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Tabesha...two months in

It's been seven, nearly eight, weeks since I first met Tabesha. I can't believe how fast the time has flown, and at the same time I feel like I've been at this whole tutoring thing for years. I enjoy it and Tabesha and I have become friends outside our lessons; however, I don't think I fully realized how difficult it would be. I had some vague notion in the back of my mind about the time commitment becoming an issue...as summer wound down and my calendar pages filled like a flash flood rushing toward June 2009 with the rising waters leaving me roughly sixteen days of free time.

Beyond the dramatic absence of negotiable time, I was incredibly naive in my initial thoughts about ESL tutoring. I tutored a woman named Lidya for two years, but the situation was very different from my commitment with Tabesha. In the case of this new volunteer gig, I think I somehow pictured pre-fab lesson books lining shelf after shelf at the public library. While I have checked out no less than 59 resources from said library, I realized about week two of this adventure that none are going to give me pre-fab lessons perfectly applicable to Tabesha. Working in instructional design means that I'm more than capable of creating lessons from scratch, but again, ibid on the dramatic absence of free time.

I know, I know. You have every right to offer me a sharply aged cheese to go with this awful whine, but I did create this posting space for me to work through both the joys and the challenges that I knew would come. I'm at the point now where I look ahead to the end of my six-month mandatory commitment and think, "Should I take it as far as I've promised to and then move on? No shame in that." Then I wonder if I'll hit my stride, my runner's high, so to speak. If I bail after only six months, will I regret it? The other piece of this equation is that I care a lot about Tabesha, have come to love her family, her children, the time we spend together.

Together we wrote a story about her favorite photo, a beautiful action shot of her daughter's first steps. When I see that ridiculously yummy face and remember the pride Tabesha felt when she wrote a seven-sentence story about it in perfect English...I think...how can you not stick with this?

T. Boone Pickens saves the day

Monday Madeleine