Monday, May 31, 2010

Media Mondays: mommy blogs

More than just a coloring book.

I'm not a mom. At this moment, I don't ever envision myself as such. But I have friends who are moms, or who will become moms soon, or who want to be moms later and I only think of good things for them. Thankfully, I can say that to their face too - I'm lucky to only have friends who would make good parents.

I'm also a fan of mommy blogs - not all, just some. Dooce, being the one that comes to mind first, but also Letters from the End Consumer, and Angry Chicken. The blogs have good writing, cool photos, and quirky commentary on every day life that makes all the mundane stuff seem much more exciting. They also sometimes have really cool ideas to modify for the classroom.

This for instance, is a complete immersion into the world of the rainforest using really simple things. I especially love the terrarium and labeling items that come from the rainforest. Open Court's 5th grade curriculum has a rainforest unit, but with all the environmental activist activities in schools nearly every grade will have something about the rainforest.

Which, really, is what 21st century education should be about: immersion to engage all the senses, experience to make it meaningful, and productivity to use knowledge and skills learned.

By the way, hint as to how to know the mommy blog is a good one: it has a subtle title, like the ones above. There's something about an obvious title like "Mommy Knows Best" that just turns me off from reading it, even if it was meant to be sarcastic.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The pink slip club

My camera is still in transit between DC and CA, and my phone camera is crap, so I didn't get to take a picture of five cars in the parking lot of one of the schools I teach art. However, they looked something like this:

I feel really bad for these teachers. It sucks. Five at one school too! But I can't help but think that some of those pink slipped teachers might be bad teachers anyway. And it might be a good thing for the school to get rid of them, and thus have the opportunity to hire better teachers.

This is one of those things I'm really torn about. I would like a chance (or two, or seven) to make my teaching better first, before my principal decides to fire me. I would like to have my skills be invested in, to have someone older and wiser to guide me a little in developing my teaching methods. At least to point me in the right direction.

But I also think it's only fair to the students to get rid of someone who truly sucks at teaching them. How to determine whether the teacher sucks or not is the debate. I don't like high stakes testing. I do like portfolios, and observations over a period of at least two weeks - with more than one observation session. And improvement - over years. I like looking at improvement a lot.

On another note, I haven't been job hunting quite so intensely this month. Mainly because work has been intense. So many students taking finals, so many students wanting last minute cram sessions with a tutor. Work will be light from now until August, so it's back on the job hunt wagon for me too, along with all the others from the Pink Slip Club.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I've been reading this book for the past week, going backwards and forwards and backwards again. In all, I've probably read through it at least twice. Still, I can't seem to get rid of the feeling that I need to study the words written here a little more. Definitely one to get for my own library.

Synopsis: A 15 year old boy is starting is first year of high school. Things have happened to him. Things will happen to him. Things are happening to him - which is funny, because the term "wallflower" means someone who is standing on the sidelines, not a participant but an observer. It's hard for me to see Charlie as "just as observer" when he obviously isn't. Taking place in the early 90s, he writes letters, which is how the book is formatted, to an unknown friend, describing his everyday life and thoughts. It's hilarious and sad at the same time. And always, it is uplifting.

Weird, huh? That the letters of a depressive can be uplifting?

This book, in combination with watching An Education and taking the meaning/purpose of life questionnaires on Penn State's Authentic Happiness Survey has gotten me thinking a lot. Perhaps a little too much. What is happiness? Why do people have to have a purpose to be happy? According to the AHS, I'm not particularly purpose-filled. What if your purpose is just to live out each day to the best of your ability? No, that doesn't necessarily fill me with ambition and hope and awe and energy. But that's my purpose. This is water. I'm questioning the definition of happiness here, and what "participating" is. Just because the fish's actions within the fish bowl are being watched closely, doesn't mean the watcher isn't doing "nothin'," as my tutees like to say.

Note: One cannot do "nothing." The act of "doing nothing" is the act of nonexistence - thus nothing can't be done or not done. It's acceptable in colloquial language, but not for written communication. I explain this to 10 year olds and they get it. But when I explain this to 50 year olds, they scoff and look at me like I'm crazy. Another reason why I like the philosophy of children.

