It took me a while to notice that the little boy was following me around. It was a Saturday morning. I was tutoring a fourth grader at Olney Library. We were reading a book in the Arthur series. She was struggling. In the middle of a page, she stopped at a word. A little voice piped in behind our heads. “Realize,” he said. “It’s ‘realize.’”
We were polite. We thanked him. He never left. Even after I explained to him that I was working and that it would be better if the girl learned to read on her own. He sat at the table next to us, pulled out his backpack and began some schoolwork, all the while never taking his eyes off us.
I grew irritated. Other students came. And went. He remained seated.
Finally, after the last student left, thirty minutes before the library was to close, he came over. “Can you help me with my homework?” I sighed. I was tired. It was a Saturday. Outside the sun was shining. I had done my share of teaching. “Why don’t you ask your parents for help?” I asked him. “They don’t speak English, ” he said. Continue reading