You Can Make A Difference
Mentor #4 with mentee EO
Date of meeting: 3/5/2018
My meeting with EO went really well. When I showed up in class to meet with her, she seemed totally shocked to see me. She said she forgot about our meeting. We left that class to work together in the teacher’s room. This teacher has a free period during that same time slot, and I asked him beforehand if we could work in his room again since the mentee seemed more comfortable having someone she knows around. We decided that this week they would work on trying to get up to speed in geometry. One of the things they are working on in math class is a map project using geometric terms to draw an imaginary city. I thought that would be a good (more engaging) place to start talking about geometry. I brought some colored pencils and paper for us to draw on, and she seemed to enjoy the more artistic aspect of the project. We finished the rough draft of the project and next week we will do the final draft, which will (hopefully) reinforce some of the terms and concepts.
EO and I also had some time to chat about life and family. She shared some personal aspects about her family dynamics, and seemed to be opening up to me (maybe testing me a little to see if I would be shocked…). I think she is a great person, has a good sense of humor, and I get a kick out of the fact that she really speaks her mind—which she said gets her into trouble sometimes. The plan we made for next week is to check in on how she is doing in her history class (and make sure she is maintaining her grade) and then work on some more geometry.
Date of meeting: 3/13/2018
EO seemed to be feeling a bit down when I met with her. When I came to get her from the teacher’s class, she barely said hello. When I asked her if she was feeling ok, she just shrugged. When I asked her what she wanted to do (go to her other teacher’s room to work, the computer lab, or stay in her current class) she just shrugged again. I felt like giving her some space and the power to decide what she wanted to do was super important in that moment. So, I told her to just let me know what she felt like doing and that I was happy to just hang out with her in class if she didn’t feel up for working on other stuff that day. We ended up sitting there in silence for a few minutes before she turned to me and said, “OK, let’s go work in the other room.”
Once she decided that she wanted to go work in the other room, her mood seemed to brighten a bit (she also ate some food, which probably helped a lot). We worked on her geometry map project for the rest on the period. Given her low mood, I think it was nice/helpful to work on something a bit more artistic. We had already done the hard part in the rough draft the previous week, so this week she just redrew it with color and decorations, and I made sure she checked her work as she went (e.g. are your grocery stores located at alternate exterior angles?).
Since she was mostly just coloring/decorating, we were able to chat a lot which was really nice. She told me that she got a job at McDonald’s and I congratulated her and told her that I remember how excited I was to get a job when I was her age so I could finally-- and she finished my sentence with me-- “make some money!” We both laughed a lot and her mood totally changed after that.
Also, this week she asked me a lot of questions about myself—what kinds of food I like, how many siblings I have, etc. This was pretty new for her, and I took it to mean she likes me and cares to get to know me more. She also made more comments about teachers “leaving them” and at one point she asked the teacher if he was going to “leave them too.” It is so heartbreaking to see how the high turnover rate in teachers and transience of positive adult role models in her life has really hurt her, but I’m happy that I can work towards showing her that I am committed to sticking around.
Next week we are going to check in on how she is doing in history class and probably work a bit more on geometry. I’m thinking about some more art-oriented ways to teach the geometry concepts because that really seemed to work well for her. Even when she was annoyed by all the terminology and technical aspects, she still enjoyed drawing it out.
Date of meeting: 3/20/2018
EO was absent today. I spoke with her friend who said she had to stay home to babysit for her younger cousin, so I didn’t stay and wait for her. I asked her friend to let her know that I was there and that I said “hi,” as a gentle reminder to her that I am going to keep showing up for her.
Date of meeting: 4/17 and 4/24/2018
Last week EO was absent because she had been suspended for getting in a fight. I found out that it was a pretty bad fight and the other girl transferred out of the school because of the fight.
This week, EO did not show up to her class but I heard from her friend that she was at school. I looked around for her and eventually found her walking around with a friend of hers. I tried to get her to come work with me, but she kept trying to walk away from me saying she didn’t feel like doing work today.