In any case, awesome book. Apparently, it's considered to be the Catcher in the Rye of the millennial generation. I never really got into Catcher in the Rye. Maybe because I'm of the millennial generation.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A window and a door

Yep. It's really good to see my students do well. Geometry Kid now has an A where he used to have a C. 4th and 5th grade NCLB students both need to go to summer school - which is no surprise - but at least they are more confident in their academics.

I picked up a last minute college student in Linear Algebra. Cramming for her final. I think she'll do ok, definitely pass I'm sure. But it is harder for an older person to learn this type of thing when her basic math isn't as solid as it should be. She also gives herself excuses like, "Oh, I'm dyslexic" or "I'm so much slower than other people." It was a long and dry 5 hours of tutoring with her. But I got across. She's not going to get the A that she hoped for though. Probably a B, which is pretty good, even without considering all her hang-ups in math.

Summer is officially here for me! A door and a window is ahead. Which will I go through? Did that make any sense whatsoever? No, not really - not even for me. Eh.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Eh. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

When technology hinders

Keeping it simple.

I love technology. As of this moment, I'm looking forward with great anticipation towards the arrival of my new Kindle. Can't wait to have books and books and books with me wherever I go.

That said, I also hate technology. I prefer writing in cute notebooks with Muji pens rather than typing out a document. I like real post-its, much more than the Stickies application. I like paper planners and calendars.

And I hate the Smart Board.

Well, I hate it when the Smart Board is used in such a way to hinder learning. My 4th grade tutee's teacher has a Smart Board in her classroom. According to my tutee, the teacher only uses the Smart Board to READ THE FREAKING DIGITAL TEXTBOOK OUT LOUD.

Isn't that a waste? There's so much more one can do with that thing. So many more learning intelligences to tap into.

Which brings me to my next point: my student does not learn from audio input very well. Things somehow get jumbled up in her head and it comes out very, very confused. If the one main method of teaching her classroom teacher uses is through reading text out loud, then no wonder she's struggling in school.

The worst thing is, I know that's not fair to her teacher. This teacher is probably doing her best, using as many methods as she can. It's just that this one student only remembers the things that aren't helpful to her own learning. It also doesn't help that her parents never acted on the multiple suggestions to get this kid tested for an IEP.

Because apparently, my tutee's parents have been told every year, since pre-school, to get her tested. She needs a doctor's recommendation, which the parents never got for her. And which is out of the school's hands, because the school is a school, NOT a medical facility.

Oh boy. So many thoughts in my head right now. And to think this post started out about technology. Then I keep digging deeper until the can of worms turned into a can of those underground desert creatures that Kevin Bacon tried to fight off in that one 80s movie.

Yep, keeping it simple is indeed difficult to do.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Media Mondays: International Museum Day

May 19th was International Museum Day. It went by and I didn't even know it. Eh. Here are some tips to enjoy museums.

I love museums, even the boring ones like contemporary art. There's always something to see, something to think about. I've always intended for my classroom museum visits to be highly structured things - complete with clipboards, scavenger hunts, tours, essays, still life drawings, pre- and post-research, etc. Because I know not everyone finds museums interesting.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Oh my goodness, I have the worst case of summer-itus that I have ever encountered in my entire life. 3.5 more working days until summer! w00t!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Zen. I need some.

There are different types of bad teaching days. The most common for me is probably when I'm doing something that escalates an existing, or creates a new problem. However, as of late, I've had increasing experience with another category of bad teaching days: when no matter what I do, or how well I teach, or do everything that's worked, either for me personally or because the research says so, my student still doesn't get it.

Both of my current NCLB tutees are like this. One is a 4th grader who doesn't know how to count from 1-200 correctly, let alone have any firm grasp on the multiplication facts. The other is a 5th grade denier - he thinks he's doing ok. But he is not. And he will never admit his shortcomings to save his own life. He also won't work harder to fix those misconceptions.

I hate it the most because I think the 4th grader, a girl, pretends she doesn't know as much as I think she does. And the 5th grader is, well, just plain deluding himself with his own ego. He escapes being completely obnoxious only because he has a kind personality. Kind and egotistical. Yay.

I also hate it because I'm unconsciously blaming it on their cultural background. I diss on Chinese culture a lot to my fellow Asian Americans. Mostly for fun, and to vent. But I don't usually diss on other cultural idiosyncrasies. These two students are showing me that I can change my mind about that.

