Friday, December 12, 2008

Tutoring Ms. K.

I'm having the most fun tutoring a friend online and via the telephone. Right now lessons in Word Pad are in progress. Granted, this is not Microsoft Office Word, but just the little word processing program that came with her shiny brand new computer. This is her first computer so everything is new to her. K's world is expanding without ever leaving home.

Today's lesson was to open Word Pad and play with all the icons on the screen to see what they would do. The best thing is hearing her amazement at what can be done using those icons! This afternoon we will open a document, name it and save it. She has one document she started and she keeps adding to it. Today we will start a new one.

The one thing I miss is being able to see her face as I tell her something. I use to tutor A&P, Chem and Algebra in college. I could watch their faces as I was explaining something to them I could see it in their eyes and on their faces when "they got it". A light would pop up in their eyes or a gasp when they "saw it". If I didn't see any sign I would change the way I was delivering the information to them. All of the students I tutored elevated their grades up one level and made me feel my time wasn't wasted nor theirs.

Sometimes we explore the web together. Email is another learning experience for her. I've sent her videos in email, pictures and attachments also. If you've had a computer for a while, you may not remember how it was when you flipped that switch to the on position for the first time. I remember that overwhelmed feeling all too well.

The most difficult thing for me was not having hard copy. I wanted to feel the paper being fed into the machine I was typing on. I want to handle the finished product. Now I know printing it out would have allowed me to do that but I still felt abandoned by paper at first.

Thankfully right now she doesn't have a clue at to how much she has to learn. I won't even mention "cut and paste" to her. I don't want her to be discouraged. We take it very slowly. She isn't in a hurry and neither am I. A step a day. That's all it takes.

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