Thursday, January 8, 2009


I had to decouple the permaculture/transition town stuff from this blogger account since the permaculture stuff is meant to be public and this blog is meant to be more anonymous. Anonymous because, otherwise, I would not be able to tell you my sordid and tortuous tutoring tales (to follow). I'll give a link to the new permaculture blog once it is up and running. Not that anyone was reading it, but just in case you are suddenly inspired to save the earth along with me, you'll have it.

So, tutoring. Yeah, you would not think it would be a source of scandal or torture. But it is.

First, the tutoring I do is assigned by the school district. It's not a choice of the child or parents. Meaning they have zero, zilch, nada investment in tutoring. Also meaning, they are often no shows or lack interest in anything other than making sure I know how much they hate me and the tutoring I rode into town on.

Two hours alone with a cranky teenager. Oh, I am so living the part-time job dream.

Further, the tutoring demographic I am encountering runs true to stereotype. Broken homes. Welfare parents with big screen plasma televisions and better cars than what I drive. Tricked out state-of-the-art gaming systems, never mind junior and princess can't read the user manual.

Oh, and guns.

Now, I am not a shrinking violet and I've spent my share of time in inner city environments. In fact, I have been attacked, followed, avoided gangs, avoided drugs, directed addicts to the current location of their dealer,and watched the po-po fish murder weapons out of my backyard. It's not like this is news to me, but it's been a while, so I'm surprisable.

Last night I tutored one of my more likeable students (i.e. they show up and have a decent demeanor). Turns out the other day, a gang came through and shot their pet because they couldn't get to another member of the house. The pet is massive and survived, at least judging from the cacophonic snoring I heard while I was there (although no one took it to a vet, just fished the bullet out with a dinner fork, or so they told me).

I don't know. The whole thing took me aback. I haven't been ghetto fabulous in eons, I'm more like a dorky yuppie these days. A soft, easy target. Not what you want to be. Not what I thought I was going for either in signing up for this tutoring gig.

I've tutored before. Mostly for wealthy families with learning disabled kids. Talk about motivated. Those people value education, and their kids come to the table ready to learn. That's what I'm used to, hungry minds. Not this apathy punctuated by bullets.

The job pays well, but the working conditions could use a lot of improvement.


Jenners said...

Wow. This sounds really scary and depressing. No wonder it pays well ... no one wants to do it. Given that you have a child, I don't know if I would want to continue on in such conditions -- especially if it seems like you won't really be able to make a difference because they don't really want to be there in the first place. Yikes. Makes me appreciate my life so much more. I admire you for doing this but it sounds a bit precarious.

And thanks for the info re: strike-throughs.

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