Helping Hands and Minds

I learned this week how fulfilling it is to help high school students with their English homework. This week I have spent many, many, many hours helping a high school student with his research paper. When Trevyn approached me this week about helping him with his research paper, my first thought was, “Great, I am going to be basically writing this dumb paper for this kid.” After a few minutes of being agitated I thought, “Wait, you are going to be a high school English teacher. This is a perfect way to understand what you are going to be doing the rest of your life. Let this be a learning experience for both of us.” At this point, I was ECSTATIC. If I can make Trevyn want to write a paper, I can help almost anyone do it. He is the kind of student that writes what he has to to achieve a B or C.

We started by picking a topic. We had to choose something that was considered a turning point in American history. I told Trev that there are so many things that can be considered a turning point, from most wars, to the great depression, to civil rights. He, of course, chose war. I then prompted him to think of which war had the most impact on America’s history and I was very proud when he said The Revolutionary War (at least he is paying attention in history class).

The first assignment due was the annotated bibliography. After his first draft, I was mortified. I had never read anything so awful in my life. The lack of effort clearly reflected in his summary. I was a little bit stunned that the teacher expected 14 lines for the summary, but what ever. Trev definitely did not appreciate it when I told him that there were many corrections that need to be made to his summary. He especially did not understand why he had to take phrases like “that one dude” out. After much pushing on my behalf and much complaints on Trev’s, he had a beautifully worded annotated bibliography on his first source. I was proud, he was irritated, but I know deep down he definitely appreciates the factthat he won’t be failing this paper.

Next week we have to find four more sources and begin the paper. It will be an interesting week to say the least, but I am so excited to be practicing my future career. I will admit, I have learned it will be stressful, but I cannot help but feel proud of what students who act like they don’t care can accomplish!

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