From: Annie McDevitt
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 09 Oct 1996
Remote Name: mingong-mac-05.ucsc.edu
V., 6th grade, M.; N. 5th grade, F.
Monday, October 7
Our first full day at Barrios Unidos was sort of overwhelming. I felt at a loss as to what I was supposed to be doing there. I am used to a certain kind of structured teaching environment and it will take time to get used to this. Anyway, I spent time working with N. on the computer. At one point we came across a game, "Minesweeper", which neither one of us understood. Luckily, V. was next to us and he explained the game. It was very helpful because he was able to explain it in english for me and spanish for N. He explained the procedure, though the game seemed pretty pointless, and then N. and I played for a while.
It felt sort of strange to me to ask V. to explain the game. I felt bad that I didn't know how to explain it myself. I felt like he might resent having to teach us, that I was taking away from his time to have fun. However, he seemed to enjoy, or at least not mind helping us out. Maybe it was good for him to learn to teach others. Maybe it gave him a sense of accomplishment. N. seemed to feel comfortable with the situation and certainly was better able to understand V. than she could understand me.
I noticed these events because I'm trying to get a feel for what I am doing, what my purpose is in my time and Barrios Unidos. I'm trying to find methods that work and are helpful to the kids. Asking other kids to help when I don't know how to do something seems beneficial to everyone involved. However, it just seems counterintuitive after all my years in the classroom where the adults were the authority.