Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Tutor Time

So I return to my last school, at their request, to deliver one-to-one tutoring to a selection of very special children. Most gratifyingly, when I appeared yesterday, I was swamped in the corridors by students I taught last year who were very excited to see me back.

'Have you come to teach us drama again?' some of them wanted to know.
'Absolutely not,' I said. 'Do you think I'm crazy or something?'
And I explained the whole one-to-one tutoring malarkey.

To wit some of them wanted to know if they could have a session of one-to-one tutoring.
'No,' I said, 'because you aren't special enough. Except you, Cameron, so come and find me at the top of the English Department Block lesson 6 please.'
'Yes!!!' said Cameron, punching the air with delight. But that could be more to do with the fact he'd be missing Geography.

Anyway, I've been given a mixture of years 7, 8, 9 and 11. Worryingly, one of the Year 11s is the same boy who coughed his germs over me last February and gave me a nasty ear, nose and throat infection that resulted in my having to take a lengthy course of anti-biotics which my innards are still recovering from (there is only so much pro-biotic yogurt one can ingest in order to rebalance the flora of one's guts, but we're getting there slowly.) So I am thinking perhaps I should wear a mask when I see this student. Except he has 'anger management issues' so he might object to my outward display of disdain for his potential as a disease-ridden bug host. Or perhaps I've developed an immunity from him. One can only hope...

One Year 7 was INCENSED that he was on the list for extra tuition.
'I think my English is fine,' he informed me. 'I think my English teacher has given me the wrong marks.'
Anyway, we had a bit of a chat and a laugh in our first session and he agreed that actually he wouldn't mind coming back for more tuition after all, because he might get the hang of spelling if he did.

Another student, whom I taught last year and has the habit of turning into a stroppy mare with the fluctuations of the moon,was thrilled to be selected for tutoring and has decided I am going to help her to write a book. I found her skulking in the Behaviour Support Unit, looking contrite-yet-slightly-sulky.
'So why are you up here?' I said.
'I hit Emma,' she said. 'She was annoying me.'
Oh, if only...I thought. The price we have to pay for being a Grown -Up.

Anyway, me and the Emma Thumper are going to write a book. A bit of a drastic method to help conquer appalling punctuation habits I suppose, but I'm a bit of an educational pioneer like that.

Stewart is also happy I am back. We practised some subject-specific vocabulary; Stewart has just started Food Tech GCSE and is struggling. We made a spelling list of all the different ways one can cook an egg. Three minutes into the exercise I sensed his concentration was drifting. I glanced up and found him staring at me really intently.
'How were your pumkins this year, Ma'am?' he said. Stewart, like me, grows his own veg.
'They were tiddly,' I said.
'Mine didn't even germinate,' he sighed wistfully.
'Oh dear,' I said.
'Beans were good though,' he said.
'Yes,' I agreed.
'And I'm still picking carrots,' he said.
'Me too,' I said. I can't believe I'm having a vegetable competition with a 14 year old, I thought.
'What about your bees?' he said.
'Never mind the bees,' I said. 'Spell 'scrambled' for me.'
'S..K..R..U...B..B..L...I...D,' he said.

You see what I am up against?

But the students I have been allotted have all been lovely. They have all worked hard, they have all shown keenness for their special sessions. They all have different needs so no two sessions are the same. They have all been cheery and polite. It's like I am doing proper teaching after all these years.

Big black lorry update - the police visited the owner. They discovered he had a white van also untaxed, a car also untaxed, no lorry operator's license, no excuse for the lorry being left in the road when it should have been parked in a designated yard other than it has 'broken down'. And then he swore at and argued with the police officer, which is never a wise move, especially when one has just come out of prison.

So my nerves are back in retreat, the sledgehammer remains in the garden storage box and Andy is saved the trauma of trying to install a set of vertical blinds in the bay window.

Phew!!

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