Summer Tutoring openings!! I am accepting new students for summer support and/or enrichment. Entering 1st-8th grades: all subjects! Entering 9th-12th grades: study skills, writing, English, 1st and 2nd year Russian, History (get a jump on the APUSH or APWH!), Geography. Twin Cities Metro Area or via zoom!
Just a quick note to day that I got to have a Conjuring Hope call with the amazing Mandy Steward today and it was SO GOOD. She brought clarity and illumination to some stuff that's been itching my brain for years. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY ME!!
The easy answer is, because I was a teacher, and it's what I know how to do.
Tutoring, or academic coaching, or educational support, is a good fit for me. I love working with students. I love to teach. I do not love managing a classroom full of people with wildly differing needs and learning styles -- maybe for 10 or 12 people, but not for 25. Or even 17.
What I love most about it, is watching kids get it. I love watching their eyes light up when something that seemed impossible makes sense. I love being there when a kid confidently and truthfully says, "Oh! This is actually easy!" as if they haven't spent the past hour or week or year struggling with it.
Tutoring allows me time to really see a kid grow.
Being a tutor is a chance, too, to be a direct support to families. One of my favorite parts of teaching, was when I could get together with the other adults in the child's life, the really important ones, parents or guardians or whoever was caring for them, and we could make a plan to help a child thrive.
I also love the flexibility tutoring has given me as a homeschooling parent. I can set my own hours. I can decide when I'm taking time off. I decide how available I can be. This has allowed me to be here for my son as he has grown over the past three and a half years. Tutoring continued and grew during the pandemic. Tutoring was work I could do from home, and the outside, and then in homes again.
I love building lasting relationships with families, and seeing their kids year after year as they become more and more themselves.
Tutoring is an extension of the work I've done for years as a teacher, storyteller, and coach. If you're looking for someone to work with your student to bring about more confidence in their own capacities and capabilities, let me know!
What if I thought I was enough?
What if I accepted that who I am, is who I've always been?
What if I can look to who I've been to see who I want to be?
What if the work, is to get rid of what stands in the way of my being myself?
I'm not creating as much as I plan to YET, but there is more coming! Want to support the creation of my next course, my next storytelling offering, my next coaching package? Then all you have to do is click the button below, and buy me a coffee.
When I started this blog ten years ago, I had no idea what I was going to do. I had just lost my teaching job the month before, and I wanted to be a storyteller. More than that, though, I wanted to survive. I wanted to survive as a mother, as a creative person, and as a human. The job I'd lost was our main income source. It was my sole professional identity. It was my community and my calling, I thought. And it was gone.
Within the next two years, I'd also lose my mother. We'd lose a business. We'd deal with vehicle accidents and illnesses, acute and chronic.
There would be so much stress, and pain, and grief.
I would also win a year-long fellowship to assist with my storytelling. I would get a contract to create a storytelling-based curriculum for an intergenerational childcare. We would start homeschooling our child, and I would move from classroom teaching and substituting, to working in a Waldorf-inspired preschool program and tutoring students from age 6 to age 20.
There would be so much growth, and joy, and beauty.
So, what if I didn't question it? What if I stopped expecting my life to look differently than it does. There are so many expectations -- I'm 46, so I should have this much in savings, this much status in my career, this much clout, this much... It's so quantitative.
I recently read The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Alpert. The stories that run through this book are both like and unalike traditional stories. They are bloody and weird, as many traditional stories are, but they are also wild and unpredictable and without an internal balance and center. They are driven by fear, as are many traditional stories. There were references in the book to so many of my beloved tales, and the re-workings that fed my adolescence. What I came away with, though, is how much I have missed the stories.
I still get to tell stories, sometimes. I tell gentle stories to the little ones in my care. But my telling-out opportunities dried up with the advent of the pandemic, and haven't come back in any strength yet. That's okay. I've been really busy-- haven't we all? -- but I am starting to miss them. The stories.
And I miss knowing my life as a story. I miss finding meaning, and finding hope.
Winter break seems to be when I start to find my way back each year. I hope maybe this time, I can stay a little more connected. A little more in tune with the stories. I hope I can find my way to writing, and thinking, and dreaming a bit more.
And I hope I can just let it be, my life, and look at its shape with a little more distance, and a little more magic. Not questioning so much, "Am I doing it right?" but perhaps, "What next?"
I woke up with my brain itching. I am so ready for this pandemic to be done. I know you are, too. Right now, I am utterly filled with admiration for those of you who have been creating, and making, and finding ways and solutions, and crafting throughout the past TWO WHOLE DINGDANG YEARS. I was already feeling lonely and isolated and confused and weird before the pandemic. I've felt like I have nothing of value to share, and also feeling that as a white, middle-class, highly educated woman, my voice is probably not really needed right now anyway. I have good days, of course, and there are "just getting by, focusing on the tasks at hand" days.
But this morning I woke up feeling like maybe I do have something to give, and something to share. I woke up feeling like maybe it is safe to commit to teaching, and to storytelling, and to all of it. That I am big enough, and strong enough, to do things. And that, my friends, feels like coming out of the forest. Or maybe waking up in the forest after the night of fear to find that I've been guarded by kind beings all night, and that there is beauty and wonder here in the tangled underbrush.