What do they need? Why do they feel the need to cover-up their weakness and not try harder to make those weaknesses into strengths? Why do they feel the need to act dumb in order to support a feminine persona? What can I do to help them see that the things they are doing to themselves are hurting them the most? I am frustrated because I'm trying so hard, and doing everything I know how, and STILL results are pathetic.

::Yoga breath in, yoga breath out::

Ok. Only one more week to the 2009-2010 traditional school year. Do my best, let the rest go.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In importance of naming your kids so that their teacher doesn't laugh her head off at them

A rose by any other name would be just as hilarious.

Overheard in art class the other day:

Student #1: Did you get any of the cards?

Student #2: No, Jesus took them all.

Student #1: That Jesus, he's so greedy.

Yep. That Jesus. Not "Hey-zeus," but certifiable "Jeez-us." He is so dang greedy. Along the same note, I also feel kind of bad for the boys named, "Guadalupe." Their chances of having therapy issues are significantly higher than Jesus'.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting organized

I like to put everything in order before the school year is out. That way, when the new school year begins, I'll already be organized and ready to go. I won't be scrambling last minute to get stuff done. Thus, I'm wallowing in binders and folders and labels right now. It's hard to imagine the amount of paper work my two part-time jobs require.

Until I start organize it all, that is. It's easier to imagine when it's all spread before me on the floor, waiting to be put away in its proper place.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Best Friends For Never: A Clique Novel

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I liked this book. It's one of those books that are a complete leap out of my usual reading list. Seriously, I barely liked Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club way back in the day. So I was surprised to discover how smart this book is.

Octavian Country Day School's student population is self-centered (even the supposedly "geeky" ones), trendy, back-stabbing, neurotic, insecure, wacky, condescending, moody, fun-loving, emo. Basically everything that a pre-teen-teenager goes through. Except that OCD's (hahaha! I always laugh at the acronym for that school, and I like to think the author did it on purpose as an inside joke) kids are filthy rich. Most of them at least. The "geeky" girl isn't declared "poor" outright, but there are allusions.

It's a fun, easy, smooth read. Perfect for 4th grade and up. Maybe some high-reading level 3rd graders too. I finished it in about two hours.

Now all I need to read is Twilight. Um, well, maybe one step at a time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Media Mondays: Kids Skin Health

I found today's teaching resource here, on one of my favorite beauty blogs. Beauty is only skin deep? Maybe, but it's pretty informative too. I, for one, have struggled with bad skin all my life - short end of the gene pool - and still do today. Sadly, my parents didn't know much about it either, and thus I have acne scars that will never go away. What I know now is all self-taught. I didn't get any skin health education in school either.

Kids Skin Health is an interactive site by the American Academy of Dermatology for kids to learn more about hair, skin, and nail health. It looks pretty fun, and has information on everything from pimples to skin cancer to lice to warts. Stuff that's really superficial (pun intended) but important, and can be easily overlooked for bigger things like.....

Wait a minute. When DO teachers and students get to talk about health in elementary school? Sex ed? That's all I can think of right now.

Ok. So health is another thing that isn't taught enough in school. So much to teach, so little time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


The above is what happens when I'm holding a container of cocoa mix during allergy season. Nice huh?

Working on stuff. Tutoring stuff. Job search stuff. Single subject math credential (YES! I'm finally getting up the courage to take that dreaded CSET!) stuff. Lots of stuff going on. My nose is pretty stuff-y too.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

When students graduate to bigger and better things

Pomp and Circumstance

I said good-bye to my Algebra 2 tutee this week. She passed her online class with a B, having started out with below an F when I first tutored her. It's great. She's getting a good enough GPA now for a merit scholarship. She's going to one of the most beautiful colleges on this side of the country. She's a great person, hard-working, smart, and has a lot of contribute to the world. Great things are in store for her.

It was a little sad, and a little nostalgic for me to see her graduate onward like that. I'm happy for her, and a little jealous. She's at the stage when everything is in front of her, and turning back only reveals good memories. What a lovely time that was.

Not that I don't have good things in store for me too. Nor does looking back at my own life reveal solely bad memories. It just that I know both good and bad were in the past, and both good and bad will be in the future. More realism, less "I wanna run through the halls of my high school," or "swim with you in the sea" feeling that those typical graduation-themed pop songs talk about.

