From: Sharon Wie
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 10 Dec 1996
Remote Name: crown-lab-mac05.ucsc.edu
Jose, about ten years old
I usually work with the same kids at Barrios Unidos. For me, having that basis of a relationship helps to interact and socialize with the child. When I first got there today, I began to play with Calixa, a girl I had showed how to play blocks previously. She wanted to play again and wanted me with her. Next to her was Jose, whom I've previously showed how to play Monopoly and other board games. After some time, Jose asked me to play with him and I agreed since Calixa was doing well at her game (now a CD rom one). Jose taught me how to play the dots game and seemed to be having a wonderful watching and helping me play. He told me all the rules of the game. He gave examples of when the computer could win and repeated that the main goal of the game was to make more squares than the computer. I think it felt good for him to know something that I didn't. At first, he watched and instructed me. Later, we took turns playing the computer and changing the size of the game. Ultimately, we played each other. We joked around a lot (hey we were in competition) and he told me some very personal information. It felt that Jose was comfortable enough to confide in me. The news he shared wasn't of happiness but sorrow and fear. Jose wasn't really in any trouble, but the information he shared with me was disturbing him greatly. Jose seemed to have trusted me and felt as ease working with me. Later he wanted to play a marble game that I never played. Again, he grew excited showing me how to play.
Personal relationships are important to me and to many other people. In many ways, I think it as very beneficial for the child, teacher, and facility to get to know as much about the child as possible. Especially since Barrios Unidos is an informal atmosphere, we should feel a little more comfortable talking to the kids. My biggest fear after receiving Jose's news today, was not knowing what to do. I didn't feel that I had any authoritative figure to turn to for help. Many children share personal information with us. They tell us how their family is, what they do on weekends, fights they have with siblings, etc. During those times, we happily retain the information because we may feel flattered that the child is opening up to us. The children usually initiate the sharing, although they demand to know some of our own background too.
Is it more meaningful to work with the same kids each time? Is is better just work with what kids what to play with you? Should we get to know all the kids the days we are working there?