I Know That I Shouldn’t Blog While Angry, But

by Marinka on April 28, 2011

I already counted as high as I possibly could. I even used a calculator to get a higher number.

But I’m still annoyed.

And before I talk myself out of being annoyed, I wanted to put it out to those nearest and dearest to me. On the internet.

So.

I’ve mentioned before that Young Ladrinka, my 9 year old son has some reading issues. I mean, he knows how to read, but he’s not great at retaining what he reads, figuring out what’s important in the book and filling in the gaps that the author leaves to the reader’s imagination.

This struggle has been going on for a few years and I’ve had a myriad of reactions, starting with, reading with him, reading to him, reading alongside him, discussing what we read together, banning use of the Wii and the DS and TV and possibly oxygen, and ending with a Homer-Bart desire to strangle.

If you’re going through this with your child right now, let me just give you a heads up that screaming READ, DAMN IT, I BEG OF YOU! also doesn’t work. Go figure.

Finally, the school recommended a reading tutor and I was sort of relieve because I’m always looking for new and creative ways to spend money that I don’t have.

But I was resigned to it, and then the school dropped the other shoe. No reading tutors were available because it was the middle of the school year and on Illiterate Manhattan Island a good reading tutor goes faster than something else that goes very fast in a booming economy.

We were on a waiting list. For a reading tutor.

All of this was supremely irritating to me, but I took it as a sign that God wants me to buy new shoes with the money. And maybe get some Botox. But before I could complete those purchases in fulfillment of the prophesy, I got the good news that a tutor had become available.

This was a happy day indeed. We rejoiced at our good fortune, booked an appointment and refinanced the apartment. Because, and I’m sorry if I’d been too subtle about this point, but the tutoring, it’s expensive. (Really. Give the READ, DAMN IT, I BEG YOU another shot. Maybe I gave up too soon.)

As Young Ladrinka and I walk over to the tutoring session this afternoon, I explain to him that this is a time to work, to study, and not to make small talk and make jokes. And he tells me that he’ll only make a few jokes, not too much and that most of the time will be devoted to bettering himself in the reading arts.

We meet the tutor and the two of them disappeare to remold Young Ladrinka into The Reader of the Century. I sit back with a copy of US Weekly and relax, reading about how Ethan Hawke’s new wife is pregnant with their second child. I send a lighthearted tweet out about how horrible it must be to have been married to Uma Thurman and now be married to someone who is most definitely not Uma Thurman. I am happy because I am helping Young Ladrinka.

And also because I am reading US Weekly.

After some time, Young Ladrinka and his tutor re-appear. They are smiling and talking and I can see that the session was a great hit.

“How did it go?” I ask, expecting to be lavished with praise on my excellent parenting skills to say nothing of my flawless skin.

“Really well,” she tells me, accepting the check written with my blood and tears. “We didn’t really do that much reading today, we were just chatting and getting to know each other.”

This is where the soothing music in my head stops playing and I start rummaging in my purse for Jason’s Friday the 13th mask.

“You didn’t read?” I ask, all fake smiley.

“We read a chapter, but we were establishing a rapport,” she explains. Totally failing to establish a rapport with me.

Also, for anyone out there, this is how you establish a rapport with a 9 year old boy:

Do you like Pokemon and pizza? Me, too!

When I finally came to, I managed to explain that I’d appreciate if they concentrated more on reading and less on building their relationship. She agreed, but I could tell that I had the wrong reaction. Like I was supposed to applaud this rapport building, encourage further rapport building with some bridge building thrown in for good measure.

So tell me, is it me? Is it I? Is it too much to ask that a reading tutor focus on reading? Because maybe there’s a way to build rapport while reading, no? Look at the rapport I’ve achieved through US Weekly!

I am trying to be open minded. Because this tutor came highly recommended and a 45 minute session is not too much to sacrifice if she will be able to help Young Ladrinka in the long run.

What do you think?

I can take it.

One year ago ...

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Bejewell April 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Wait a minute — Ethan Hawke is married to someone OTHER than Uma Thurman?

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 8:59 am

Yes! He was a huge cheater pants with their nanny! And now he’s married to the nanny! Maybe he should have married the tutor instead.

