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.