Which is not a bad thing either. I'm glad I experienced both. My student will too, I suppose.

Friday, May 14, 2010


One of my summer '10 projects.

Schools left and right are ending the school year early. It kind of sucks, because it'll most likely happen again next year, and teachers and staff are getting a pay cut.

But it's kind of good at the same time. Longer summer. Ending school early. What's not to like?

There may be more behavior problems, and then again, there may be fewer. Students know the end is coming sooner than previously expected. Moral goes up. Teachers might be a little happier with the extra time off - much needed in many cases.

Which makes me more supportive of readjusting the traditional school year. Not many people in urban and suburban schools need to get to school at 7-freaking-AM, in order to finish at 1-super-early-PM, in order to get back to the farm's chores. Summer can be crammed full with summer school, camps, projects, etc that it blends in with the end and beginning of school. There's got to be a better way to schedule school, especially in this modern 24/7, season-less, constantly transitioning society.

Still, I like looking forward to months of do-nothings in warm, sunshiny weather. This summer is going to be awesome.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Long day, long night

This will have to suffice for now. So tired, need rest. Loving the blue-and-white skies, the birds, the blooms.

Graduation season is upon us. Endings and beginnings. Good night.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Translation needed.

I've been tutoring a 5th grade NCLB student for two weeks now. He is far, far below grade level in reading comprehension. He is ok in writing and math.

He says he gets A's in all subjects, and a B in science.

HOW ON EARTH IS THAT POSSIBLE? He can't read better than what a 2nd grader is supposed to read! His social studies and science both have heavy, dense reading. I don't even want to imagine what his language arts is like.

But he is obviously an EL student, so he probably gets tracked for language arts - in with the EL group. He is a bright kid. I suppose he can manage an A in a tracked class.

Still. I don't know how healthy that is for the student's academic progress, making him think he is better at something than he actually is. It certainly isn't honest.

Is it brutal that I'm honest with him? I tell him that he's good at math (true). I tell him he needs a lot of work in reading (also true). He works hard, he pays attention, he's improving after only 6 hours of tutoring. He tends to stress out (affective filter!) but I play a lot of games with him and he relaxes. Don't tell the people at the school district office, but I don't really do the mandated curriculum with him. It won't help him, not to pass this year and not for the long term.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The New Global Student

I read this book several months ago and really enjoyed it. I don't believe EVERY student should do what the author's kids did. For one thing, there really is an age requirement to doing solo travel. The author was able to go with their kids, which obviously is not always possible for everyone. But I am fully supportive of studying abroad if the student even has any interest in doing it. I would wait until the kid is around 16 or so, depending on the kid's maturity level, for solo trips to unconnected places (i.e. no family or trusted friends to look out for the student).

There are some really nice tips in this book too - for every student, at every stage, not just for studying abroad. It's how I wish everyone viewed education: as a life-long activity, as a multi-faceted, multi-productive way of life. It spans culture/gender/age, breaks barriers, builds relationships, and connects people to each other as well as to whatever they are studying.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Media Mondays: Noisy Decent Graphics

A workable lesson on the importance of being specific when writing. No activities at all? Not even walking, or driving?

The things students - and grown ups too - see on a daily basis affects them quite deeply, especially if the things they see are shocking, or beautiful, or cool. We've become a very visual civilization after all.

I like to meander over to Noisy Decent Graphics sometimes to get a visual break from text, or even other graphics. For some reason,the graphics associated with elementary teaching are very Windows 95, and can sometimes be painful to look at. I personally prefer a sleeker, modern look that's functional as well as snazzy.

Which is too bad, since there are a lot of really cool, attention-grabbing stuff out there. Let's all take a lesson out of those ideas, yeah?

Photo from here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Spring fever

Clear skies, fluffy clouds.

The warmer weather and longer days have been getting to my students - and to me as well.

I forgot my pencil bag at a place I won't visit for another week.

I forgot dad had already prepared a dessert for Mother's Day, and I bought another dessert.

I made a huge mess of my room and my work table - a literal paper, clothes, pillows, blankets, books, cds, and bags hurricane.

I have a back log of applications and queries to get done.

I haven't planned this week's lessons for both art and tutoring yet.

There are another three of those BIG post-it notes worth of to-do that haven't been done yet.

