Sunday, March 22, 2009


I now spend most of my evenings tutoring a succession of Korean students. I wish someone would study how a Korean mother network works.. it has the same efficiency necessary to deploy weapons. I started with one family, and somehow it all began after that.

So I end up tutoring from 5 to around 9 on most weekdays.. SAT verbal, essay writing, middle school history.. Working in the evening makes my sense of time interesting. Sometimes when I'm on the subway and hopping on mini-buses, I wonder how night-shift workers or prostitutes feel - I see that the sun is setting, thus my workday begins. Not that I'm comparing being a tutor to prostitution.. besides a strange time of day, going to the students' apartments, charging by a clock. heh. ok no. :)

Overall I like tutoring, and I think I do a relatively good job. Parents like me because I don't short them on time, and I guess also because I am strict. Sometimes when I'm starting to raise my voice, I notice that outside the room is suddenly quiet, so the mother can hear what I'm saying. I've always thought of myself as a patient person, but I guess not.

Twenty minutes of patiently explaining and arguing - so much that my throat is dry and my voice is shot to a semi-baritone:
Student 1 (yet again): "But why do I have to map out my essays? Can't I just write it?"
me (patiently): "no, you must map and plan. Otherwise it's like you're shooting a gun with a blindfold on." (nice metaphor - mentally pats self on back)
Student 1: "But.. I don't think I have that much time to do it. I think I should just learn to write well."
me (starts to silently shred bits of paper): "Planning is writing well."
Student 1: "But .. but.."
me: "OK. Look. Right now what grade do you have? What grade do you have???"
Student 1: "A 17 out of 40.."
me: "Yes. You have an F. Not even a high F. If you want to keep getting Fs do it your way. It's the lazy way and it's not particularly smart.(pounding desk with fist) Just. do. It. MY WAY! Ahhhhhhhh.

Update: 2 weeks later and the mother called to quietly tell me her son "just didn't want lessons with me anymore."