May. 9th, 2017

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I continue in this mood that’s not exactly bad but is definitely combative. I’m keeping a lid on it: There’s no real utility in lashing out. Reaction formation is your friend! But it would deeply please me to be rude and incorrigible. So, I’m isolating a bit more than usual.

I did have one totally wonderful moment yesterday.

I put the fear of God into Imaane when I read her the riot act recently. She’d shown up 20 minutes late to three tutoring sessions in a row, so I sat her down and said, “Look. Stuff happens. I know that. And if that stuff makes you late, and you text me you’re gonna be late, I’ll understand. But if you’re consistently late, that’s a pattern. That means you’re not committed to the work we’re doing together. And I’m going to stop being your tutor.”

“I am sorry, Beautiful Teacher!” Imaane cried, deeply penitent. “I will not do it again!”

“Okay! And ‘consistently’ ends in ‘ly,’ so it’s what kind of a word?”

“It is adverb!”

Since then, Imaane has actually been showing up early to our tutoring sessions – which consist of reviewing the homework assignments I’ve given her, reading Little Women aloud for an hour and then reading the DMV’s Driver Manual in English for 30 minutes. (Imaane wants to get a New York State license!)

Meg longed to walk in the conservatory, Imaane read and frowned.

“’Conservatory’ is kind of a room with lots of plants,” I said helpfully.

“No. Long,” said Imaane.

“Well, the word means two things,” I said. “Long.” – I spread my hands out to denote length. “That’s an adjective. But when it’s a verb, it means to want something very, very much.” I spread out my hands again in exactly the same gesture.

Imaane’s eyes lit up.

“So in a way, the two meanings are connected –“

“Yes!” Imaane cried.

She’d gotten the figurative function of the English language!

And from that moment on, she was eager to apply it.

My Annie Sullivan moment.

“Relate” means “telling a story,” but that meaning almost implies its other definition “to form a connection between two things.” “Foretell” is almost a literal transliteration of the Latinesque word “predict.” (Imaane knows a bit about Latin because she speaks fluent French.)

I could see Imaane falling in love with the English language!

And that was a pretty sight.


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