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Peer Tutor

Over my high school years so far, I have been taking a class called Peer Tutor. This class is for regular high school students who want to help and teach students, our own age, who have a disability. I have the option to take those students to a class at their grade level and help them learn mentally and to talk socially with others, or I would stay in the classroom and work on goals or do their class work with them. A disability is something that stops or prevents someone from having the ability to do something that they want to achieve either mentally or physically. I have taken this class two years in a row. It has been such a blessing and great experience in my life. I have learned and experienced the value of life that I would have never been able to, if I had not taken this class.

When I first walked into the peer tutor classroom I’ll admit I was a little scared and nervous. The students in that classroom were unique. They don’t look like you and me. They are different, and it was my job to find out who they were as people and how I could help and learn from them. The first student that I worked with was named Melissa, she was a seventh grader. I was a ninth grader at the time that I worked with her. The class that I took her to was called computer technology. Melissa gave the class a nickname “computers” for short. There, I helped her learn typing skills that the rest of the students were learning. I was able throughout the semester to teach her how to type on the home row. In my opinion, this was a big accomplishment because I had taught her a useful skill. After teaching Melissa this new skill I knew that I could then become a great teacher if I really practiced and applied myself. I also realized that Melissa was a lot smarter that “we” give them credit for. After she was done typing her lessons for the day she was able to go on some gaming websites and play games for the rest of the class. Sometimes when I took her to class she would not want to do her lessons and would only want to play the games. I was never good at being strict; I could also be called a pushover. After a while, enough was enough, I had to take a stand. I finally told her “Melissa, it is time to do your lessons, and if you don’t I will have your teacher not give you your points for the day.” She replied, “Fine then, no points for me, I am a bad girl, Ha ha ha.” I had just learned at this point that she could get as sassy and mad as a swarm of angry hornets. At this point I didn’t know what to do. I had no idea what to tell her so I decided to say the next thing that popped into my mind. Stuttering every word, I said “Do you want me to call your mom?” This was the worst mistake that I made yet. She struck her reply as quick as lightening saying “Sure, do you have a phone?” Wow, this girl has an attitude that is loud and clear as thunder. So, I decided then to choose my words very carefully, never knowing what she would throw my way in our ballgame. I then put my foot down and told her “Melissa, you are going to do your work now and that is that.” Sure enough she got right to it and did her lessons. I had just won the ultimate battle, victory was mine. We became friends over the months. Even when the class was over I still went in and said hi to her and gave her hugs in the mornings. We had built a meaningful friendship and relationship that will never be broken or forgotten by either of us.

After working with Melissa my perspective of people with disabilities was changed completely. The students at our schools are so sweet, gentle, and kind to everyone. They are friends to all who are willing to be their friend. They look at you with open arms ready to hug you and spread their love through their friendship that you make with them. I have learned through this special experience, which people with disabilities may be a little different than me but I can learn so much from them. The most important lesson that I learned was that those students with disabilities are better than us all in many ways. They have unconditional love and compassion towards all; many of us struggle with this problem and judge constantly. I believe that we may each learn life lessons and gain more knowledge from these students’ examples. I love these kids and I am so happy I have had the chance to work with them and feel of their friendship and love that their sweet hearts have been able to pass on to me. In the end those students are like clay that I thought I could help mold. But, I was the one that was molded into a better person by their loving hands.





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