icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Quote from one of my former students currently going through finals:

"Right now I have all the stability of a goldfish given the One Ring."
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
There are days when my students make great progress, or even if not, they're doing their best.

Then there are days when they do their work, even if it's not their best work.

Then there are the days when a student or two, one in particular, has made it his apparent goal to avoid any effort and waste my time, his time, and his parents' money. And is pleased with himself when he has done so.

He has a deadly combination of arrogance and laziness, and intelligence misdirected at finding ways of slacking off. He's proud of himself when he does it, too. A lot of good that quality's going to do him.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
New tutoring student sat across the table from me. Getting a late start on SAT prep, but eager, asked a lot of questions.

Met with his father later:

"I need someone to motivate him."

"Uh. He's pretty motivated."

"He's never been motivated. I tried to get him started on this in ninth grade and he just wouldn't do it."

"Wellll, that was then. He asked me a lot of questions and is quite motivated now."

"So do you think you can motivate him? He won't listen to me."

*facepalm*

My boss explains to me that the kid is lazy and needs help with his college essays. "Oh, we got an entire first draft done."

"Really?"

The kid's mother looked pleased and shocked.

Yes, well, our "lazy" student didn't know what to write about ... until we unearthed the successful business he started in early high school repairing PS3s. He fixed his own, his friends', then put out a Craigslist ad to fix more at a hundred bucks a pop. He'd screen the clients, make sure the problem was something he could repair, beat Sony's prices and repair turnarounds but spent so much time on his business, his grades suffered and he didn't have time for fun either. He had to pull the plug but he was raking in a grand a week for a while there.

Um. Think colleges might want to hear about a high schooler's too-successful business?

Yeah. Real lazy kid you got there. A "lazy" kid whose real issue is that he doesn't know who he is. Hmm. Wonder how that happened....
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Okay folks, my buddy Isaac is having a crapola Labor Day.

The boy can dance (the Russky in black, in the middle).

Send him some tunes here!
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
"Yes, but describe the setting in the Lord of the Rings," I ask.

The student gives me a vague recap of the entire setting of Middle Earth, including stuff he shouldn't be able to know from the first two chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring.

"No. I mean in the first chapter. Where do the first scenes take place?" I reel in the net.

He couldn't do it. He couldn't tell me about The Shire, or the party field, or even Bag End. A book that is nothing but rich, detailed description of scenery, he could describe nothing.

With a nervous laugh, he admitted to reading SparkNotes.

His SAT reading scores, of course, were crap.

After three years of SAT tutoring, I've learned to expect this. When I see a low reading score combined with a startlingly low vocabulary score (about 43-53% on the vocab sentence completions is very common) I know I have a student who's short circuited his or her education with SparkNotes.

Some have never read a single book assigned to them.

SparkNotes dumbs the vocabulary down and explains the plot, setting, theme in simple terms. No complex sentences, nothing tough. As a result, these student can't handle college level reading. They don't do well on the SAT and get exactly the score they earned.

At my school, if you were caught using SparkNotes, you got an instant F.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Working on college apps today, one of my students talked about running a race. She used the phrase "my body bouncing."

I winced. "Well, if the person reading your app is male ... I'm not sure you want that visual. I mean, I don't know how that'll go. It could be good."

The other girl made a check mark in the air and says, deadpan, "Accepted."

We laughed.

"Yeeeaah, I don't think you want to go there."

LOL!
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Time for the freekibblekat.com quiz. It's cute.

Then, a little practice, and off to work.

Up at 4am ... don't know what to do with myself. The leftover cough from the laryngitis won't go away and sleep schedule is, as usual, whacked.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Friday weather report: Sitting in my little flat, the rain has tapered off. Tornado warnings didn't phase the kitty boys who purred next to me, their eyes half-lidded.

I have things arranged so that I look at the tidiest, most well-decorated corner of the room. A brass music stand. A prim table with lace tablecloth I crocheted myself holding a glass vase with pampas grass plumes. Very pretty. I can ignore the half-finished projects scattered around the rest of the room.

Kiddie report: I had one student make tremendous progress this week. So proud of him. Last Saturday, after a year of public school World History classes, he couldn't even tell me about the river valley civilizations. By last night, he could recap all of world history. Was it enough to pass the test?

