Back to Work

The last few days have been a whirlwind.

I started the whole tutoring thing again, giving assessments to determine where the students are and what they need to be working on, driving hither and yon, and I’ve already messed up their schedules as of now. I took on a contract with a new to me tutoring company, one that I was impressed with because they used online scheduling, online assessments that I can download, and require we use digital recorders to record each session, which we then later need to upload over the internet.

As I give the assessments, I realize there are areas that I need to review in order to help teach the subjects. My math skills are not bad, I determine, but merely rusty. Also, while scheduling, the impact of County budget cuts become apparent. This year, County Libraries are closed on Sundays and Mondays, and have limited hours on the days they are open. Oh, and remember, tutors are not allowed to tutor in schools or on school property, because we are contract employees, not school district employees. You know, a liability issue, and despite having to get a mandatory TB test and LiveScan fingerprinting, we are basically not trustworthy. One popular library is actually closed three days a week. As I sat waiting for an appointment at this library, having forgotten it would not be open on the day we had arranged to meet, I watched numerous people drive up and stare in amazement that there was a large CLOSED sign on the front door. Most were coming to return library books, but it was clear many were disappointed to not be able to get more books out.

If I can’t meet at a school, and the libraries are unavailable, where does that leave us to find a relatively distraction-free area to tutor in? Many of the parents I speak with do not believe their own homes are conducive to paying attention to a tutor, so do not offer.

I think it is time for our communities to take up the challenge.

Why am I tutoring? To enable the children whose parents are requesting it to get a leg up and do better in school. Most are behind a grade level or two that I interact with. What does that mean in terms of their overall future employability, or future college prospects? What does their being behind mean in terms of their self esteem and willingness to try challenging things? And here I am running into the problem of not having a place to tutor them. Hello people, this is a problem for the entire community! I think places of business and organizations like Kiwanis and Rotary and Masons and other fraternal organizations should be more than willing to open up their spaces and allow tutoring to take place in their buildings. It’s win-win. The community gets to go behind doors they are not usually allowed access, the students are given distraction-free areas to further their education, and who doesn’t remember when an organization steps in to make a valuable contribution? Don’t you think that good will could spill over in the future in ways unpredictable?

So open your doors, your conference rooms, and allow tutoring to take place inside your walls, local organizations and businesses, and know that you are actively contributing to your community. I’m looking for places in the Gateway-Harbor neighborhood, and downtown Carson. Drop me a line if you know of something.

And in the midst of all this, since this year I will be commuting in my car to these appointments, I am being a good contract employee, and keeping track of my gas and mileage so I can deduct them on my taxes. I am purchasing paper, ink cartridges and organizational supplies to keep all my separate contracts, well, separate. These too are receipts worth saving. That new library card I had to get to utilize a County library rather than the City libraries I usually use, that was a business expense to replace it. The cost of every single copy I make at the different libraries because I couldn’t download off the website before I left for my day’s appointments, yes those receipts I keep too. Fortunately for me, the commute is always the opposite direction of traffic. I’m heading away from downtown when others are flocking to it. I’m heading towards the inland from the beach cities, but still get a nice beach breeze.

So tutoring, shopping, getting familiar with new technology, paperwork and emailing follow up assessments, phone calls to the parents… these have been my last few days. At eleven students and counting, I have very full days.

But all this money going out, means money will soon be coming in. I am catching up on my bills, life is good.

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