Showing Up for Excellence

Many of you have been asking me if I’m still tutoring Victor. I am. I’m continuing to tutor him once a week, though I’m going to be blogging about him once a month. Increased activity in the Reading Kingdom company (and rest of the blog) is the main reason for my decision.

Great news! After several months of waiting and bureaucratic delays, Victor and his family are finally seeing the end of their days in the shelter. They should be in a government subsidized house in a month. I’ve promised to tutor Victor until the end of this school year, and if all goes as planned, I’ll be around for his transition out of homelessness.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what direction I want to take, vis-a-vis tutoring Victor, after this school year ends. I’ve considered ending the tutoring and moving into a mentoring role – taking him on outings, spending time with him, and being available as a general resource in his life. I may end up doing this, but right now I consider this Plan B.

My Plan A is to continue tutoring him but to redefine my role in the process. I would like to focus a lot more on teaching him how to learn, how to excel in our society and how to achieve well being. I’d also like to continue being there for him (and with him) emotionally. I’ve been working on those things with him up to now, but I’d like to be more intentional in setting up practices that make it possible for him to really be successful in school, and not merely pass through it. This involves much more than correcting his math and reading homework — it involves changing some of the habits he’s developed from being a child who has faced the enormous challenges of living in a shelter and taking a bus 2 hours each way to go to school among other things. For this I need the consent, desire and participation of his mother.

When we started the tutoring a year and a half ago, Victor, his mother and I signed a contract that outlined our responsibilities to each other. The contract is required by the School on Wheels organization through which I volunteer and basically amounts to a promise that we show up for each other. I think we’ve all done a pretty good job at that.

When Victor moves into his own home, and as the school year ends and summer approaches, I’d like to draw up a new contract that acknowledges how we want to be responsible in our next phase of tutoring. I’m going to discuss this with Victor’s mother and with the folks at School on Wheels who have far more experience in dealing with transitioning homeless families than I do.

Maybe Victor, his mother and I can up the ante on what it means for us all to show up for each other.