Student Resources

A lot of the time we think of ourselves as resources for our students. Them being a resource for us is something that doesn’t necessarily occur to us.

I am in need of some long skirts. In August I will be traveling to Tanzania with some people from my church. In that culture, women wear long skirts. So, it is important for me to have some long skirts – and it will be cooler than pants in a hot climate. I’ve been looking in my regular retail shops for long skirts, but I haven’t found anything that I like.

A few weeks ago I had an idea. The Somali and Muslim girls wear these beautiful skirts every day. Can you see the light bulb turning on in my head? During the lunch time I caught one of them that I had had in class and asked her where I could get skirts like they all wear. She told me the names of some shops. I must have had a confused look on my face so she said that she’d write them down and give me the information that way. Lo and behold, a few days later, she found me and gave me the piece of paper. It has the info for 3 stores and she said that the first one might be tricky because I may need someone that speaks Somali with me.

The answers to some of your questions may be closer than you think. It’s just a matter of asking a few questions. And guess what? They appreciate being asked!



In the last week I’ve had the opportunity to tutor a 7th grader in Algebra.  Math wasn’t challenging enough for her in 6th grade so her teacher and her parents had her skip Pre-Algebra and go to Algebra 1.  Her parents are friends of mine and asked if I’d help Jane.

In the past, whenever I’ve been asked to tutor I’ve avoided it.  Why?  Partly I’ve avoided it because I feel like people sometimes ask you to tutor their kid and don’t expect to pay you for it, or give you some token amount that is nowhere near what it’s worth.  This time it was different.   Jane’s dad just installed a gas line at my house for my new dryer.  I had a trade-able service.

Jane is a 7th grader in a suburban school and is doing some of the same stuff that my high school students are doing.  She is conscientious and shows all of her work and makes corrections when she’s done something wrong.  She can add, subtract, multiply and divide integers.  She’s organized and knows how to look up her textbook online.  In fact, they’ve already collected her textbook for the year so she has to access it online.  From our few hours together, I figured out that she knows what she’s doing, but since this is her first time through it, she probably takes longer than her peers.  She has about another week left of school and I hope our tutoring sessions have helped.

I was rather surprised about my tutoring experience.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was so interesting to see what Jane was doing in comparison to my city kids.  I’d love to have a classroom full of students like Jane.  It did make me wonder what it would be like to teach in the ‘burbs.  But wondering about it is probably as far as I will get with that idea…

Now I have another dilemma.  What do I charge for my services?  Jane’s dad gave me the bill for installing my dryer and I’m supposed to subtract off what I would charge for tutoring.  I tutored Jane for two and a half hours and I had travel time of about an hour for both times.  Any suggestions?

A New Solution

As a single female, there are a few times when I curse the fact that I live alone and there isn’t some man around.  This commonly happens when I have to open up a jar of something and it’s too tight.  I have bought various contraptions to help solve this problem.  Some of them work, some don’t.  Many times, I end up doing the hot water trick to try to loosen a metal lid on a glass jar.  There is a thing that is about the size of an electric can opener that does the job, but I refuse to go there.

This weekend there was something that was just sitting on my counter that I had never thought to use before.  It worked perfectly.  It worked better than any of my previous contraptions.  What was this magic piece of equipment, you ask?

My golf glove.

Sunday Afternoon


The end of the school year is always extremely busy. Today I was able to forget a little about my crazy life and do some planting. I’m mainly planting herbs. I have to have a few flowers for fun.

I’m sorry I haven’t been as regular with the blog entries. Believe me, I’ve been thinking about what to write about. Maybe I’ll get it together soon…


For two months this year I’ve been taking classes.  During the months of February and April, I’ve been busy every Monday night.  Tomorrow, I don’t have class.  I’m kind of bummed.  It was a great way to start the week.  The classes I’ve been taking are about wine.  In February I took, “The Geography of Wine.”  In April, I took “Wines of the Iberian Peninsula.”

The classes have been through the local University and I’ve taken them with friends.  I’ve taken some wine classes before, but they’ve been just singletons here and there.  This has been different.  It’s a whole new way of enjoying wine.

Our homework has usually been to find a bottle of wine, look up where it was made and find out about the area while drinking it.  I’ll admit that I’ve been taking my homework to heart.  You should try it sometime.  Go to a local wine shop.  Try one that isn’t a big company.  Don’t be afraid to ask the people working there.  They are your best resource.  They’ve already been a filter for what is available at their shop.  Get a bottle of wine.  Go to and find some pictures of the area where your wine is from.  Look at the lovely origins of your wine and enjoy.  Doesn’t that sound like nice homework?

I don’t have wine class tomorrow.  Last week we learned about Port.  The week before was about Sherry.  We’ve tasted wines from Rueda and the Duero and the Rioja region.  It makes me want to go to Spain and Portugal.

I love taking classes.  I can hardly wait until the next opportunity for another.  I think I’d be happy if I could take classes forever.  If only my students had the same love for learning that I have…


I had an odd question asked of me this week.

Student: Have you had botox?

Me:  (confused look) No.  Why?

Student:  You’re like… older… but you don’t have wrinkles.

The other students were giving him crap because they thought it was rude that he was asking such a question.  So he had to explain to him that it was really a compliment.

Hey…  It kind of made my day.  And this is coming from a student who I don’t think particularly cares for my class (or me for that matter).