Personal Reflection: My Experience Of Tutoring In Elementary School

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I began my first day of tutoring at Sankofa Academy, a poorly funded elementary school in Berkeley, California, on September 20, 2015. I was enthusiastic and interested in the students that I would be tutoring. Each one was in the tutoring program due to very poor academic performances, and it would be my job to catch them up. By March 2016, it was clear to me that nearly all of my students were male, had some form of an Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and had frequently found themselves in trouble for misbehavior.
The very first student I tutored, Gerome, was a small, extremely talkative fourth grader from East Oakland. During our first lesson, I took a cue from my mentor and started out by reading to Gerome. Using my very best monster voice, I read to him the story of the Three Little Pigs. I expected nothing less than his complete and utter enthrallment, however that was not the case. A little while into the book I noticed that Gerome was not paying any attention to me. I went on, subtly raising my voice to reattach his attention on me, but as if in response to my newly intensified efforts to keep him focused, his patience and attention quickly deteriorated until he was first doodling on the desk with a marker, and then running out of his seat to doodle on a
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He was another male student who played outside, threw footballs outside, and was suspended from school for throwing paper balls indoors. Because what students learn how to do (color a book vs. play King of the Hill) and what to do (sit quietly vs. Shout) before entering school classrooms is so gendered, those who were deprived of lessons that would prepare them for the school setting are falling behind:

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