As the quarter rushes forward and with only two weeks left, after-school tutorials become more popular. It’s like there’s suddenly an 8th period. There are THAT many kids in my classroom. For a lot of them, they don’t need too much extra help, it’s more like they need a place where they KNOW they will actually stay on task and finish their work. Where they can sit with like minds who are doing the same work and talk about the novel and get in some extra literature discussion while they tackle the “critical thinking questions.”
Monday afternoon four boys who have never been to tutorial plunk themselves down at the round table right by my desk. They pull out their study guides for the novel and one of them announces, I need help. The others make utterances along the same line.
I twirl my rollie chair around and scootch over to the table.
OK. Where are you stuck? Which question is giving you a hard time?
The boy who can enunciate looks at me and says, I don’t get it.
Ok what don’t you get?
It. I don’t get it.
The other three boys chime in. Me too. I don’t get it. Me too. I don’t get it either.
That's pretty broad. Give me a place to start. Define "it".
My eyes are purveying the table and as the boys use their hands to flatten out their study guides, which are crumpled and sad from being at the bottom of their backpacks, I notice all of their study guides are COMPLETELY BLANK. They have had the fourth and last study guide since the previous Wednesday.
Boy one says, The book. I don’t get IT.
Me too, the book. Me too. Me too.
Give me a place to start. Where did you get lost?
Can’t we just start with the first question Miss. You help us answer the questions, like tell us the answer in your words and then we put it in our words?
I need to figure out what you understand and don’t understand from your reading.
Oh. I didn’t read the book. I don’t read books. It’s not my learning style. I don’t like reading.
Me too. Me too. Yeah, I don’t read books at all.
You're in 10th grade English. You are on your way to earning a high school diploma. You’re going to have to read the book.
Isn’t there a movie we can watch? You sure you can’t just give us the answers? Isn’t that what tutorial is for?