the parents can help with homework. I translated for Monica’s Mom, knowing that it would be difficult for her to meet the expectations for the parents. Now, here I was with this same mother, agreeing to help Monica with her homework and her reading.

After Emily finished describing the program, she left me and Monica to sit in the only two chairs of the apartment. With arms perched and face smiling, Monica prompts, “So, what do we do first?” I pulled out a questionnaire. The queries ranged from “favorite subject” to “personal hero,” many to which Monica answered without hesitation, “Jesus.”

Floored and nearly speechless, Monica prompted me for the next activity. I asked her to read the “sight words” for her grade level. She had trouble with many of the words, but I made sure she felt like a superstar for making it all the way through. Energized, she asked if were going to read a book now. She picked out one of her books and we agreed to take turns reading.

As if on cue halfway through, Monica closes the book, looks up at me and says, “Ok, now let’s think about what could possibly happen to Mr. Owl at the end of the book.” I thought, “Are you kidding me! She’s asking her own comprehension questions!” Trying to remain calm in the presence of a second grade genius, we thought about what could happen to Mr. Owl and continued to take turns reading. That’s when I knew Monica was a professional tutor.

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As a faith-based Christian non-profit with a small staff and over 100 volunteers, we serve alongside more than 100 families and their children (1st-12th grades) each week through our community programs.

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