Today was pretty sweet. Aaron apparently left for a painting job at 5:30 (ouch!), but managed to avoid waking me up. I left for Eastbrook Church at 8:30, where we pretty quickly got into tutoring. I was the designated math tutor, and spent the first hour or so working one-on-one with a woman named Alice. She liked to work quietly as I imagine I do, and I would wait for her to finish a worksheet before grading it on the spot and answering her questions. Anna and Gloria, my teammates who had also come to Eastbrook, were similarly engaged one-on-one; Gloria was tutoring a jovial older woman named Mary Ann on math across from me and Alice. It was quite chill (partially due to the miraculously cool weather today) and, I hope, beneficial for the students. I was sad to see how much these adults (often over twice my age) struggled with basic math, but I was glad to be able to help.
For background, I'm a graduate and teaching assistant in a program at the U of M that teaches accelerated math to talented young students, so I have some experience helping others understand math. But eager and bright middle schoolers are quite different than adults with little more education who haven't studied math in decades. I tried to be more encouraging than challenging; the one-on-one interection of the learning center made this easier.
In late afternoon, we all got into a small group to go through part of the American classic play A Raisin in the Sun. (Which I hadn't heard of until today) It was a pretty depressing scene in which a 50s-era African-American family is politely encouraged not to buy a house in a white neighborhood and loses the deceased grandpa's life savings. (I got to read for the racist chairman of the "Clybourne Park Improvement Association" and the bearer of the bad news) Again, I was saddened by the difficulties some of the students had with reading the play, but the de facto English teacher was very helpful, guiding them through difficult words and explaining allusions and other minutiae for the sake of enlightenment.
Most of the students went home around lunch time, but I got paired up with a younger-looking, tatooed guy named Chad. He looked like the kind of guy I wouldn't want to get too angry, but he was quite polite in learning math and I tried to respect and challenge him. Bob informed me afterward that he was very much an unchurched person, and I hope today was a positive experience for him.
Then for the rest of the afternoon I helped James work work on his math skills for getting into Milwaukee Area Technical College. The others students were mostly gone, and I pretty much got to relax between helping James on worksheets. After he left, we were done; I was amazed by how much less draining Eastbrook is than Hopewell. (Is that a good thing?) Pray that God would be glorified in all that we do at the learning center (and back at Hopewell and at the VBS the other team is running at Straightway Vineyard), and that we would rely on His strength in all that we do!
Composed ~4:00 PM, Tuesday, June 29th
The Wicked Problems of Jails and Prisons
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