Yesterday at service I was introduced to two new kids at Open Doors Academy: Kiana and Eric. Kiana needed help on two math assignments involving adding and subtracting negative numbers. I attempted to teach her ways to do this, but I found immediately that I couldn't do so because she could not do simple math without the use of a calculator. Even with problems such as 15-10, she had to pull up the calculator on her phone to discover the answer. Eric also needed help on his math homework, so I helped him set up an equation. He realized he knew it before we were halfway through and his eyes completely lid up with understanding. I love that look more than anything when it comes to tutoring. He then proceeded to work on a project concerning the Cherokee tribe.
I guess I have been taking education for granted lately. The idea that Kiana could not do simple math without the use of a calculator astounds and terrifies me. I can't even wrap my head around that notion.
On the other hand, Eric had a completely different personality from the other kids I've met at Open Doors. For instance, I try to respect these kids' space, because they don't know me and I am unfamiliar with them. I was sitting a seat away from Eric when he worked on his project and he said to me, "You can come over here, I don't bite." He is the first kid to be open to the idea of me helping with schoolwork. The others have tolerated it, but haven't been thrilled to have me here. Also, when he asked my name and gave me his, he shook my hand. I rarely see this behavior in people my age let alone a 14 year old boy. He was legitimately disappointed when I had to leave but I assured him I'd be back next week.