I normally only tutor grades PreK-5, but I have one 7th grader who I’ve been with for years, and who is far too wise for her age.
Kid (watching me eat my standard pregnancy-nausea Saltines from a plastic baggie): “You’ve been snacking a lot during our sessions lately.”
Me: “Oh. Yes. I know. I’m sorry, I hope it’s not distracting. I just…I’m taking a vitamin and it makes me a little sick if I don’t eat.”
Kid (looking me up and down skeptically): “Mmmm hmmm.”
Me (closing my sweater self-consciously): “It’s true.”
Kid: “You look more tired, too. And last week you brought the wrong folder.”
Me: “It’s the vitamins. They make me tired. And forgetful. They have lots of side effects.”
Kid (rolling eyes): “Ok. Just remember– I’m 13. I know things. I watch a lot of TV.”
Me: “Ok, well, I’d appreciate if–”
Kid: “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.”
Me: “Thank you.”
Kid: “….that you’re smoking pot.”
Me: “Soooo…what’s this stuck to your homework? Looks like a chewed up snack of some sort?”
Kid: “Ewwwww no!”
Me: “Ok, phew.”
Kid: “It’s a booger.”
This kid is 4.
Kid: “What’s your husband’s name?”
Kid: “Oh, like PRINCE ERIC?”
Me: “Yes. That is what I call him. Prince Eric.”
Kid (excited, in one breath): “So you used to be a mermaid and sing songs on a rock and had a friend named Sebastian and also a friend Flounder and then you lost your voice so you could be a human and marry Eric and an evil octopus tried to stop you but then she didn’t and then you got your voice back and then you weren’t a mermaid anymore and you and Eric lived happily ever after because you’re the good guys and the good guys always live happily ever after?”
Me: “Woah, um, ok. So that’s not…”
Me: “You know what? Yes. That is exactly what happened.”
Kid: “I KNEW it.”
Steph went to retrieve my nephew after his nap, and encountered him with poop all over his hands. Seems he woke up early, got bored, and found a way to entertain himself.
Kid is nothing if not resourceful.
(After Steph sends photo….)
Me: “So today we are going to read this biography about Barack Obama.”
Kid: “Oh! That’s my Dad’s Christmas dinner guest!”
Kid: “So every year everyone in my family decides who we would invite to our Christmas dinner that year, if we could invite anyone in the world. My dad chose Barack Obama.”
Me: “Oh, I love that! And who did YOU choose?”
Kid: “Taylor Swift.”
Me: “Also a good one. And your Mom?”
Kid: “She chose ‘any black female voter from Alabama.'”
Kid: “Yeah I didn’t really get it.”
Me: “Did you do your homework?”
Kid: “No, I didn’t have time. With Christmas and all.”
Me: “Christmas is still 2 weeks away.”
Kid: “I know, but like. There’s a LOT that goes into Christmas, you know? There’s a lot of stuff that leads up to it. It’s not just like you’re busy on that ONE day.”
Me: “I guess…”
(15 minutes later)
Me: “So what IS your family doing for Christmas?”
Kid: “Oh, my family? Nothing. We’re Jewish.”
Kid and I are researching quotes for his paper about community action, and we come across a good quote by Nelson Mandela.
Me: “Ohhh, that’s a perfect one to use. Do you know who Nelson Mandela is?”
Kid: “Yeah of course.”
Me: “Oh, I’m impressed. I wouldn’t necessarily think a kid your age would know about him.”
Kid: “Well, my dad listens to his music all the time.”
Me: “Ummm…his music? Nelson Mandela was not a musician, as far as I know…”
Kid: “Yes, he’s a country singer!”
Me: “I think you’re thinking of someone else…”
Kid: “You know, (singing) ‘On the road again, Just can’t wait to get on the road again….'”
Me: “Oh, honey, no. That’s Willie Nelson. Not Nelson Mandela. They are two very VERY different people. Nelson Mandela ended apartheid in South Africa.”
Kid (pondering): “Ok but otherwise they’re pretty much the same.”
Me: “And what would you say is your greatest area of need?”
Me: “And your greatest strength?”
Kid: “Like, I guess…not vocabulary?”
I had a kid fill out a math assessment for homework. There was some new content in it, so I told her if she really didn’t know how to answer a question, just write “no idea” underneath, and I’d help her in the next session.
So in the next session, I taught her the strategy she needed to use to answer the “no idea” question. Once she had a firm grip on the strategy, I said, with optimistic enthusiasm, “Ok, so let’s go back to that question where you wrote ‘no idea’ and see if we can change that answer!”
So she changed it.
Because come on that’s fucking hilarious.