Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hello there. Remember me? No? Has it been that long?

Yes, I suppose it has been a long time. The weather is actually cold and I'm pretty sure in one of the last posts I was complaining about the heat.

Well, to update you on my life... I'm beginning to round out the end to my AmeriCorps VISTA year of service. Funny that when I started this, I was just beginning - actually, hadn't even started. It has definitely proved to be a challenging year. My main project was to create a tutoring project pilot program for some of the high-poverty, low-income high schools in Oklahoma. Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG.

It has taken 10 months to get this thing going and it hasn't been smooth sailing. You see, we are not just providing your old run-of-the-mill tutoring program. We connect college students (the majority being education majors) to tutor a student online. We do it online so that we can provide tutors to the very rural areas. When I say rural, I mean rural. The school to which we are trying to provide tutoring is in no man's land. Deep in the panhandle, Oklahoma. Here, the principal is also the counselor (seriously) and probably the bus driver, gym teacher, and coach, too. So, challenges that I've hit have included students not knowing how to work a computer, computers not working, not having anyone available to talk to to organize the tutoring process, and  teachers forgetting that the students are supposed to be online to get tutored (yes, this one happened today, actually). The school has the technological capability because this is just a small piece to a big grant where we have provided computers for them to use, but we are currently having to teach the kids how to work a simple program from afar and this has been rough.

There have been various other things that I will not get into, but what I'm trying to say is that there has not been anything easy about getting this going. But, the kids in this town NEED this. Most of them have never had a parent/sibling/ friend go to college and just meeting a college student and having them as a tutor has the potential to open their minds to the possibility for them continuing their education after high school. This is why I want it to work and - had I not thought this could help someone - I would have given up a looooooong time ago.

Add all of the stress of getting this up and running with my unsuccessful job search so that I will be employed once my AmeriCorps year has ended in April, and you'll find me with the emotional mood swings of a hormonal pregnant woman. My poor, poor boyfriend!  Happy Valentine's Day to him. :)

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