Each semester, AmeriCorps’ Project MARS collects ‘Great Stories’ from each of our members—entries where they reflect on their experiences mentoring in the classroom and the progress that they see students making. This month’s story comes from Cindy Thrasher.
When I first started working with this student, I learned he had a stressful home life. When I would work with him, he would just stop in the middle of his lesson and start talking about something that happened at home the night before.
Really, the stress he was feeling at home came mostly from homework time. His father would try to help him with his homework and become very frustrated that the lesson was something that he could just not help him with. The student’s confidence in academics became very weak. This caused him to have meltdowns in class and feel very bitter towards his subjects in school.
I analyzed the situation and came up with another way of getting homework assistance from another source. Now he is enrolled in the afterschool program that helps him complete homework and school activities at school. This allows stressful homework situations to be avoided at home.
His stronger subject is by far reading because he enjoys it more than math. I can’t say that he is loving math at this point, however he appreciates that this is his weaker subject. Every day while working with him I can tell his attitude has changed so much about his school work. He seems so much happier and little to no meltdowns.
I can tell that he doesn’t feel like he has to talk about stressful home situations as well. This situation has taught me so much about academic support. Just a little bit goes such a long way in so many directions.
It warms my heart to know that this situation has improved so much for the student. When I see him now so much happier, it just gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
Lastly, above everything it makes you feel good to know that a student’s home life improved because of some adjustments that were made to make a less stressful situation for the parent and the student. This was a different kind of “great story,” but I feel like when a child is introduced to a more positive environment in a stressful situation,everyone wins.