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Archive for August, 2010

Until 1.5 years ago, I had never tutored a kid in my life. Fast forward to now and I’ve taught 2 classes (with kids ranging from 2nd to 8th) and tutored 4 different students. It’s safe to say I’ve learned a thing or two. Due to work, I’ve cut my tutoring down to two students, including one that I’ve never taught before.

Here are some things I’ve learned

1. You can’t teach confidence.

The most unlikely kids always seem to have the most potential. But for some reason, no matter how much you encourage them, they don’t believe you. They seem to think you’re just giving them the generic talk of “If you apply yourself then blah blah blah” which, I admit, is sometimes true. But for the most part, I always mean it. I just wish some of my students saw what I saw. I guess this is something their just going to have to figure out on their own. And hopefully soon.

2. You can adjust attitude.

I had an 8th grader in my class once who tested my patience every single week. There were days where I wanted to strangle him out of sheer anger. Then one day, I decided to just beat him at his own game. Whenever he would talk, I would interrupt him. Whenever he had a question, I gave him attitude without an answer. Whenever he had a story to tell, I had a better one. Eventually, he caught on that I was mimicking him and he realized how rude he was being. I’m sure this is not even close to the correct way but it worked for me and for the last six weeks of that class, the 8th grader became the most well-behaved.

3. Results don’t come easy

Seeing improvement doesn’t happen overnight. However, lots of parents seem to think this is the case. Within my first week of tutoring, I had parents emailing asking why their kid’s report got a B instead of an A. I had to explain to them that it takes time and writing is not something you can just teach. They have to learn it on their own. Also, if the student’s lazy, my threats never seem to make them work harder.

4. You’re gonna have a lot of one-way conversations

Whenever I try to engage my student in a conversation, all I get are blank stares or a bunch of doodles on their paper. Whenever I ask them a question, I get a shrug or a “I don’t know”. I don’t know how kids can be conditioned to listen to directions and suddenly be able to form their own opinion later in life. I think they need to be taught that earlier. It’s a pain in the butt when the answers I get are “I don’t know”, “I guess”, “Uhhhhhhh…”, “What’s the correct answer?” or, “Is this a trick question?” What the heck.

5. But they’ll actually listen to what you (and others say)

One of the most rewarding moments is when you realize that your student actually listened to your advice and took your critique to heart. This is obvious when you finally see them stop making the same mistake they made for 2 months straight or better yet, when they remind YOU that you taught them this because you forgot to follow your own rule. It makes and breaks my heart whenever I realize I started doubting them when they were listening all along.

6. Candy bribes don’t work on kids over 9

When I first started teaching, I had no idea how to get my students to listen, so I did the only thing I knew how: bribe. Hey, it worked for me. But damn, all the candy in the world wouldn’t get these kids to do their work. I still can’t figure out why since candy bribes still work on me to this day.

7. Threating to tell their parents works like a charm

What is this fear that kids have of their parents? Okay, I had that fear too. But man, as soon as I start a sentence with “I guess I’ll just have to tell your parents that you…..”, the pencils start smoking out lead because the students can’t stop writing fast enough. It’s a bad tactic but when I get desperate, it works all the time.

8. Parents: Don’t gossip in front of the kids

I know more marital and financial woes than I really need to. Even when I tell the kid to stop telling me, it seems to make them want to share even more. Every time I hear “My mom says…”, I start to cringe because I know I’m gonna hear something that I really shouldn’t

9. New generation, same old tricks

Whenever I have a student revise their paper, the ONLY changes I see are the ones that I found and made for them. Whenever kids ask me questions about their homework, I can tell when they’re trying to play dumb so I’ll get frustrated and just give them the answer. Whenever I say “Write 2 pages”, the student never fails to write exactly 1 page and 3 lines. It’s as if he/she thinks that I’ll accept that as two pages. Sigh, makes me realize none of my tricks as a kid worked on my teacher or parents.

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Lazy Agendas

This is not me.

Sometimes, the best weekends are those that are filled with absolutely nothing. Everything is done on a whim and there’s no timetable of where you need to be.

This weekend included:

-Eating at Urbun Burger in SF (thanks to Groupon!)
-Driving around aimlessly
-Taking a nap in the car
-Finding a $1 happy hour oyster joint
-Raiding Safeway for popsicles and icecream
-Watching The Wire at home for the entire evening

It may not sound like much but it was one of the more relaxing weekends that I’ve had in a very long time.

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Click to enlarge

(via Geekologie)

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Food Heaven

This morning, my boss sent me this: http://foodgawker.com/

It was like he was purposely trying to make me unproductive at work today.

As soon as you click on the link, your face is bombarded with images of drool-worthy food.

I can’t stop looking at this.

Basically, it’s food porn and the recipes to go with each one.

I really need to use this as an excuse to start learning how to cook.

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Summer Heat Wave

This year it came late but it never fails to show up.

At least my apartment is a cool 72 degrees. This is the benefit of living in apartment that gets absolutely no sunlight.

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People are often confused when I say that I rarely have any friends in the area.

I keep forgetting to mention that I’m only referring to the quality of friends, not the quantity.
In terms of quantity, sure, I have plenty of friends or acquaintances.
In terms of quality? I can count them all on both hands.

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They should really start implementing these everywhere.

All courtesy of  TheFunTheory.com

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