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Jana@AnAttitudeAdjustment
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

But I totally loved him in Before Sunset. Do you think maybe some of the things he said in that movie were taken from his real life relationship with Uma? Hmm. (Not that I’m defending cheating. Just the romantic character Jesse who really needs to get with Julie Delpy’s character Celine.)

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Tracy April 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Uhhh, as a teacher, and someone who really loves elementary-age kids: i can establish a “good rapport” with a student in like, 3 minutes. Like you said, the conversation goes, “Ohh, what’s your favorite DS game? AWESOME! Here, let’s look at this book/magazine/article about video games (or soccer, Pokemon, wrestling, etc.) and try to read it TOGETHER!”. Done.

I’d be pissed. Unless she was assessing him, somehow, but she would have told you. I may have even said something snarky like, “Oh, so was this a meet and greet and we start paying next week?”. Lame. As if we’re not broke enough trying to raise kids in this city…

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peajaye
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm

ditto and brava.

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

That was absolutely my initial reaction as well. However now I feel like I’ve “invested” in this tutor. Assuming that she doesn’t go through a “rapport maintenance” cycle, it should all be reading from here, right?

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K-Line April 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I think that rapport establishment is really important. I think you should give it a chance. If she’s still rapport building in 3 sessions, that’s another thing. But they need to develop trust.

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 9:02 am

Thanks. I think they should be good for rapport. Young Ladrinka told me that he told her all about our pets, dead and living. So I figure as long as there are no additions or subtractions of animals in our lives, we’re all set.

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Tam
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

If you want establish a rapport with my kid, great. Take her out for ice-cream on your own time, and refund my mortgage payment for that session.

If it’s a tutoring session – you tutor, I pay you. The end.

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 9:03 am

That makes so much sense to me. Except I want to be invited for ice cream also.

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anna see April 28, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Ha! I think maybe using about 10 min to build rapport is fine. More than that? Hmmmm….

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 9:03 am

Now I’m worried that I’ve never built rapport with anyone in my life.

Great.

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Maggie May April 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

hahahahahaa

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Becky Rice
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm

As stunned as I am about Ethan/Uma, I’ll stick to the question at hand. And I’m TOTALLY voting with NearlyNQ here.

If I had been in this situation, I’m not sure I would have been able to handle it as graciously as you. Especially given the Ethan/Uma news.

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 9:04 am

To be fair, I knew about the Ethan/Uma news for years. I’m a little worried about your sources of gossip. I think you should concentrate more on reading US Weekly and less on other nonsense, like “time with family.”

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amanda April 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I think the rapport session could be actually very important, especially if the young Lad’s reading issues are very unique to him… hopefully the tutor is getting to know him in order to best help him specifically, by figuring out more about him and how he learns and thinks.

Just me?

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Noelle April 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I kinda feel that way, too, since it was the first session. After that? Just read!

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 9:08 am

That’s a great point. And obviously *my* methods haven’t worked, so there’s a value in deferring to her. But the whole “rapport building” is just so foreign to me. Also “rapport” is a weird word.

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KG April 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm

That’s some big fat bullshit right there. It shouldn’t take an entire session to establish a rapport.

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 9:08 am

To be fair, they did read a chapter.

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Neil
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Give the tutor a second chance.

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I will. Based on your guidance.

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Pearl April 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I think that if he likes her and she knows what she’s doing that he may take to reading just to please her.

Which, at nine, is as good a reason as any.

๐Ÿ™‚

Pearl

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I like that idea. But I think he doesn’t take to reading because he’s struggling with it.

Obviously if she can help him, it’ll all be worth it.

Why don’t I have a crystal ball, why?

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Gray Matter Matters April 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I relate completely as someone who has employed an alphabet of therapists (OT, PT, ABC, WTF), but I truly think she did the right thing. I know it’s maddening feeling like you spend howthefrickmuch money on a “getting to know you” session, but in my experience he’ll do a lot more for her if he feels comfortable than if he feels like he’s entering a stranger’s office for 45 minutes a week.
It would have been weird for her to not establish a relationship. I think you were smart to make your wishes clear, but I honestly think it’d be a good idea to touch base with her (when you’re more calm) and establish a good rapport with her yourself so that you see her as your teammate, not the woman who’s slowly robbing you blind while you’re kid talks about his favorite music. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I really appreciate your comment. Because I suspected strongly that there was another side to this and it makes so much sense to me in the way that you’ve laid it out.

