One thing I am very passionate about is teaching. I love helping others and making an impact on children. I'm going into Elementary Education and in a year I will be student teaching!! :) This quarter, I'm a volunteer math tutor in a low-income, low parent involvement, bad neighborhood Elementary School in the city of Chicago. I tutor about ten 2nd graders that have a math proficiency level of a kindergarten. I go once a week for about an hour. I go with one of my education professors. This experience has really opened my eyes into a new educational world that (I guess) I was oblivious to.
Yesterday, after our tutoring session my Professor and I started walking out. She was headed towards her car and I was headed toward the CTA, which were in the same direction. We got to the first side street on the right and saw a bunch of African-American KIDS in a circle. I heard screams, shouts and crying. As I'm walking across the street I cannot believe what I am seeing just 10 feet off the school campus. My professor says, "Kristen! Get in my car now! Do you see a gun?" I jumped in her car and looked back at the fight. I saw no gun, but we didn't know for sure. Anything could have been going on.
A boy (looks about 8th grade) is kicking and punching this little boy (looks about 4th or 5th grade) and won't get off of him. Other kids are kicking the big kid trying to get him off this little boy. I see an innocent, little boy crying, whaling, in the fetal position on the corner of an apartment building. I hear, "Yo dude, give him all his stuff back!" My professor and I called the cops, along with other passerbys. The big kid ran off with his backpack, wallet, and shirt. I started shaking. The little boy crying, was comforted by an older sister. He got up and limped away before the cops got there. The older people or neighbors that came to his rescue tried to convince him to stay there until the police came but he refused.
I look back and think that this poor little kid is probably use to this stuff. It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon and this kid is on the ground getting kicked and beaten up. I couldn't believe my eyes. As I stood there I felt so helpless and sad. Gang's and fights are probably so common where they live. The sad part is the bully that beat him up got away with no punishment or anything because they couldn't find him. The kid that got beat also wasn't there to give a description or anything. He just limped away as if it was 'just another day...just another fight.'
I was in such a sad mood afterwards. My professor drove me home. I reflect on that day and wish I could just take that little boy home with me and show him a safe neighborhood. I still get choked up even writing it now. I felt SO helpless, scared and sad.
I wonder if these children have role models? Do they know what love is at home? Do they even feel safe in their house? I think about the teachers these kids have and if they have an impact on these little boys. Or if this teacher is someone who they can come to talk to? I just hope one day I can be a teacher that children feel safe with and can talk to me about anything. I feel truly blessed that I grew up in a GREAT neighborhood, with a SAFE house and LOVING family and friends that brought me up to who I am today.