I persisted and told her that I was there because I care and that all I ask for is mutual respect. She promised me that she would come next week, but I didn’t want to let her just brush me off like that, so I kept walking with them and talking to her. She told me about being suspended and that if she gets in another fight she will get kicked out of school. We eventually walked to class (where she was supposed to be), but she was still trying to ignore me and just hang out with her friend. I asked her if we could please talk out in the hall alone (because her friend had been there the whole time since I had found them) but she wouldn’t talk to me. I told her I felt totally disrespected by her and she told me to do whatever I wanted but to leave her alone and then she stormed away and disappeared. I tried to find her because I didn’t want to leave on such a sour note, but I couldn’t find her.
She is obviously going through some things (since she got in this big fight) and I wanted to chat with the counselor about it today, but she was in testing all day. Hopefully next week EO and I can work it out.
Date of meeting: 5/1/2018
This week EO was waiting for me in class. I was worried that she would still be annoyed for my persistence last week, so I was prepared for her to ignore/walk away from me. Instead she just asked where we were going to go work, just like nothing happened last week.
I still wanted to make sure the air was clear, and so apologized for pushing too hard and crossing her boundaries last week. I told her that I let my frustration get the best of me, and that looking back I realized that it was an off-day for both of us. She laughed it off and said everything was totally fine.
When we sat down to get started, she was all serious and ready to get to work! We tackled her geometry study guide because she really needs to pass that class and math is her most difficult subject. She held in for about 45 minutes, before she lost her motivation and got frustrated with the math. I told her that she had been doing great, and suggested we take a break from math and worked a bit on an English worksheet. She held on for another 20 minutes or so, and then told me she was too tired and hungry to focus anymore.
I felt like she put in a solid chunk of work, so I spent our last bit of time organizing some math homework for her to take home and we chatted about family/life etc. I told her if she does her homework problems by next week that I’ll bring her a reward. She said “I’m going to do it tonight!”
Overall, we had a really good session and I’m glad to see her so motivated.
Date of Meeting: Tuesday 5/15/2018
My meeting with EO this week ended up going really well despite having a somewhat rocky start. As soon as we met, someone pulled the fire alarm and we had to walk out to the field and wait for the all clear. I lost track of her in the sea of people and so I was a bit worried she wasn’t going to come back to class after the alarm (I saw a lot of students ditching school during the chaos).
But she showed up and she was ready to work right away!
About 2 weeks ago I sent her home with some geometry homework and she wanted to go through the questions again. I told her that we should try doing it like a quiz to see how well she remembered the homework. She didn’t like that idea because she felt like she didn’t know how to do it at all, but I convinced her to try it anyway and she did SO well! She was able to answer most of the questions on her own. I helped her along a few places, but usually when she made a mistake she caught it before I had to say anything. We went over a few of the trickier parts together and she was making sense of it without any problem. I was so impressed with her and made sure to tell her over and over again. It really seemed like she had been working on it at home and making an effort to do better and I am so proud of her!
By the end of our time together, EO had completed the 1st semester final exam review worksheet and was feeling really good about the material. She was also totally wiped out. I told her that made perfect sense because that was a lot of hard work and using all of that brain power takes a lot of energy!
After we met, I went to talk to her math teacher about EO taking a make-up final exam from 1st semester. I told the teacher how impressed I was with her progress and I wanted to make sure that EO could have an opportunity to make up some of her grade because she was really putting in the work. The teacher was enthusiastic about her taking the test, and said if she performed well on the exam she could get credit for the first half of the class.
Unfortunately, it sounds like EO will still have to take summer school for the 2nd semester of geometry. I think she was hoping she would be able to pass geometry without going to summer school, so I hope she is not too disappointed when she hears that. So, next week I will talk to her about setting a time to take the make-up exam as well as let her know that she will likely have to make up the 2nd semester in the summertime.
This got me wondering if it would be possible for me to keep working with her through the summer? I would like to at least let her know that I am available to help her with summer school, but I know there are certain boundaries that the school has in place about mentors working with students outside of class. Does this apply to when school is out for summer? Maybe this is something we can discuss at the board meeting.
