Monday, March 6, 2017

Microblog Monday - If you become a teacher by your pupils you'll be taught

For the past year, one of the ways  I have been earning money is by tutoring.

I love it. I love talking with the kids and listening to them.

My favorite pupils are siblings.  The boy is a seventh grader. The girl is a high school sophomore. They are wonderful. They are first generation Chinese immigrants and after they learned that I am raising a Chinese daughter, we set aside five minutes from each lesson so they can teach me "things that a stupid American wouldn't know to teach her Chinese daughter."  (Their words, not mine, but I'm not offended.)

They also talk about how they feel and I am watching them grow, and change.

The boy. I'll call him, Rob, was monosyllabic when we met. Now he talks to me in multisyllabic words. Part of that is trust. I say with only a little pride that he trusts me. I've watched him going from regular teenage boy to activist. We cut tutoring short a few weeks ago so he could go protest at the airports.

Another boy I tutored will run for President of the United States. This is what he says and I believe him. I would vote for him--he's more mature than the person in the White House now.

Then there is the teaching of a little girl which is part of my job as mother. Since I'm not earning as much we've cut down on her Pre-K classes. She goes 3 days a week and then the other two we have as "girls days." Sometimes we sit cuddled in front of the TV.  Sometimes we go to the playground. Often we go to the library. And then there are days I teach her. I teach her about baking. I teach her about mitzvoth. I teach her about me.

And I learn.

I learn that sometimes she misses her China Mommy even though she doesn't remember her. Sometimes she wants her China Mommy, but she wants me too. I learn that sometimes it's okay just to be sad for a while. I learn that hugs are really great.

I've been debating of turning this love of individualized teaching to teaching in front of a classroom and I'm not sure. Until I am though, I like what is happening now. I like helping the kids through frustrations and I become hopeful that they will make the world they inherit better.


  1. I love that your pupils are teaching you things to help with your daughter-that is SO awesome!
    A close friend of mine adopted her daughter from China, and she found a local group to join so that they both can learn about her daughter's culture in a way my friend wouldn't be able to teach her as an American.

    I am currently teaching my 3 year old from home. It's the first time I have ever "officially" done this and it's pretty awesome. Exhausting, but so rewarding to be able to say "look what I taught him today"

  2. I agree with Charlotte - that's so cool your students are teaching you in return (and funny how that always seems to happen). I considered being a teacher years ago, and decided to homeschool our three just for the first couple of years. The youngest is almost 17, so about this time next year we'll have three homeschool graduates. I have no doubt (whether because of me, or despite me... *grin*) they will make this world better.

  3. That one-on-one time is so important because those deep connections are an integral part of education. They're not just one of many in the classroom; they're the star of the show for a moment. You're doing great work.