I’m tutoring a middle schooler for an important test she will take at the end of the year. She is super anxious about it, so I promise her I will have her fully prepared.
Kid: “Ok but what if you just, like, up and die before the test? THEN WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!”
Me: “Ok, well. I certainly do not plan to die this year. But if I did– which I won’t– well, I suppose you could start by feeling sad about the sudden and tragic loss of your dear tutor and friend.”
Kid: “Oh– right, yes. OF COURSE. Sorry. Of course I’d feel sad.”
Kid: “But like, AFTER that…?”
Parent (to me): “So on my kid’s middle school application, I have to explain her multiple absences last year, what do you think I should put as the reason?”
Me: “Well. What WAS the reason?”
Parent: “My ex-husband is a useless dickbag and couldn’t get her to school in the morning while I worked.”
Me: “Um….’family circumstances?'”
Parent: “Oooooh, that’s GOOD! You know all the right things to say.”
Oh to be clear I would 100% write the dickbag thing. In all caps, 30-point font, and with these emoji
It just seems you want to go in a different direction.
I’m not gonna lie, I almost miss this.
Teaching kid a new math skill…
Kid: “Can you show me one more time? I’m not ready to try.”
Me: “I showed you several times– at this point you will learn best by doing it yourself. Just give it a try!”
Kid: “But sometimes I get afraid to try.”
Me: “There is nothing to be afraid of. Trying is how you learn, and if it doesn’t go the way you want it to, that just gives you good information for how to try again. Learning and success is a process, kiddo!”
Kid: “So you mean if I get it wrong, just learn from it?”
Me: “Yes! You got it!”
Kid: “When you say it like that, it doesn’t sound so scary.”
Me: “Exactly. It really is THAT easy. Just try! I promise you, you have nothing to lose!”
(2 hours later)
Therapist: “So have you taken any steps to pursue a writing career?”
Me: “No. I’m too afraid to try.”
(Part of the Ebola Mom series)
Definitely necessary to clarify.
My nephew just started school.
Excerpt from an email I received from a former student:
My drafted response:
“Wait– you DID? When!?”
— Parent of a student I had last year (whose kid still attends the school), when I ran into her on the street and, after she asked me how I like my class this year, I told her I had left the school.
So you can see I made an impact.
— Kid, when I enthusiastically asked if she was ready and excited to learn.
At our end of year staff party…
Co-worker (to me): “I just want to wish you good luck in your future endeavors, and to say thank you so much for all your help when I first started here.”
Me: “Aw, thank you! But I definitely don’t remember being of any help at all!”
Co-worker: “No, you totally were. You gave me the best advice.”
Me: “Oh? What was that?”
Co-worker: “You said, ‘I’ve been here 4 years and I have no idea what I’m doing. If I haven’t gotten caught yet, neither will you.'”
It’s probably good I left the system.