Date of Meeting: Tuesday 5/22/2018
Today EO met me and we went to Mr. D’s classroom. Although Mr. D is absent, I got permission to use his room as a quiet place to work with EO. I explained to her that I spoke to Ms. W last week about her making up the final exam, but that it was only going to cover her 1st semester grade. I was worried that EO would be disappointed about needing to go to summer school, but she took the news just fine. She was really happy about getting to take the make-up test and felt like she was ready to take it asap.
We decided to go through some math review questions again to see how well she was remembering some of the more challenging questions. She had worked about halfway through the questions I gave her when she got to one of the harder questions and she decided that she couldn’t do it and that she was done working on math. I tried to encourage her, because I saw her work through a very similar question last week. She said that some days she feels like she can focus and other days she just can’t do it. I decided to not push too hard and let her work through it in her own time. She did keep working on it a bit—slowly, slowly—while we chatted a bit.
EO said that she was pretty upset about Mr. D being gone. I have noticed before that she is really sensitive about adults in her life leaving her. I wished I was able to tell her that he would be back, but I don’t know what the current situation is. I told her that I agreed that he is a great teacher, and that I hope he comes back too.
She also shared with me that she was really glad that I have been coming to work with her. She told me that she had a terrible relationship with her IEP (individual education program) teacher, that the teacher didn’t respect her and treated her like a “bad kid.” She said that when Ms. P approached her about a tutor she jumped on the chance because she felt like she really needed help but she didn’t have anyone she trusted to help her. She said that I helped her and she felt like I treated her with respect. I was so glad that I was able to come work with her and I felt so lucky that we were paired with each other. I’m really happy with how far she has come and I feel so fortunate that I have been able to earn her trust.
Date of Meeting: 11/29/2018
I still have not been able to link up with EO. I dropped by her first period class to see if I could find her before our meeting and I saw a good friend of hers (Latrice), who I got to know last year. I asked Latrice if she had seen EO and she mentioned to me that she was in the hospital with her mom. She didn’t say who was sick (EO or her mom), but she said that everyone was OK.
I sent EO a message saying I hope everyone is OK and to let me know if there is anything I can do to help. I have not heard back from her. I am committed to keep trying, because I am worried that she really needs some help right now. This seems unlike her to avoid me.
Date of Meeting: 1/10/2019
EO did not show up again. I have not been able to meet with her since we started in October. I spoke with a friend of hers today to ask if EO was still coming to school, and she said that EO had been in class yesterday- so I still have hopes of tracking her down.
Date of Meeting: 1/17/2019
I finally tracked down EO today! I had not seen her and had hardly heard from her this entire school year. I went to her first period class as it was letting out and asked her teacher about her-- He said that she had not been to his class in a very long time and that he was very sad/worried for her. Normally as his class is getting out I see EO’s good friend XXX and she will tell me something like “oh, EO was here yesterday…” but from speaking with a few teachers it sounded like, IF she was coming to school, she certainly wasn’t going to her classes.
I went through my routine of checking around the school for EO or any of her friends and I stopped by to say hello to Mr. D. He confirmed my suspicion—she was coming to school some days, but she was not going to her assigned classes.
And right at that moment I saw her coming down the hall!
She was on her way to her cousin’s Spanish class—apparently this was where she commonly went during the period we were supposed to meet. I asked her if we could go somewhere to catch up and she said something about not being able to study today, because she had to find her cousin…(not sure what her cousin had to do with anything). I told her I wasn’t trying to have her do school work- I just wanted to catch up and see how she had been doing, and she relaxed a bit and said ‘ok’. We found Ms. P who let us into a room that we could talk in.
I told EO how worried I had been about her—especially when it seemed like she wasn’t coming to school anymore. She detailed for me the extremely difficult time she has been going through this year.
Her home situation is unstable, to say the least. She has no adults in her life that are holding her accountable or offering her any kind of support. It sounds like many of EO’s older family members are involved in gangs. She also told me that she is afraid to go to some of her classes because of other girls that want to fight her, so she goes to her cousin’s classes instead (because she feels safer with her). She also told me that a little while back she had to go to Willow Rock, an acute care psychiatric center for teens, because she couldn’t handle the stresses going on in her life.
I had been worried about her and afraid that she was on the brink of dropping out—and this conversation really confirmed all of my biggest worries. She told me that she really wants to graduate and she understands how she would have so many more opportunities with a high school diploma.