And yet I'm happy. My sloppiness is a non-priority. Life is good. What a complete 180 from around this time last year. I'm taking a minute to savor this feeling, so I can remember it and come back to it later, when I'm less benign about that to-do list.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

More than I ever wanted to know about Justin Bieber

Photo from

My 4th grade NCLB student has to read at least 30 minutes a day. So, on Thursday, we read for 50 minutes. Because we could.

She read the above book, then wrote a short summary and her personal thoughts on the reading for her reading log. It was pretty entertaining, surprisingly.

Did you know Bieber is a child of divorce?

Did you know his family lived below the poverty line?

Did you know he won second place in a singing competition - singing the same song that shot him to YouTube fame? Which makes me wonder all the different types of successes - such a teeny-bopper idol without even winning first.

My student was really into it. Apparently, she's his "biggest fan." Good grief, she's only 9. But then, I had my own teeny-bopper idols too: I had HUGE infatuations with Billy Piper, Destiny's Child, and Twins. The only difference is that I went though the tween-obsession stage when I was nearly twenty. Late-bloomer, no?

This new student is pretty fun to teach. She works hard, and listens, and gets it with relative ease. Perhaps the flighty-ness is what's been holding her back.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Essential 55

The name of the author of this book jumped out at me when I first saw it, but my brain just couldn't quite place it. Which meant I had to google it, of course, like everyone else of my generation when they want to find out more about something.

I should have known: Ron Clark, of The Ron Clark Academy, the students of which created that "Vote However You Like" song & dance.

The subtitle for this book says, "An Award-Winning Education's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child." Fifty-five rules seem a little excessive to me - and there are actually more than that in the book, since many of his rules have sub-rules. Also, to be frank, some of his rules are rather out-dated and culturally insensitive. For example, under "Rule 29: The ABCs of Etiquette":

F. Do not smack your lips and chew noisily. J. Do not slurp. M. You are to use your utensils for eating almost everything.

Although it's applicable to American-style dining manners, I think people need to be more ethnic food savy than that. Perhaps Mr. Clark assume that the individual teacher would have the common sense to teach the appropriate table manners depending on the culture and atmosphere of the diner. I like to think so, since he does have some good tips, and has been an effective teacher in many ways. Maybe it's just that much more important to teach students how their surroundings affect the way people act. It's completely appropriate to slurp Vietnamese noodles, however, I think I would only do it if I were in a Vietnamese food only restaurant. Or Vietnam.

Despite some of the cultural glitches, I was surprised at how encouraged I felt while reading this book. It actually affected my own teaching - I was just so much more energized to do better as a teacher, to do more, to plan increasingly creative learning experiences for my students. It came at a good time too. I was starting to feel a little lackluster in the pedagogy department.

Overall, decent read, if a little culturally un-savy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Easter egg stuffing

Around five weeks ago, I was up to my elbows in plastic egg shells.

This isn't the greatest photo to show the red Oompa-Loompa hands I got from making jello eggs. I forgot about the plastic gloves.

I made 15 dozen eggs in all. Not all of them were jello eggs. If they were, I would have died a drowning death in jello.

Stickers, erasers, small toys, and candy to fill regular eggs. I don't like to fill the eggs with only candy - too much candy! I also asked the kids to open up their eggs, empty the contents in a baggie to keep, and return the plastic shells to me. I'm going to re-use them next year. Recycle, reduce, reuse!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


What they don't see, can't make them throw an administrative fit.

My newest tutee is for NCLB tutoring. The school district wants me to work on multiplication, fractions, and decimals with this student. He actually isn't all that bad at any of those topics.

Well, let me rephrase that. He does well on the curriculum that the district mandates that I use. He probably doesn't do well with any other curriculum - because the district mandated stuff is dumbed down.

He is also an English Learner. That bit of information wasn't in the profile I received, but it's pretty obvious.

So. I've decided to scrap a lot of the curriculum and bring in my own stuff for this kid - done with my boss' blessing. I just can't document the outside things I do, not even if all I'm doing is helping him with his regular homework.

Yep. Jumping hoops and going around the establishment to help students learn better. I do like tutoring.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

M.C. Higgins the Great

When I first saw this book on the library shelf, I thought it was going to be a futuristic story. The first third of the book still felt like a futuristic story, even though there are clues pointing to the Depression Era. I saw it right next to Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush. Two books about non-WASPs in one library trip.

