Monday, October 6, 2008

unlimited tutoring

We tried meeting on weekdays, but it's tough. Sunday mornings work best, but even then, the unpredictability of life makes these morning tutoring sessions, at best, intermittent.

So I text the student:
- Do u hv unlimited txt?
- Y
- Do u hv web?
- Y
- R U mendacious?
There's a delay, a gap of time, and it passes by until eight minutes later:
- R U calling me a liar?
- Would U prefer b n sagacious?
I'm rolling a size-1 soccer ball to Quinn. She's just mastered sitting-up, and when the ball stops between her legs, she leans over, picks it up, and treats it like a teether.
- Yeah, wise. That's me. Ms. 2400!
So now I tutor and the student responds at varying times. I'm not going to claim this is perfect; a substitute for face-to-face, pull out the Kaplan, Princeton Review, and College Board books. But when our lives seem to pull us in every direction except the one that brings us together, this strategy keeps us cognizant of our task, and provides another way for students to learn and teachers to teach.


Darren Draper said...

I like it, Ken.

While limited, this form of tutoring is better than no tutoring at all. And with this kind of interaction, I'll bet you're closer now to your student than you've ever been.


* Do her parents know?
* Do they care?

And finally:

* How do you keep this kind of (usually) informal communication from becoming too informal?

Don't get me wrong, but I think there's a fine line here that, as a professional and an adult, you don't want to cross.

Ken Rodoff said...

Yeah, her parents know. Caring is something that I'm sure they have for their daughter, specifically, her ability to score well enough on the SATs to earn a scholarship from her school.

A lot of texting that I do is based on established trust with not only the student, but his or her family.

As the lacrosse coach, I've found that one of the best methods for communication with my team (when not on the practice field) is via text messaging.

I'm well aware of the tightrope that educators traverse - and that below the canyon is a litigious ocean, but I've found that looking up toward the sky is best.

And for what it's worth, I always keep the classroom door open when a student comes for extra help.