So, we began making a plan of attack.
We agreed to sit down with Ms. P next week and look over EO’s transcripts to see how far behind she is. I spoke with Ms. P after my meeting with EO and it sounds like she is missing most, if not all, of her graduation requirements. My biggest concern is that because EO is so far behind, it may be impossible for her to get a diploma from McClymond’s at this point. TBD what Ms. P says…
However, I told EO that I am committed to helping her get a high school diploma not matter what it takes and that it is never too late to make it happen. Even if we need to spend the next year studying for the GED, I am committed to helping her do this.
EO also mentioned that she has some personal goals that she would like my help with:
1. She wants to get her driver’s license, so she needs to sign up for behind the wheel training. I told her I could help her find and sign up for those classes.
2. She needs glasses. She used to have a prescription but lost her glasses and apparently can’t see the board if she isn’t seated in the front row. I told her if she finds out what kind of insurance she has (medi-cal, Kaiser etc) that I could help her sign up for an eye doctor appointment.
3. She wants to visit her dad who is incarcerated in San Quentin. I told her I could help her find out what it would take for her to visit him but that may be difficult because she isn’t 18 and it sounded like her mother probably won’t want to take her. Worst-case scenario I can help her figure out how to write to him and get in contact.
4. She wants help to find a summer job. This is something we will talk about some more, but I told her I am happy to help her with this process and be a personal reference for her.
It is going to be a lot of work to get EO on a path to graduate, but she was really eager for the help and support and I am happy to help her along this path. As difficult as it was to hear everything she has been through since we last met in May 2018, I am really hopeful that we can turn some things around for her.
Date of Meeting: 1/24/2019
Unfortunately EO could not make it to our meeting this week. Her aunt in Sacramento had an accident and so the family had EO go there to babysit for her younger cousins. She did let me know ahead of time what was going on and that she wouldn’t be able to make it to our meeting, which I appreciated very much. It is really too bad that her family situation requires her to miss school in order to help around the home.
For our next meeting we will work towards some of the goals we set last week.
Date of Meeting: 1/31/2019
I found EO in her friend’s Spanish class. Apparently students like to crash this class because it is currently taught by a “permanent substitute” (i.e., a sub that has been there all school year) and so the students think they don’t have to pay attention or do any work.
EO was sitting with a group of friends and she had her binder out as if she was going to do some work. I sat down at their table and asked her if we could go work somewhere else because this classroom was insanely distracting (students were just chatting away as the teacher tried/failed to get their attention). She said, no--she would rather work in the Spanish class. I acquiesced that we could try it out… However, she kept chatting with her friends and largely ignoring me until I would interject and tell her that I was there to help her with her work and not there to just “hang out.”
I asked her if we could please go somewhere else so that we could at least talk privately about our last meeting/conversation. No, she did not want to go anywhere. I tried explaining that this wasn’t a good work environment and I couldn’t do my job if she was going to ignore me and talk with her friends. She said that she “was working” (she was just shuffling her worksheets for various classes around and ignoring me when I asked her about the assignments).
After interjecting and pleading with her for about 30 minutes I decided to give her two options— We could either go somewhere else to work/talk together, or I was going to leave because this was not an appropriate use of my time. She said she wanted to stay, so I said OK, then I would see her next week and I left.
About an hour after I left she texted me to say “Sorry about today.” I responded that I appreciate her apology and I would be back Thursday and would like to meet not in Spanish class. I am also told her that I am trying to set-up a good time with Ms. Piper to meet and go over EO’s coursework and graduation requirements.
Date of Meeting: 2/7/2019
I could not find EO at school today-- I texted/called with no response. After about 30 minutes of looking I decided to head out. She finally responded to my text around 2pm saying that she was at school and had been in one of her teacher’s rooms. I wrote back and asked if we could agree on a set meeting place so that I don’t have to try so hard to track her down and she agreed that we could meet in room 215 (her Spanish class) next week. I’m glad that she is communicating to some extent, even if it has been hard to track her down!