It's a pretty good book. It confuses me a little sometimes, but in a good way. But since it does confuse me, I don't quite know the right words to describe the book yet.

Plot: A 13 year old boy lives on a mountain that is being mined for coal. Published in the 70s, the message is surprisingly contemporary for today's kid audience.

Just try it. It's a good one.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Media Mondays: Science foods

Academic cookies.

I get a lot of ideas and inspiration from the World Wide Web. For example, this is totally awesome. Because, you know, only a kid would eat a cookie that looks like a petri dish of growing bacteria.

On a similar note: this is pretty cool as well. Jezebel - celebrity gossip AND classroom activity ideas, all in one place!

I think I would have these pre-made and then have younger students identify the parts before eating it. Older students can frost the thing themselves - with some plans drawn out, submitted to me, before they even touch the piping bag.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Minus plus

Spring - the advent of teenaged brain farts.

The scene: Thursday afternoon at geometry tutee's house.

Me: (looks over his shoulder as he works on a problem) Um, why are you subtracting?

Tutee: (blank stare) What?

Me: Let me ask you this - what theorem are you using to solve this problem?

Tutee: The Pythagorean.

Me: And the formula for the Pythagorean says....?

Tutee: a^2 + b^2 = c^2. (in an exasperated, condescending tone)

Me: Correct. Therefore, I go back to my first question - why are you subtracting the squares of the legs from each other?

Tutee: (stares at his handwriting) Oh. Heh.

Me: Dude, you must be super glad for the weekend.

Tutee: (sheepishly corrects his work) It's been a long day.

I always enjoy tutoring my geometry student. He's the smartest of the bunch that I tutor. He also has a great sense of humor. But sometimes, he gets a little annoyed/embarrassed, in that way a teenager gets, when I make corny math jokes. He and I both know he's laughing the hardest on the inside.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The starfish story

Two of everything, including choices.

Originally posted on my tumblr, but I thought I would post it again here.

“There once was a little boy and his father walking along the beach. On the beach was scattered thousands and thousands of starfish, drying out in the sun and dying. The little boy started picking up one starfish at a time, throwing them back into the ocean and saving their lives.

‘Why are you doing that?’ asked the father, ‘You can’t save them all.’

‘No, but I can save this one.’ replied the little boy.”

I am in a quandary tonight. And not only because I had to look up the word “quandary” to make sure I’m using it correctly. One of my tutoring students does really well when I’m teaching her during our sessions. She gets free tutoring through the NCLB tutoring program for low-performing, low-ses families through her school district.

We had a session tonight. Her mother gave me an update. She is getting F’s in math at school. It really shocked me because from what I know of her performance during tutoring, she really should be pulling something closer to a C.

Q) Why on earth is she getting straight F’s in school when she’s proven herself to know the material during tutoring? A) There are many reasons. I only know of two: 1) she’s not the most organized person in the world, 2) she has low self-confidence, believes she can’t do it, and thus does not even try.

I want to propose to my boss at the tutoring company to offer her tutoring at a discounted rate. I, of course, would be taking a proportionately discounted hourly pay too. I want to work with her on her actual homework (she says she doesn’t have any - which is a lie; I know her school’s standards) instead of the stupid remedial curriculum NCLB tutoring mandates as the sole material for her. I want to boost her confidence in school so that she can stay afloat on her own means in a sea of students (she’s in 8th grade; the sea will be bigger in high school) rather than rely on one-on-one time with a tutor for the rest of her life. I’m pretty sure my boss will agree to this proposal. She still gets a client.


I want to take an NET job offer. I declined the job at first because I had already committed to tutoring this girl (she had two other tutors drop her before I came along - not good). The NET position starts IMMEDIATELY. As far as I know, it is still open. I was thinking of asking for it again once I’m finished with my obligations to this student. There is only a week of free tutoring left for her.

Thus, the quandary. Shall I let this starfish go, and save myself, one of many teacher-starfishes in Cali who are looking for full-time positions? Or should I pick the starfish up and toss it back into the ocean? Is the starfish alive enough to be resuscitated? Or will it get washed back onto dry land again and die later, and my sacrifice wasted?

I shall sleep on it.