Listen. Don't Speak.
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What I learned yesterday.
I take care a group of children from ages 9-10, who are the
most diverse group of kids (I live in Toronto) that come
from low income families and most do not live in a home with
structure or discipline.
Overall, the group is really good, it's just those few bad
Yesterday was my first time alone (I usually have another
coordinator with me) and I didn't realize how much these
kids listened to him! He usually took control of the boys
when they get out of hand and I would randomly walk around
making sure everything was ok.
It was very interesting to say the least. It was difficult
to get 9 KIDS to start working on an activity, but it
happened very slowly (lol). At one point they were all
working on their activity and I was just sitting at the
table observing these kids. I was able to get one kid who is
so hyper to sit alone and draw. However, this boy Chris (who
is in gr.6) is very tough to handle and won't listen to
anyone. It took some time for me to get him to sit at the
table and draw something.
At this time he started to talk to me and asking me why am I
there and if i'm getting paid. My response to him is that
I'm volunteering my time; i'm not getting paid. He looked
shocked and asked me why?! I told him that it's experience
for me to be around children. I don't think he understand to
be honest, but atleast he knows we aren't getting paid and
we choose to take his bullshit from time to time.
However, I did try something out yesterday and I told the
group of coordinators at the end of the day. This boy Chris
went underneath the table and would then cover himself with
a blanket. Thankfully, some of the boys didn't give a shit
(lol) and some of them just took that opportunity to kick
him. I was able to get these boys away from him and I left
Chris underneath the table. I didn't even speak to him, I
just ignored him. Eventually he came out by himself.
Also, he would randomly leave the room and go outside in the
rain. The Junior Volunteer would run after him yelling to
come back inside. I stopped this J.V from behaving like this
towards Chris because Chris was only looking for attention.
Then again, Chris eventually came inside.
When he knocked on the door I tried speaking to him
one-on-one. I asked him why he went outside and if
everything was ok with him. He refuse to speak to me,
instead he went inside.
But through it all, I focused my attention on the 9 other
kids who were behaving (with the occasionaly "he took my
pencil!" cry). This is an 8-month commitment of volunteer
service that I chose to do to gain experience.
It's not easy taking care of kids who come from different
social and economical backgrounds. These kids live in homes
where they parents are always absent or let them run free at
all hours of the day (true story). Who have seen cops invade
their home on a regular bases and see what drugs and alcohol
do to a person. These kids don't have manners and don't care
about anything or anyone for that matter.
I've been able to get close with a family of 2 girls and 1
boy. This family is on everyone's radar, even the center is
keeping a close eye with them. However, these kids love me
and hug me every time they see me. Maybe because I hug them
back and play with them; i give them my full attention.
That's all a child really needs....
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