Date of Meeting: 2/14/2019
Again, no EO today. I texted her and she responded that she was in Stockton and that she was mad that she couldn’t be at school. I asked her if she could please try to let me know on Wednesday’s if she won’t be at school for our Thursday meetings (I think I ought to start contacting her on Wednesdays to remind her to come).
She said she would do that, and asked if I could come in to see her tomorrow (2/15)—to which I told her that I can’t take 2 days off in a row this week, but if she let me know ahead of time the next time she wanted to reschedule then I would do my best. She said thank you and wished me a Happy Valentine’s, so I’m glad we’re still on good terms and maybe she is getting the message!
Date of Meeting: 3/5/2018
This was my first meeting with TS and it went fairly well. We met in the teacher’s class (history/AVID). The teacher prefers that the student not miss class if it can be helped, so we decided that I would sit with him and help during class. I introduced myself to TS and asked him if I could sit at his table. He was friendly/cordial and knew who I was from speaking with the counselor. We shared a table space with two other students.
Overall, he seemed uninterested in my presence during our first meeting. It seems like the main issue for this student is his ability to pay attention in class. He mentally checked out of class almost immediately—on his phone watching videos with headphones in for pretty much the whole class. I did my best to keep asking him questions and trying to get him to engage in the work, but it started to feel like I was just badgering him. I tried not to take it personally because this isn’t a problem unique to him (most of the students were distracted by their phones for some/all of class). I am a bit unsure how I will do things differently next week, but I don’t think this was a winning strategy. It may be that it will just take him some time to warm up to me, but in the meantime I will try to experiment with ways to help him focus in a more positive way (maybe some incentivizing snacks!).
As a side note, I think that working one-on-one outside of class is a much more effective model. During class I felt like we didn’t get much of an opportunity to get to know each other through conversation—I tried to engage all three students at my table in a bit of introductions/conversation in the time before class started, but they all were a bit busy with their phones. I was able to get the mentee to tell me a bit about his class business project he has been working on (developing a business plan for a clothing/shoe store), but that was the extent of it. I also found out that he needs help in his math class. I didn’t feel like I could help him catch up on late work, since we had to manage what was in front of us first. In summary, I much prefer the model of taking the student out of class and working with them separately. I think I will discuss this a bit more with the teacher and the counselor to see if we can find a better way to help my mentee.
Date of meeting: 3/13/2018
TS was absent again this week. I can’t say I was terribly surprised because it was rainy and just a couple days post daylight savings. It seemed like everyone was feeling a bit sleepy and slow. When the teacher’s class started there were only 4 students in attendance and others slowly trickled in over the next hour or so.
Next week (if the student shows up) I would like to take him out of class for a chat about his academic and personal goals and make sure that he has a desire to work with me. I think briefly pulling him out of class will be fine with the teacher, but we still have to discuss the potential of taking him out of class for longer periods of time.
I ended up helping other students that seemed to be struggling and tried to engage them in the discussions we were having. Based on my conversations with the teacher, he appreciates having me there to help the other students that are struggling. Ultimately, I am happy to continue going to this class even if the student’s attendance continues to be spotty.
Aside from not being able to adequately help his performance in the history class, the biggest issue I see with his sporadic attendance is that I wonder how the other students will perceive my focus shifting from helping everyone to solely helping my mentee. I think as long as my strategy is to sit with some of the more distracted students when he is absent and try to engage with them all, then it will be less noticeable when my focus shifts to a single student. Also, since helping TS is largely about getting him to participate and do the work in class, I think achieving that means engaging with the other people sitting with us anyway.
Date of meeting: 3/20/2018
This week TS came to class (he was about 30 minutes late). My original plan for this week was to take him out of class to chat about his desire to work with me. However, since we only worked together once before, I decided to have one more try at just working with him in class and seeing how he treated the situation.
We worked together along with another classmate on the current class project, preparing for a debate. TS pulled out his phone and got annoyed with me that I kept asking him to put it away. He finally put it away and started sulking about it (he said he couldn’t concentrate on his work without his phone!). So, I gave him a small piece of candy and asked if that was a fair trade for putting his phone away and he seemed to forgive me.
We worked pretty well together for the rest of class and turned in his assignments. At the end of class I reminded him that I come to class every Tuesday at 8:30 and asked if I could count on him showing up next week and he said he would be there….so we’ll see!