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hokgardner
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I’d expect 10 minute of rapport building and 35 of reading. And the next session should be “Hi. How was your week? Let’s read.” If rapport building goes on beyond that, I’d be raising a ruckus.

And if you get lots and lots of migraines like I do, insurance will pay for Botox. Bonus!

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Noelle April 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

What?! Insurance pays for Botox for migraines?! OMG best news EVER!

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm

What are you saying?! I need BOTOX?

(Of course I need Botox. But I can’t afford it.)

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Yuliya
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 9:08 pm

The amount of rapport-building/fuzzy feelings generating should be inversely proportional to the hotness of the tutor (ie the hotter the tutor the less time spent on “rapport building”)

(Give the tutor another chance, when they are all business about the subject it doesn’t really inspire a student to their best work)

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm

This seems like way too much math. And maybe physics.

I’m more of sock puppet kind of gal.

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Heather April 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I just finished reading The Book Whisperer, which of course makes me an immediate expert on all things to do with teaching kids to read. This author (an English teacher) was big on establishing trust with her readers, especially struggling ones, discovering what could motivate them to read, etc. I actually adore her approach to reading. It’s very interesting and goes against the current assumption of how to teach reading in school.

However, I don’t adore writing a check at speech therapy where my kid spent 30 minutes doing a crossword puzzle with words containing his error sound so he can spend 15 minutes practicing articulation. So I know exactly how you feel. But I think you have to give it another a session or two.

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm

It sounds like I should read The Book Whisperer. Or maybe you could summarize it for me.

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Elizabeth April 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Just stumbled across your blog. Love it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think rapport can be important. I used to tutor and baby-sit, and I think of “building rapport” as synonymous with “I will later manipulate you into doing what I want and you will think it was your idea.” If he likes her, he might read for her. Oh, and “rapport” works with coworkers, too. Everyone wants to feel understood. That said, I’d probably only charge half price for a first session if no real tutoring is going to get done.

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Marinka April 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm

If that’s what rapport means, and she could accomplish it in one session, then I tip my hat to her.

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Holly April 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Dude, that wasn’t a tutor, that was social services making sure you don’t beat him!

I think the school is trying to be sneaky-sneaky! Get your money back and run! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Marinka May 1, 2011 at 9:27 am

In that case, I hope she applies the money that I gave her to the “bribe” category. I’m safe!

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A Mommy in the City
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 10:22 pm

While I do think that finding his interests necessary to engage him in reading, I don’t think that it should have taken the entire session. Stick it out and see how it goes. If she says the same thing next time, I wouldn’t go back. She’s just wasting your time.

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Marinka May 1, 2011 at 9:28 am

That’s my reaction, too. I definitely think it’s worth another shot.

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Loukia April 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Request that this first time be a free trial… now know that you your son and the tutor get along just perfectly, you can pay her at the NEXT, first *official* session.

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Marinka May 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

I’m worried that that’ll put us on the wrong foot. As opposed to this blog post, which I’m certain will only enhance our relationship.

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Lu
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Rapport is overrated. It doesn’t take 45 minutes to accomplish.

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Emily April 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Being an adult who wrestled with learning differences my entire life I say give it a chance. You never know what magic could happen. It takes time. Really.

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dusty earth mother April 28, 2011 at 11:10 pm

In the words of MJ, “One More Chance…” But only one. And I would peek in halfway through to make sure there was some serious reading going on.

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the mama bird diaries
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 11:16 pm

I almost fell over when I asked my babysitter (who gets 15 an hour) what she gets when she tutors and she said – 50 to 70 an hour.

You were definitely in your right to be upset. Give her one more session. She might not be the right fit for your wallet.

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Wendi
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Have him call me & I’ll yell at him to read for just $20 an hour.

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Suebob
Twitter:
April 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm

You need to get that Tiger Mother chick to tutor your boy. I’ll bet she doesn’t waste much time on rapport.

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Jenn @ Juggling Life April 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm

I have actually been a tutor to a 9-year old boy and I was able to establish rapport and evaluate his articulation and comprehension reading levels in an hour. For 45 bucks. Just sayin’.

