I first started working as a home-instruction tutor when Big Brother was about 3 years old. I’m still listed as a tutor with one of the 3 districts in which I worked; the other two have contracted out the home tutoring. While I’m not often assigned students anymore, I do enjoy the one-on-one work with a student who is too ill/injured/postpartum/pregnant/anxious/depressed to attend school. (Yes, I’ve had students in each of these categories–as well as a few discipline cases and a couple of malingerers.) There are students I’ve only taught for 2 weeks or so before they return to school. Most of them, I never hear about again.
Every once in a while I run into one of my students, who lived here in town and had a baby girl during her senior year of high school. I was paid to be her English tutor, but I also did a good bit of informal encouragement; this young mom was breastfeeding her daughter, keeping up with her classes, and handling quite a bit of the housework. She later married the father of her baby and they have another child as well; now she’s a stay-at-home mom, although she did work quite hard when her little girl was young, managing a Domino’s Pizza. Her resilience, determination and dedication served her and her family well, and it touches my heart that every so often, SHE recognizes ME. She is eager to tell me how things went for her family and I love to hear how well they are all doing.
Today’s local paper features a story about one of my former students. I taught her for an entire spring, when she first became ill during her junior year of high school. I remember cancellations due to specialist visits and medical tests. She never felt well but she tried hard to stick with the schoolwork. She’s 27 now, married, and recently received a kidney transplant from her older sister. There are complications with her disease, though.
If you read down to the end of the article, you’ll see that she recently attended a Mass of Healing at the Shrine of St. John Neumann in Philadelphia–and her family welcomes prayers. It’s lovely to see that in the paper, and my former student Christine can count on mine. It’s good to know how things are going, and it’s good to know that although 11th-grade English is long over, there is still something I can do to help.