His parents want a guarantee. My boss wants a guarantee. He has the general picture, yes. But it's a tough test. Does he know enough detail? I can only say that he's done well, but a week isn't much time to learn the entire history of the world. My boss doesn't like that answer. :/ She's afraid his unrealistic parents (who don't seem to understand he's not in a good school district) will yell at her if they don't get their good score. What he needed most was time management, which was something they can help him with.

And now, fandom report: Ta-da!

I'm pleased to announce that Colls has posted her podfic of...

Title: Collisions podfic! (story here)
Fandom: SGA/SPN crossover
Pairing: Gen, with obligatory slashiness
Rating: PG-13
A/N: Did you know it takes 12,000 words to make a 1,000 word ficlet make sense to two fandoms? Thank you to Rabidfan, Skinscript, Amalthia, Mecurtin, and Wordwitch, who put it through the wringer until it worked for both SGA and SPN fans. Written for the Help Haiti fundraiser and soooooo late. Story sponsored by Somnolentblue who made a donation in exchange for said "ficlet."
Summary: The engine gunned and they caught up, moving alongside the red car long enough for Sam to catch a glimpse of a guy in a bomber jacket and Aviator glasses, his generous mouth in a hard line – until the guy smirked, and cut Dean off at the next turn.

Also, I've posted a new SGA ficlet:

Title: The Scientific Method
Fandom: SGA
Pairing: Rodney/Radek
Rating: PG-13
A/N: Thank you to Rabidfan, IvoryGates, and Sian for the beta help. By way of explanation. I missed the SGA Smooch deadline, and I'm too impatient to wait for a whole week to post. I've starved you guys long enough.
Summary: "Don't do the clock! I hate it when you do the clock!"
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Ah, Wednesday, it must be Paris. Or in this case, my "crush" session.

I've two teenage boys I'm tutoring, one in 10th grade, the other in 11th. Both of them have hopeless crushes.

No, not on each other, you slashers.

Today, I even got the batted eyelashes and a sloe-eyed look over the edge of a book. LOL!

Would I resort to using this to make them write more essays? Heck yeah!
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
I have a student who has a shot at the merit scholarship, though I'm not quite sure he made it. (Darn, those PSAT scores take a long time.)

Anyway, this student (who shall henceforth be known as Mr. Wit), out of blue mentions:

"Have you ever noticed that all the side effects of cold medicines are cold symptoms?" He added, "And the side effects of antidepressants are symptoms of depression."

He gave me a dry, wry smile.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Yesterday:

Me: "I thought you were held back a year because of your English." (He's supposed to be in 12th grade.)
KoreanTranslator!Kid: "No. I spoke with the counselor. They didn't know why I was held back."
Me: "You should find out. You wouldn't want to be held back because of a typo."
KoreanTranslator!Kid: *laughs and laughs*

KoreanTranlator!Kid may live in this country, but he's not absorbing English. I think it's because he mostly uses Korean with friends, family, entertainment -- pretty much everything and everyone except school. Even at school, all his friends are Korean. I note he's the one that answers in Korean when they speak to him in English.

He's supposed to be in 12th grade, but he was held back this year. He's prepping for another crack at the SAT, but his reading scores are dismal. He works so hard just getting through his schoolwork, he can do little else. He can't do an English immersion because he's the translator for the relatives he lives with (who speak very little English).

ESL-wise, I don't think his method of looking up each and every individual word is the way to go. Shouldn't we be focusing on structures? But he does seem to have basic grammar down. Hmmm....

Really though, there's a marked difference in maturity between him and the 11th graders. He's looking at maybe graduating at the end of this year and doing some community college and transferring to university. That may be the way to go. Montgomery College is a good school.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
It's supposed tomorrow. Not flurries, like might see in Michigan around, say, November 15th. But total, all-out, full-blown, three to five inches of snow.

In October.

And I work tomorrow. With all the kids' college applications essays due November 1. Or maybe not, if the snow's bad enough.

Have a vignette from work:

I was in a session with a 12th grader who whinged, "Can't I read something easier?" when I assigned him Frankenstein.

"Sure!" I said.

I got up, marched across the room and fetched him Dr. Seuss.

"Yeah!" he said, and started reading it aloud. "Left foot, right foot...."

Foiled!

"Noooo!" I said. "I was kidddddinnnnng!" But he held onto the book and kept reading. Laughing, I managed to pull the book out of his hands.

And he still has to read Frankenstein. (Okay, I might relent and let him read The Three Musketeers instead.)

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