Finding a Balance

For many people, including myself, finding the balance between work and play is a tricky task. Spending all day holed up in the library or watching Netflix in bed doesn’t quite show a proper balance. After the past two weeks tutoring with ACH Clear Pathways, the work and play balance was something in the forefront of my mind.

When kids finish a seven-hour school day, the last thing they want to do is more work. But the kids at Clear Pathways understand that finishing work first means more time to play later. Last week, I helped a student power through his English homework. He worked efficiently, finishing his worksheet on demonstrative, object, and subject pronouns. Though it took me a few moments to call back grammatical rules on pronouns, I was happy to help. Soon, he was ready to play.

This week of tutoring was quiet. As the week came to close, fewer kids came through the program, which meant less homework to help with. We filled the time with play instead, going to the gym for a game of basketball and sitting down to work with Legos.

Even while playing, incorporating a bit of work can help strike a balance. While the kids built pirate ships, castles, gas stations, and jail cells, I tried to ask prompting questions – the who, what, where, when, and why of their creations. And each time, I was fascinated by how imaginative and articulate they were at such a young age. In answering these questions, the kids constructed their own narratives around play, giving their projects a story.

I enjoyed the appearances that my English studies made in tutoring the past two weeks. From demonstrative pronouns to creating narratives, I think these aspects show both how useful English studies can be and how to achieve a proper work and play balance. Even as I’m stationed in the library for the day writing this, I think of the importance of fun like basketball games and building Legos.

-Maggie Retton


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