Date of meeting: 4/17 and 4/24/2018
TS did not come to class today, however, last week (and I’m sorry I forgot to send in my report last week) we had a really good conversation and got a lot of work done together.
Last week started out with him coming in a bit late. I had previously asked the teacher if I could take him to another classroom to work because TS mentioned to me that he was annoyed with the arrangement (of having to stay in class to work) and it wasn’t what he signed up for with the counselor. I think he just found it embarrassing that I was there just for him.
So, when he showed up to class I tried to get him to come with me to the computer lab. He told me that he wanted to stay in class instead, but then when I asked him to come sit where there was an open seat for me to sit with him he said, “No, I’m good here.” This prompted me to ask him to step outside with me for a quick chat… I let him know that he was being disrespectful. I told him that I get up at 6 a.m. every Tuesday and drive an hour because I care about working with him, and all I ask from him is to return the respect. He apologized and said that he still wanted to work with me and that he would be better about showing up on Tuesdays (maybe next week).
We went back in to class, sat together and got ALL of his missing assignments for the class done and turned in. He felt really good about it and I told him I was super proud of him.
Date of meeting: 5/1/2018
Today TS was about 20 minutes late to class, but he was in a good mood and ready to get right to work. He came and sat with me right away (I didn’t have to coax or coerce him) and started working on the assignments for the history class. I don’t know what lit the fire under his bottom, but I made sure he knew that I was really happy with him and appreciated his good attitude and hard work.
Date of Meeting: Tuesday 5/8/2018
TS was finally on time to Mr. D’s class! It was a good thing too, because they had a prospective new history teacher (Mr. M) giving a sample lesson to Mr. D’s class that morning so the principal and football coach were there, and the kids are always acting their best when the football coach is around!
We worked through the guest teacher’s lesson together for about 30 minutes. After Mr. M finished and left, the students spent some time debriefing what they thought of Mr. M, which I thought was a really interesting and entertaining conversation.
Then TS and I spent the rest of the class time working on a project to research a college and put together a presentation about the school, the major he would pick, and the admission process etc. He picked the University of Alabama, and as we worked he asked me a lot of questions about college—what it was like, how hard it was to get in, etc. Mr. D overheard us and asked if I would share my college/grad school experiences with the class.
It was really fun to share and answer their questions—and they had so many questions! They usually call me “Ms. Maya” and so they thought that it was really strange and funny that I was going to be “Dr. Maya” for researching fish (I told them I thought it was weird and funny too).
Date of Meeting: Tuesday 5/15/2018
TS was absent from class. Again! I thought he received the message after we chatted a couple weeks ago, but I guess it didn’t quite stick. Luckily I was able to help out a few other students that are struggling in Mr.
Date of Meeting: Tuesday 5/22/2018
TS was absent from class again. I did see him after class in the hallway and asked him what was going on (because I hadn’t seen him in over 2 weeks). He said his mom is in the hospital and he has to wait for his grandmother to take him to school in the mornings and she can’t bring him until after 9:50 a.m. I asked him if his mom was ok and if he needed anything. He said she’s sick but she’s going to be fine and he’s doing fine.
Mentor #4 with mentee TS
Mentor #4 with mentee EM
Date of Meeting: 11/29/2018
Working with EM has gone really well so far. We managed to get through his geometry work with some time to spare. He is very quiet and it’s difficult for me to get him chatting; However, I really appreciate that we sit with his friend XXX (he is working with Michael Shields), who is much more talkative and helps me bring EM out of his shell a bit.
I didn’t stay after class to talk with Ms. W because I wanted to hurry to try and intercept my next mentee (EO) after her 1st period, but my plan next week is to check in with Ms. W about his grade and see how she feels about me taking him out of class for the second half so that I can find out how he is doing in his other subjects.
Date of Meeting: 1/10/2019
This was my first meeting with EM after the winter break. He was about 20 minutes late to class, which was a pretty consistent pattern with him last semester. I brought up the importance of being on time last semester- and he did seem to improve over time. So, today I mentioned it again, but I also understood that it’s hard coming back after a long break.
