His name is Emmanuel, and he is a force to be reckoned with.
He is a cherubic, bespectacled five year old darling who came to visit me in my little tutoring room this past spring. He was just finishing his kindergarten year, but his father was told by the teacher and the school district that Emmanuel was not ready to advance to first grade. His papa could not accept that decision. He knew his son, and he knew what I would soon come to learn.
Our little Emmanuel was not only bright, but inside that tiny frame was the bulldog determination of a never-give-up hard worker. His wise father became Emmanuel’s advocate, and convinced the district to retest his son one more time before the final decision to retain him in kindergarten. That is how Emmanuel came to work with me for several hours per week this past summer.
And work we did! He memorized sight words, segmented phonemes, read countless nonsense words, beat me over and over at The Train Phonics Game, and learned the names of geometric shapes. I still smile when I think of that little voice flawlessly saying difficult terms like “rectangular prism.”
When we first began working together, Emmanuel had two teeth missing. It was a challenge getting him to be able to pronounce the “th” sound without those teeth, but he practiced and practiced until he got it right. I can still see that determined little face working to form the words. Small but mighty, Emmanuel did anything and everything I asked him to do, without a whimper or complaint, as we vetted him for the retest mid-July.
As the day of the retest came, I prayed and waited to hear if he had passed. When his dad arrived at our center, he was all smiles as he proudly showed me the congratulatory email on his phone. There were high-fives all over our lobby, and we took Emmanuel’s photo, with both thumbs-up, to put on our bulletin board to celebrate his victory.
At Oxford, we are in the business of helping all of our students achieve their individual goals. If one strolls through our center during a busy day, one might hear Shakespeare, calculus, chemistry, or physics concepts wafting through the air. We take pride in our high school students who score high on their SAT’s and go on to Ivy League schools. But we also take every bit as much pride in the success of a kindergartener like Emmanuel.
At Oxford Tutoring Center, there are no small victories.