Tuesday, May 6, 2008

English Tutor

A lot has happened since the middle of the day yesterday when I wrote my last blog. I met with a mother of two, who works at an eye clinic where the first baha'i/contact I met on Saipan practices, and we talked about me tutoring her son, Nathaniel. She had actually dismissed me as a possibility and even told me that she was going to use someone else, before I mentioned that I knew Dr. Khorram. Her son also attends Brilliant Star school, a Montessori school I believe, founded by Dr. Khorram and his wife (again more hearsay). So the little bit of validation of my character went a long ways toward making her comfortable with considering me for a tutor. That, plus I re-thought my original rate quote of $20 and hour, and dropped it to $10, taking a cue from my mother, I realized that in this initial start-up phase I will be learning as I go and my rates should reflect that curve.

Meanwhile, right before meeting her I received a phone call from my friend Brian (see blog/picture below for more on him), telling me that Liz was in the hospital. That she had passed out and stopped breathing and her heart had stopped. They revived her and she was extremley sick, but in the hospital currently. Then my pre-paid minutes ran out on my phone. And it died. By the time I got a new card and Brian's phone number it had been an hour...of wondering and worrying. I had already done the mental inventory of the necessary steps to catch a plane back to Charlotte, even though that would be a twenty hour trip, and I can't imagine being able to sleep while being that worried. Helpless.

Once I got Brian to answer my call, he told me that she was being released from the hospital. She was alive. It was after midnight Charlotte time, so I never spoke to Liz, but I did talk with Brian for a good while. He filled me in on the various happenings and it was very enjoyable. We ended our conversation and I found the home of Nathaniel for my first meeting with him. I had stopped by the library and picked up a couple easy reader books. I arrived at the house prior to his mother returning home from work, but the housekeeper let me in and introduced me to Nathaniel and his sister Abbey. I sat and talked with them for about five minutes just trying to get an idea of what he liked. At first he was so shy and soft-spoken that I could hardly understand a word he said. He tended to look away as he was talking, something I know I do often. But he spoke English reasonably well, for a seven year old, and his sister, who at eleven, was apparently the one really worried about him, was obviously very intelligent as well. So he and I took a seat at the table and I pulled out The Ugly Duckling and asked him to read it to me.

He just needs someone to read with him on a consistent basis. He has trouble pronouncing "r" and "l", almost like Chinese people do, only he is Filipino. His "r" sounds like mine did when I was near his age. As he read, he continuously guessed what the next word was based upon the context of the sentence, the letters he saw first, and the pictures. One sentence read something like: "...all his brothers and sisters." but when Nathaniel read it he said: "...all his [pause] siblings!" That was the most profound expression of his intelligence, but he repeatedly pulled words out of a seemingly large vocabulary, even though they weren't usually relevant to the story. I was impressed and surprised by his smarts.

His mother talked with me a little bit about what was fair to me and affordable to her. I'm going to see him on Monday, Wednesday & Friday at 5 pm for approximately an hour each time. It should be a whole lot of fun. And maybe more students will present themselves to me as time goes on.

I spoke with Liz finally late night for me, early morning for her. If you know her, and feel like it, call her and wish her well, I know some of you already have. Don't call her and ask her questions that make her tell the story again...she doesn't need that. If any of you have ever come close to death, or had an experience that was near-death, you may have an idea of they after effects and change in your thinking that follow such an event. It can be quite an upheaval. Thank you to all my friends who continue to love each other and support each other. If we don't have that real love and charity, what do we really have to give?


Paryssa said...

WOW! Please send Liz our love. She is in our thoughts and prayers.

Awesome about the tutoring! Little by little, day by day!

Miss you tons!!!

Emimily said...

i saw liz... gave her lots of love, as did everyone else.

glad you're well, the kiddos are lucky to have you around...