As a future teacher, many of my courses require me to do observation or tutoring hours. I am required to do a mixture of both for a total of about 15 hours this semester. I have been working with sixth graders the past few weeks, tutoring them in math and language arts.
When I was told I would be working with this group, I thought I would have a difficult time. I honestly thought that these students would not want to work with a tutor and would be difficult to get them to cooperate. However, I have been blessed with students who are excited to work with me. (Although, I think they are just excited to be able to work with a college student.)
This past week we were working on how to cite sources when my heart just broke for these children. While we were working, the students began to ask questions and engage in more off-topic conversations than normal. A few of them had already made comments like, “She knows a lot since she’s in college,” or “She probably does this all the time since she is in college.” I tried to engage them by telling them learning how to cite now is important because they will have to do it all the time when they go to college. One girl told me her brother had already been accepted to colleges, but she did not want him to leave home.
The students were doing quite well at getting off-topic during this tutoring session. However, it was this next portion of conversation that was absolutely heartbreaking. The students then began asking me what college was like, how many roommates I had, if boys were allowed in ourrooms/apartments, and if boys were allowed to live with us. I told them a little about my three roommates and that boys could not live with girls, but they were allowed to visit at certain times, all while trying to get them focused back on citing sources.
Then came the question, “Do you go to a lot of parties, you know like the ones that they have on TV and in movies?”Of course, I said “No, I don’t go to parties like that.” They asked if I ever have parties at my apartment. I explained to them that I can have parties at my apartment, but they are not like the ones you see on TV.
Throughout this entire conversation thoughts were flowing through my head: “why are your parents allowing an 11-year-old to watch these shows?” Then the reality hit me. This is the world that we live in. This is the world that I will be teaching in. However, another reality hit me, a reality that is a little bit more difficult to cope with. As a teacher, I can never share my beliefs with my students. In the situation that I just recently encountered, the most I can do is tell them that I do not party like in the movies,because it’s a bad thing to do. How lame does that sound?The question I constantly ask myself is ‘how can I be a light in a place that is so dark?’
The most I can do is love my students and show them the love of Christ through my actions. The reality is we live in a broken world, full of broken people who just need to be loved. Although this thought is a little frightening, it is also an exciting challenge and a constant reminder that this world needs Christ and the hope that He brings.