We worked on the class worksheets together, and I tried to get him caught up on what he missed. He does really well when someone is keeping him on track. He knows the material fine- he just has a really hard time focusing. I didn’t get a chance to ask him about his grades last semester so I will make sure I remember that for next week
Date of Meeting: 1/17/2019
EM is not a very open book, but he does seem to be doing much better in Ms. W’s class. I noticed that the work she handed back to him this week (worksheets which he completed on the days I was not there) were totally complete and correct. I praised him on a job well done! Previously, from the work Ms. W returned to him, it seemed like he was just tuning out and not do any work when I was not there-- so I hope (at it appears) that he is finding more confidence in his abilities, gaining some better work habits, and realizing that it’s really helping his grade to just get his work done!
Date of Meeting: 1/24/2019
EM came at the end of class today. I asked him what was going on and he just shrugged and wouldn’t really give me a straight answer. I asked him to please consider that I am making it to his class on time for his benefit, and the least he could do is make the same effort.
On the brighter side, in the 20 minutes remaining in the class, I was able to get EM to complete the entire worksheet that we had spent the whole class period working on. I was careful not to incentivize coming to class late, but let him know that he must be getting the material if he was able to get his work done that fast!
Before EM showed up, I spent the class period working with XXX. He is another one of our mentees who is working with Michael Shields on Mondays. When I sat down at the group table he immediately told me that he bombed the quiz they had taken the day before. I asked him what he thought happened, because I knew that he knew that material. He told me that the teacher allowed them to use the worksheet that we had completed the previous week, but he didn’t bring his because he doesn’t have a binder/folder dedicated to this class and so he forgot to bring it.
This is a pattern I have noticed with all of my mentees so far- they simply don’t come prepared with paper/pencil/binder etc. Perhaps, with some simple fundraising, this would be something that OS could provide to these students with the caveat that they bring it to our meetings every single time.
I explained to XXX how important it is to come prepared, and how difficult it is to succeed if you don’t have the proper tools. There is even a place in the classroom where he could leave a folder of his work so he doesn’t have to remember to bring it to class.
I then suggested to him that he ask Ms. W if he could retake the test for some partial credit. He said he thought she would be mean and say no- to which I responded, “well if that’s the worst thing that could happen, that’s really not that bad, right?”
He thought about it then sheepishly asked Ms. W about retaking the test to which she responded enthusiastically that he could come in anytime!! And she would be happy to have him show her that he could do better. XXX was amazed at how happy she was that he asked.
I considered that a pretty big win - XXX learned that Ms. W wants him to do better, and is more than willing to help him if he just asks!
Date of Meeting: 1/31/2019
EM did not come to class today so I ended up working with XXX for the 1.5 hours of class. XXX seems to be much more engaged in his classes lately—he told me that he had good grades (almost all A’s) in all of his classes so far this semester, which is really great news.
EM, on the other hand, seems to be checking out of school a bit more. I hope he comes in next week so that I can check-in with him and hopefully encourage him to get back on track.
Date of Meeting: 2/7/2019
EM did not come to class today and neither did XXX. I hung around for a bit to see if I could help any other students, but they were all working pretty well.
I ended up seeing EM in the hallway after class and I let him know that I had been waiting on him in math class—he mumbled some sort of apology before speeding off. He seems to be slipping further and further and I’m worried about his attendance. I’m also having a hard time getting him to open up/trust me when he does come, but will keep at it!
Date of Meeting: 2/14/2019
EM was about 30 minutes late to class and showed up just as they were beginning to take a quiz. He seemed very tired and ended up just putting his head down instead of working. I asked him if he was ok, and he told me that he had a terrible toothache and couldn’t think straight (he had mentioned the toothache last time I saw him, 2 weeks ago). I was really worried that this was an ongoing thing and I could tell it was really bothering him, so I asked if he wanted to see the nurse (not sure if they have one at Mack…) or call home. He decided to go to the office and call home, so I walked down with him.
We ask all our mentors to submit a weekly mentoring report to track the progress of their mentee(s). Here are excerpts from a few of those reports.
All names have been anonymized and assigned to a number (i.e. Mentor #1) or random two letter initials.