Some things that are helping right now, are books, like Sherry Thomas's Lady Sherlock series, and The Queen of Attolia; amazing online early childhood and play-based learning communities and content at The Wonder League, Kristen Peterson's Camp Renegade Play Summit (only through today -- but these talks are AMAZING).
But maybe I can do something. Maybe it's time to accept the world as it is, right now, and say, "So, this being true, now what?" Maybe I can start small, and still feel safe enough to move forward. Some people will say, "You have to be okay with feeling unsafe," and I disagree. We have to feel safe -- safety is at the base of our ability to move forward -- but we also have to be wise enough to know if our lack of safety is real or perceived. Risk is necessary, and we need to have a basis of safety, or at least a basis of trust, to move forward. Perhaps trust is a better word. I can trust that the earth will continue to hold my feet firmly. I can trust water to be wet and gravity to pull towards the center. Belonging is also necessary; even if it is a community of two, we need acceptance and belonging, a sense of kinship, to keep us rooted.
Where are you finding belonging these days? What feels like safety and trust to you? How can you, with the world as it is, start to move forward?
There's something about having had some time off, over the holidays, that fills me with a sense of possibility. I think that is perhaps partly why so many ambitious resolutions and plans are made at the New Year -- there's been some time to rest, to consider, perhaps some space to breathe, after the frenetic dance we are urged into by the surrounding culture, the dance that makes a quiet, contemplative Advent harder and harder for me to achieve. But by January, some of my exhausted fog has started to life, despite my having had to spend all day December 26 lying on the couch to recover from the stress of it all.
The past two years, ever since the whispers of a terrible new virus started to sound in our ears, have pushed me down into myself. I started off thinking, "oh a few weeks, and we'll be back to regular life. It's a bit of a break -- look, the dolphins are returning to the canals, the birds are singing, and it's spring! This is fine. We can make it. Let's keep one another's spirits up." We chalked hearts and messages of hope on our driveways, put up "Thank you, Healthcare Workers!" signs in our windows, and checked on our neighbors. I offered some online storytelling sessions.
And it kept going.
and it got worse.
And this summer, we had a few weeks of what felt normal -- little league, eating in restaurants, gathering outdoors with friends. Church services at my church moved back indoors.
And then Delta. And now Omicron.
But you know all of this. We all know it. We have all been in it. More and more, though, I can see that it hasn't been the same experience for all of us. I get so confused, because I see crowds of people in bars and restaurants, unmasked, but we are back online for church, and many schools have gone back to distance learning.
And what is hardest, and most upsetting, and depressing, and anxiety-producing for me, is that I feel sure that until we learn to come together and be on the same side, we will continue to lose.
In the face of all of it, though, I feel like I can at least reach out a tentative finger towards writing, even if it's just once in a while. Just to poke a finger at the thread that connects my little paper cup to yours, and set it humming.
how are you?
The pandemic isn't over, but the numbers where I live are looking better. Everyone in my household is vaccinated. My kid is playing baseball and going to in-person day camp. Homeschooling is on a low simmer for the summer. And I am very gradually starting to crawl out of my cave.
There's not going to be a sudden ramping up of posts, probably, or anything else. I have some room for tutoring students, and I'm working 2 days a week at preschool (which in the summer is really more technically extra-awesome Waldorfy daycare). I miss storytelling, but the past year and a half have been really hard for me to get through and still think of myself as an artist, despite what I wrote in the previous post. I miss coaching and leading story-based work, as well, and perhaps that is on its way back.
I'm slowly finding myself again after an intense year of Zoom teaching, to the point where I am not excited about adding any more Zoom work to my schedule. This means re-evaluating some of the work I've done in the past, and looking for new ways to make it better, or else letting go of that model of work, and looking for something different.
I've been reaching beyond Waldorf as a homeschooling basis, towards some other methods and modalities that have much to offer. I'm finding this exciting, humbling, perplexing, and about a dozen other -ings. And perhaps, at the end of August, we will find ourselves back in a Waldorf-centered way of doing things, and perhaps not.
How are you?
I wanted to be an actress.
Or a writer.
And then, I wanted to be a storyteller.
What kept happening, was that I kept being a teacher. And in teaching I forgot about being an artist. This is kind of funny, if you are in the Waldorf education world, as teaching is supposed to be an art form, and art is to be the way we teach, especially in the years between early childhood and high school.
And so, I have let everything and everything get in the way of writing, telling stories, performing, learning, moving, and making art. I've very carefully kept myself away from being an artist because of beliefs I had about being an artist.
Funnily enough, I can say all these things about teaching, too. I'm not good enough, it doesn't make enough money...
I'm trying to be open to telling new stories about myself and holding new beliefs, even for just a few minutes a day. Beliefs like:
It feels scary and vulnerable to say these things. As if I have no right to say them, and also, as if they are so obvious I shouldn't bother.
But I'm doing it anyway.
Are you an artist?
Hi. That's me. I write, sometimes, about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.