One of the coolest things we get a chance to do is we take something like reading or writing, something that might have seemed impossible for some of these kids, and we make it accessible. We make it fun. A student we had with us this summer, he’d had a lot of anxiety surrounding his work. There were some days he even had a hard time getting through the door in the morning; that was his level of anxiety when it came to school work. By the end of his time with us, he told one of his tutors, “I wish you guys were my teachers during the school year.” Yes, it was remarkable that he was reading and we helped him do that, but even more than that, there’s this self-esteem component that’s so remarkable. That’s something we don’t teach. Success teaches that. We just happen to be lucky enough to see that. The way that kids feel about themselves after working with us, that right there is why I teach at Aucocisco.
I worked this past summer as a tutor in our summer intensive reading program. Students meet with a different tutor each hour for four hours a day, five days a week. One day while going over vowel sounds, my student looked up at me to me and said, “I can read now!” I said, “yes, you can! How long have you waited to say that?”
“Since I was five!“ Knowing she had been waiting four years to be able to say she was a reader was such a humbling experience. I had seen all the hard work and determination she had been putting in with us. Her mom had shared that her daughter was even joining in with their stories at nighttime and decoding the words she had recognized. It wasn’t just what we do here at Aucocisco that changed things for her, it was her own passion and desire to be a reader that turned things around for her. It truly is a team effort. We gave her the foundation, and she took herself across the finish line. Moments like this are why I teach.