Friday, January 21, 2011

best tutoring family and set-up ever

On April Fool's Day, appropriately enough, in 2009, I met N. and his family.  I was finishing up training in Alphabetic Phonics and needed a practicum student.  N. was available.  And one of the most surprising and delightful relationships I have ever had was born.

I've written about N. before; we have a lot of fun during our sessions and, as his mother says, we're both weird.  N. once said I was like the sister he never had.  I said who knows, you may still get a sister someday, and N. said, "Nope!  Mom got her tubes tied!"  (Mom said I could post this.)  It turns out N's father and I went to the same high school.  He was a couple of years ahead of me, and we don't remember each other, but my dad was his spanish teacher.  Twenty-five years later, I'm teaching his son.  Cool, huh?  At least it was until N's dad dug out his old high school yearbooks yesterday and showed the boys my freshman picture - never heard such a fit of giggles.  :)

N's family just moved to a place about 10-15 miles outside of town.  At first we weren't sure how we were going to continue tutoring, but we knew it would continue somehow - it was clear to all of us that this connection we've been given is more than that of a student and his tutor.  What we've come up with has been a tremendous blessing to me; I hope it continues to work out.  Twice a week I leave Grandpa's in the afternoon and pick up N. and his younger brother at school, drive them home, tutor N, then eat dinner with his family.  I'm loving it!

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences theory basically says that intelligence is not just something you have or you don't.  Everyone is intelligent in different ways and challenged in others.  As I've written before, I'm just a wee bit challenged when it comes to directions (east, west, etc.) and finding my way in an unfamiliar - okay, even in a familiar - setting.  That has to do with spatial intelligence.  I have none.  The other day N. didn't have school, so I decided to try an alternate route to his home.  Naturally, I got lost on the way to his house and had to call for directions.  When I finally arrived, N. came outside, stood next to the house, and pointed to it, just in case I needed any more help.  N. knows that when it comes to driving somewhere, I need a tutor.

At dinner last night we were all chatting and I mentioned someone's "gamut of experience."  N's brother, L, pointed at me and hollered, "Ah!  Fifty cents!"  "Huh?" I said.  "You said a bad word!  You have to put 50 cents in the swear jar!"  N. said, "Kerri said a bad word during tutoring today, too!"  "Hey!" I said.  N. was right, I did let one slip.  Those iPads are really cool, but when you want to stop a Youtube video at a particular point it can be a real pain until you get used to it.  Then there's the time I got called into the tutoring director's office for saying "pissed," even though that's not exactly what I said.  But that's another story.  And yes, there is more to my sessions than swearing and Youtube.  We also gamble.  Anyway, once L. found out that "gamut" wasn't a bad word, it just sounded like one, he amused himself by peppering the rest of our dinner conversation with it.  N & L's mom didn't really put her head down on the table (she's the blonde on the right) - she's great, too - but I thought this was a nice touch.

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