Thursday, January 27, 2011


Is there anything more exasperating than an inconsistent blogger? Possibly not. Sorry.

Here I sit, on a late winter afternoon, having a snack of toast between writing a survey for Mercy Corps and writing lesson plans for my four new students. My internship at Mercy Corps provides a sense of accomplishment each week, and I only resent having to get up at 5.30 for it at 10 pm, when I know I should go to bed but would rather stay up another three hours, and 5.25, when my first alarm goes off and I wish I had gone to bed at 10. I'm working with the intern recruiting team, coming up with better ways to gather, store and present information. The projects are bite-sized. No 300 page documents to manage here, which means I end each week feeling like I finished things. And while itty bitty projects might get frustrating if that's what I did for a full time job, it's perfect for how disjointed my weeks are right now.

Tutoring has been going fine. Once I settled into a routine with the kids and with my lesson plans, I was enjoying it. Monday was the last day of tutoring for my group of 3, however, and they are doing post assessments with other teachers now. I picked up a group of four new students yesterday--all different grade levels, three for math and one for reading. I'll only have them for a few weeks before I administer their post-assessments. My two off-site students will be done toward the end of the month. I really don't enjoy the upheaval and changing routine. It takes me longer to plan and leaves me feeling a little bit disorganized as I try to quickly assess how much can be accomplished in each new situation.

Juan is sounding out words like a champ, however, and I usually leave his house feeling at peace with the tutoring process. Shortly after my last post about him, we had a not-so-good session in which he cried and said reading was hard, and I felt terrible for not realizing pre-tears that he was feeling pushed. He was also sick that day, and in retrospect, that seems to have been the main problem. The very next day, I went with some dread that we'd have another difficult session. But instead, he was animated and engaged, and by the time I pulled out his little red book (the one that had pushed him over the edge 24 hours earlier) he said, "I LOVE reading!" and soon after that he was standing on his kitchen chair, arms in the air, doing a victory dance over what an accomplished reader he is. I think this change in tune might have had something to do with the two very sweet little girls who were visiting that night. One way or the other, he's reading quite well with very little help, and we're both pleased. We have a lot of fun too. He's come around from his original "no games" stance, and when I read to him, he says, "oh, do the voice, do the voice!" and then giggles every time when I read in my goofy man-impression voice. (don't ask me to do it for you; I only do it for cute 5 year olds). Monday he asked if I thought maybe I could come over sometime and we could play with his toys. Tuesday he assured me (without consulting his parents) that I would be welcome to join his family and their guests for pizza if I wanted to do that instead of going home. :) So I guess we're friends. Also, the little girls are there at least once a week, and one has taken to sitting in my lap and participating for the whole tutoring time, even though she doesn't understand English (but I think she's starting to know colors). She enjoys the books and writing, and when we play a game, she's on my team. It works out fine.

I had an interview for Intel almost two weeks ago, and was supposed to have another one this week. It's been postponed indefinitely due to changes in their hiring priorities, but the manager said that as soon as he knows that they're still hiring for this position we will reschedule. He won't know for at least another two weeks. Last week I also submitted an application for a PhD position in Basel. Those are the most promising two long-term jobs I'm following at the moment.


  1. I have a cute five-year-old. Would you do it for him? And, can we listen in?
    Aunt Cathy

  2. If your cute five year old asked for the moon, I'd try to go get it for him.