Elizabeth was on time this week. I was late. 5 minutes, but I felt very bad and hypocritical. I had stopped at Subway for lunch, and then there was an old man outside whose key had broken in his ignition, so I asked him if he needed to use my phone or help him or something, and then spent a few minutes looking for pliers or tweezers or something in my car to no avail. My good deed for the day, but making me several minutes late.
When I got here I made a pretty poster promoting LRT workshops. I rock, did you know?
My 3:00 is 25 minutes late now. She's the 14 year old on a first grade level that I'm tutoring. Sometimes she walks in and wanders around without coming to the family learning center, but she's not inside the library that I can tell, her home phone has been disconnected and the mom didn't answer her work phone. Her older sister was supposed to bring her. There's thoughts about taking her out of the program, because there's a waiting list to get in, and things like this keep happening with her. Unfortunately it's a problem with the clientele we work with.
In my ESL powerpoint, I talk about how in America, when someone says, "come to dinner at 6" they mean come at 6. In other countries, that could mean, "come an hour late" or "come when you have the time" or "come a few hours after the time specified" -- we talk about how we need to teach people that in America the customs are different, and use the "When In Rome" idea that you need to follow certain customs of your surroundings.
With the population we work with, there's still a culture divide. "Your child is going to be tutored at 3:00 every Friday" might mean "there's a slot for your child, bring her if you want, 30 minutes late is okay" Unfortunately many of our tutors work on what we believe to be "standard american time." We show up 5-10 minutes early to prepare, and expect our student at 3:00, with a five minute grace period. So then what happens when the student doesn't show? Well, for me, I work with LVLC, I so I have things to do (or LJ to update). For many of the other tutors, it's an hour they could have been studying, working, out with friends, or doing something else they desire to do. They sign up to tutor with us assuming they will actually get to tutor, and students (well, the families) that we offer these (FREE OF CHARGE) services to don't even show up. It's rude. But if they don't know, are they doing anything wrong? Sure its a disservice to us, but if you don't know that what you did was wrong, is it really wrong? Is it the culture divide? Can ignorance be an excuse?