It started with a mother from school. Her daughter needed tutoring in her English class. The girl and I meet once a week now, and discuss nouns, verbs, and prepositions. And we also talk about pets, her little brother, and how wonderful it is to sleep in.
You see, the girl is thirteen. I taught middle school for many years, and the awkward grace of adolescence never fails to slay me. The desire to be heard, yet invisible. The daily betrayal of shifting emotions, and raging hormones. So much confusion. They seek connection, listening ears, and attention.
And I get to provide a bit of that. All while practicing my Spanish, sharing my own language, and laughing a lot in between.
And then, yesterday, a woman approached me at the swimming pool. As I was helping my son change back into his street clothes, she asked me if I was willing to assist her niece with conversational English.
I’m not sure if it was the authority in which I told my son to put his pants on, or the gossipy grapevine of our small town, but she inferred that I was a teacher, and obviously, an English speaker.
So, now, I’m helping this girl too.
Completely unprompted, two people have reached out to me. I’m making a small fee, keeping my professional side sharp, and falling into teaching once more.
I recognize that I am not going to serve the majority of the people in town. My Spanish is too raw to explain anything in detail, and people who work with me need a certain understanding of English to find success. But I’ve got that natural accent, and I’m bringing my years as an educator to the table.
I guess sometimes you find work, and sometimes, it calls your name.