Friday, February 27, 2009

A boy named Gabriel

It was such a nice and warm feeling to see so many people willing to sacrifice their time to do volunteering job. Especially at an orphanage where they provide tutoring to children once a week.

What bothered me after another session of tutoring at the orphanage today was a seven year old boy whom I was coaching on the subject of Mathematics. He could not even differentiate the number seven and nine. I guided him on a few calculation exercises and observed he had difficulty in identifying numbers. The most basic and fundamental knowledge of Mathematics needed to proceed with those difficult worksheet that was provided for the tutoring sessions.

Yet, he was tackling the worksheets with much frustration, all the while asking me to give him the right answers.

Another behavior I have observed of him is that he was depending on me to give him the answers which lead to the attitude of not bothering to remember what was being taught and only excited to know if he has guessed the answers correctly. Sigh.

I wonder what his school teachers teach in class. More so, did he even bother to listen to his teachers in school?

What disturbed my mind most were when I wanted to leave a little early to go for my dancing class, some of the volunteers was teasing the boy that he made me angry and I am leaving him. The boy did not allow me to go and wanted me to stay on, so I explain to him that I must leave as I have my dancing class and that I will see him again next week. He said “You are lying”.

Shocked. Surprised. Stunned.

Those were my reactions. Why would the boy accused me of all that? I tried to explain but he was already sulking and kept repeating that I was lying to him. The rest of the volunteers did not help much by adding on that he made me angry and I am leaving because of that. Sigh.

No wonder the boy is feeling the way he is, with the help of the cheerleaders’ team formed by those volunteers. Abandoned yet again by someone he thought he is able to trust. He was already abandoned by his birth parents, he must have experienced the same with numerous “teachers” whom he respected, and now he thought I must be one of “those” people who just said “I will come back” for the sake of saying it.

My heart truly weeps for that little boy for experiencing those feelings from such a young age and not knowing how to deal with it. Volunteering as a tutor for the orphanage is certainly not an easy job. One must be understanding and able to feel the emotions of those children. They need encouragements, genuine care from the heart as a friend and family, as well as being the mentor that they can look up to and respect. To say the right things at the right time is most important to deal with the sensitive emotions that has been bottling up in them.

If the other volunteers chipped in a few words of encouragements and positive remarks during those awkward moments, the boy would have felt better and experience a sense of calmness and trust.

I stressed yet again that being a tutor or a teacher does not mean we are teaching something to others; it is the passion of sharing an idea or knowledge and inspiring others to give their best in order to discover what they already know. At the same time, having the passion in seeing someone’s life improves through all these guidance and inspirations. The satisfaction is indescribable.


  1. I didn't notice that actually until after you left because I was tutoring two kids. Sorry babe.After you left I tutor him. I told him that next week you will be checking his maths homework.He nodded.

  2. No worries my dear, you were busy with the other boy :)
    I will certainly go back again this week to check on his work and to prove to him that I will not lie to him. See you on Thursday!