23 November 2010


Tutor Tales, Volume 25


A few weeks ago, when I showed up at Rain Dancer's place for our evening tutorial, there was a younger girl there with her.

"This is my cousin, Star Shaker," she said. "Our guardian says you will tutor both of us."

And I thought: I will? Since when, please?

Maybe that showed in my face, because Rain Dancer continued: "When I'm writing something and you're waiting for me to finish, you're not really doing anything else. You can use that time to tutor Star Shaker."

"Not really doing anything else"???

I had to take a deep breath before finally sitting down.

You see, while that description is technically true, my agreement with the girls' guardian also made it kind of insulting. In Volume 24 of these "Tutor Tales", I explained that I've already given her a big discount on what I usually charge. So for her to add another student to my load at the same low rate just makes me feel taken advantage of. Especially since I didn't get any advance warning and she seemed to just assume I would do it.

Anyway, I did do my job that evening, with both girls, pretending I was back at XYZ Tutorial Centre and letting my attention weave back and forth between them. But as soon as we were done, I set up a meeting with their guardian.

This story is about two weeks old. Everything is all settled now. Instead of seeing Rain Dancer two hours per evening, I meet her for the first hour and then tutor Star Shaker during the second. Just a few hours ago, I resurfaced from the microscopic world of cations, anions and covalent bonds (Star Shaker's seventh grade Science homework) to find myself back in the land of love sonnets (Rain Dancer's third year English revision).

So why am I telling it at all, you ask? Well . . .


You see, just yesterday, I discovered that I am a walking lightning rod--for when I entered Angel Delight's bedroom, there was another little girl there with her.

And sure enough, the first words out of my little tutee's mouth were: "This is my cousin, Silver Surprise! She'll tutor with us tonight!"

The difference was that, this time, I thought: Oh, cool! Play date!!!

LOL!!! I know, right? I make very little sense sometimes.

But what followed was one of the best "play dates" ever. Both girls are in the same grade of the same school, so they both had to study for the same long test in Hekasi. And they're both unusually quick. Silver Surprise was impressed by how well Angel Delight had memorised provinces, capitals, primary products, major land and water forms, and festivals, so we taught her all the mnemonics, too. And she just loved them.

When she had trouble with the Pista y Ang Kagueban of Palawan, particularly the description of pagbibigay pugay sa kalikasan, we ended up making a story about a "poo guy" who wanted to honour nature by giving it some of his personal fertiliser. He started by going into a cave to do his business. ("Kagueban" sounds like kweba.) But the princess was upset at this and sent all the angry animals of her realm after him. (Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan, which has many rare animals.) To get away, he changed into a giant falcon and flew as far as Mindoro, where he landed and turned into a mountain. (Mount Halcon can be said to divide Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro.)

At the end of the tutorial, I made both girls practice writing paragraphs in Filipino. Silver Surprise got to do the festivals of Bicol (which, unfortunately, don't include her beloved Pista y Ang Kagueban) and Angel Delight wrote about the same region's more well-known lakes and springs.

Both girls were seriously precious. They work well together, too--which is to say, they learn quickly together. Before I left that evening, I was 100% confident that both of them would ace the long test. I really wouldn't mind more "play dates" like this one.

And yes, Mrs. Delight was nice enough to pay me a little extra at the end of the evening. You have no idea how lovely it is when a parent cares.

(Note to everyone: All right, so the pony charm isn't silver. It's closer to the idea of Silver Surprise than all the other silver horse charms I've seen.)

Image Sources: a) Rain, b) Stars, c) Angel charm, d) Pony charm


christopher said...

I can't wait until your students learn about blogger and start making up names for their fun tutor lol :)

Jessica Bell said...

haha. Um, ok, I thought you were telling some sort of American Indian spirit story for a minute with all that 'guardian' stuff. LOL.

Enbrethiliel said...


Christopher: They probably will, someday . . . but the question is, Will I link to them???

Jessica: Oh! LOL! I can't blame you. "Rain Dancer" does sound like that sort of name, doesn't it? But I'm afraid her "guardian" isn't the cool spirit kind.

Sullivan McPig said...

Some people.....
I'm glad to hear you had fun at the 'playdate'session though.

And sorry for not commenting much, but I'm still in over my head with all the moving stuff.

Enbrethiliel said...


Sigh! I know . . .

I understand that you're especially busy these days, Sully. My family did a big move several years ago, and it drove everyone crazy. Won't it be great when you finally settle in and are able to breathe? =)