I am riding high on a wave of exuberance and success! Freddy and I just had a fantastic shoulder-to-shoulder training session, where I helped him with writing a bulletin about their campaign to free slaves in Congo. The things I take for granted such as verbs, nouns, prepositional phrases, introductory sentences, conclusions, even the tab key; these are things that Freddy is just beginning to learn. At first, I was honestly frustrated at the prospect of helping him to mine through the grammatical bombs he had inadvertently created on his quest to tell the stories of the 10 for 1 Peace Campaign. But, now that we’ve dug in, I love seeing his progress! He is so sharp, so fast and so eager to know more, that my job is almost breezy! When he doesn’t understand what I’m saying, I quickly adapt, because I know my language can be a bit hoity-toity and inaccessible.
My mom has been a tutor for years and she almost always works with people who don’t speak English as a first language. When I still lived with her, she would go out to tutor 4 young men who were part of the group dubbed “The Lost Boys of Sudan,” and she would not return home until very late some evenings, having spent 4 to 5 hours with just one of them on a single math problem or one science question. When she would recount the events of the evening, I would just reel from how much time she spent with them on one sentence or one paragraph. But, now, I think I understand it a bit more. It is unbelievably satisfying when, as we hit the return key to make our way down into the second page, Freddy says, “Oh, dude, we have to put a comma there!”
Dude! I am so, unabashedly stoked that I actually have some skills that are useful to Freddy! Sure, yes, I am a filmmaker now, but let us not forget that I was a journalist for a spell, and that writing has always been my first love. I actually feel useful today! So refreshing.
Of course, we still have so much to do (and 7 1/2 pages of the document to go), but I can feel how much Freddy is absorbing. I know that in 6 weeks time, when I board the plane back to the States, that Freddy and Pascal will use me and AP as less of a crutch and more of a partner than ever before.
I have shared my basic video and writing skills with them, and continue to do so, daily. I had never really considered becoming a teacher in my life. But, now, more than ever, I think I finally get why so many people do this for a living.
To learn more about one of the boys my mom has tutored, check out this great story.
Posted By Juliet Hutchings
Posted Jul 9th, 2008