Bryanne and I have become English tutors!
Twice a week, two little bundles of energy rush through our door and plop down on our rug with their pencils and small notebooks. Their mother does not enter; we exchange smiles and waves, but cannot converse further as she does not herself know any English.
The oldest, who is seven, can already speak and understand enough English to communicate. His five year old brother knows substantially less, but is excellent at copying his older brother. I have been told by Bry on numerous occations that they have adorable eyelashes and curly hair.
They can both speak Italian and Arabic already. That’s right, I’m more than three times their age, but speak half the languages they do. It is difficult for me not to switch roles and pick these kids’ brains for information about their own languages.
Our clients’ attention spans are very short, but we are slowly learning how to motivate them. The older boy squirms in his seat, but is anxious to impress us. The younger shys away from speaking, but will jump at the chance to compete with his sibling. And they both really really really really want to pet Cameo, our kitten. She spends these sessions at a safe distance or behind the refrigerator.
Our tutoring job is fast becoming a great escape from our own educations and boost to our collective self-esteem. Also, it’s a cultural experience to boot!