Every day I help 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders with homework in our after school program (WINGS). Mason is a 4th grader that I work with there, who is also in the class I spend most of my day with. Together, Mason and I work on math 2 or 3 days per week, when he is not going to music lessons. At first, he was not confident in his math abilities. He would ask if I could guide him through his homework and I’d tell him to try them on his own first. Then he would leave them blank without trying. Skip counting by 5’s and 10’s and subtracting 3-digit numbers were the most difficult tasks for him.
Now, after two months of regular intervention after school, it makes me feel amazing to see improvement in his math skills! His confidence has grown to a point where he will try all of the problems before he asks if I can come to check them. He remembers the hints that I told him to use in rounding and multiplication. Building this homework routine with Mason through after-school tutoring has positively impacted his work in the classroom as well. During math, he is a role model when working in small groups with the teacher. He knows that I am there for help if he needs it, so he attacks his daily work without fear. He’s not afraid to guess and fail—and the teacher and I hear a lot of “Oh!” moments from him. One day in class he even asked if he could do his homework after his classwork to get a head start before WINGS!
Mason is very impressionable and some of his actions in class are reflective of the group of kids that he is hanging out with on that day. Within the past 2 weeks, he has made much better choices by socializing more with students who do not act out in class. While I can’t take responsibility for helping him make these better choices, it’s great to see a visual difference in his academic and social attitudes. My goal for Mason is to see continued improvements in his social skills by the end of this year. He knows what appropriate class behavior is, and I’d like for him to become more of a leader in that regard.
The power that this one-on-one mentoring can have on a child is so rewarding. Every grade-schooler could benefit from this type of attention and encouragement.