Macro / Micro

Although I have given up on finding any regular summer employment – with my return to school only two short weeks away, oh no! – I have recently added a few new students to my tutoring schedule for this summer, and possibly beyond. It’s giving me a wider variety of experience with lots of different subjects and age ranges:

  • High schooler who I am preparing for AP Spanish.
  • Adult who I am tutoring in ESL – specifically conversational English and grammar.
  • Middle schooler going into 7th grade who I am helping with writing skills.

The ESL is giving me a crash course in the things I am learning about during my grad classes, and I’ve discovered that “crash courses” are how I learn best. One evening of trying to explain the difference between the perfect tenses and the other tenses is already making my head spin.

I ate.
I was eating.
I have eaten.
I ate yesterday at 6pm.
I was eating when you arrived.
I don’t need dinner, I have already eaten.
I don’t need dinner, I ate at 6pm.
I was understanding the past tense, and then I explained it to you.
Until I explained it to you.
I have explained it already.
El imperfecto estaba pasando y el pretérito pasó.

I’m also realzing that the head-spinning of new discovery is crucial for me.


(Comprehensible input should never entirely make sense; that’s when learning happens.)

It’s also interesting that so far, all of my students for private tutoring have been from another culture. Between my culture class last term, my tutoring, and my work with YFU, I feel like I am thinking of a lot of things differently, in terms of culture and the way that people relate to eachother, and all the different languages that we seem to be speaking.

The shop on 8 mile with rows upon rows of gleaming rims in the window, which all look the same to me.
Conversations I have been bewildered by between certain individuals who are engaged in role-playing games.
The Korean family I’ve been working with for months, who just recently warmed up to me like a light switch flipping on.
Talking about buying houses, with incomprehensible terms and processes and sums of money.
A loss of identity exchanged for love and recipies and language and a Home, but maybe I’m the shortsighted one here.
A passive agressive exchange of notes on a whiteboard.
Watching my sister plan and orchestrate a wedding.

I am more and more grateful each day for where I am in my life, because these things are so important to me. Conversations and interaction are so important to me. Stepping out of and expanding my comfort zone and the comfort zone of other people is important enough to dedicate my life to it. I think that opening of doors is the very achievable, grassroots solution to the souped-up chaos on TV. Figuring out how to facilitate interaction – forgive me, I have been writing too many papers –

between speakers and writers,
behaviorists and modern language educators,
religions and humanitarianism,
rape victims and virgins,
activists and idealists,
us and them, them and us, them and them, you and me, you and you.


Hmmmmm, I say.

What do you say?


One Response to Macro / Micro

  1. Theresa says:

    I say: I’ve been thinking about my pores too much this morning. They’re just sooooooo fascinating.

    I liked reading your list of sentences in different tenses. Oh so lovely sounding. Keep it real, keep it raw, ms. lady.

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