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Taint-Isis April 29, 2011 at 12:53 am

Hyuk! I have a ten-year-old struggling reader. I have been very close to your situation, although the combination of being an impoverished student and a college graduate leads me to the (possibly erroneous) impression that I should be able to tutor her all by myself, darn it.

The weirdest thing about the situation is that she’s totally drunk the Kool-Aid (you know, the school-backed pro-reading propaganda). She thinks books are cool and reading is fun. Until she actually tries it…

I hate to say it but rapport is probably worth it. You want him to LIKE reading… So liking her is probably a good start.

If they’re still goofing off in a month, then go ballistic. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Stasha
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 1:59 am

I totally agree with you. But it is what it is and I believe you need to wait a few sessions to see results.
If she yells READ, DAMN IT,I BEG YOU and it works, then you can ask her to pay you copy rights.

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Hillary
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 2:07 am

I say give rapport building one session. It could be worth it if she gleaned some awesome insight and then can move on to amazing skill building. If it keeps going this way–not the tutor for you.

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Tracie
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 2:34 am

I’m thinking she gets ONE more chance to actually read……and if she is still rapport building next session you go back to READ, DAMN IT, I BEG YOU!! until they find you a real tutor.

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From Belgium April 29, 2011 at 3:38 am

Difficult one. She has to get to know him to make sure that she doesn’t start of on the wrong level (few 9 year olds are up to reading ‘The brothers Karamazov’). So I’d say see how it goes, stay on top like a hawk who has spotted the easter bunny relaxing in a meadow and if there is no significant progress quit and don’t pay her.

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Minka
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 7:37 am

I’m torn between both opinions. (And don’t get me wrong, I am EASILY pissed off, especially when it comes to people maybe taking advantage of me. Ok, who’m I kidding? I’m easily pissed off. Period.) With kids, as with any person, building a rapport really does depend on the people involved. I have been a tutor, I come from a family of teachers, I also volunteer frequently at my kids’ school, and I find that the way in which I get to know every kid varies. Some are more naturally open, others… not so much. Your son already has an issue with reading, so maybe this tutor decided it was more important initially to get him to like her, in order to be most effective and have him not rebel and have her end up screaming: Just read, damn it! (probably not the number one tip in the tutoring handbook). Nor is: Just read, damn it, because your mom is paying me a shitload of money and she’s going to be really f*cking pissed off if we don’t show her some results, pronto!

So — here’s where I’d come down on it. I’d call her. I realize in the immediate aftermath, it’s hard to process the whole thing, especially as you looked at this person who took your money and time and you wanted to strangle her. Or at least kick her, like, really hard.

I’d let her know how you felt (financially raped, or less dramatic)… explain (rationally, if possible), that this is a big investment for you financially, and you really weren’t expecting the first session to be chit-chat, and frankly you feel annoyed/concerned/wondering if she’s the right person. Hear how she explains herself. She could either make you feel worse… or better. But if you make her acutely aware that this pissed you off, maybe the next time she really will dive right into, y’know, that whole “reading” thing that’s supposed to be her job. You could also ask if perhaps the first session shouldn’t cost quite so much, since not so much reading was actually done and you weren’t told beforehand that this was going to be her approach.

Hey, it couldn’t hurt to ask. And you’re a New Yorker — you have the balls to ask anything… right? Especially when it comes to your kid and YOUR money, which SHE took.

But seriously, when I tutored kids one-on-one, it really did vary in terms of how long it took to build real rapport. (And I have to say that the dynamics of tutoring individuals is very different from a classroom setting). And the ones who took longest, who weren’t thrilled with being tutored in the first place? It definitely made it harder for me to be effective.

That said — I sure as shit would’ve explained this to the parent first, if I’d spent much of any session specifically “rapport building.” Usually I just tried to dive into the work and made conversation as we went, using the work itself as a jumping off point for getting to know these kids. Then again, many of them didn’t want to know me at all, and were like: Get the f*ck out of here, I don’t want to be tutored, and to hell with my parents for doing this to me when i could be playing with my x-box!

So… good luck! And again — you’ve got the gift of gab. I’d put it to good use now that you’re (slightly?) more rational and have some perspective. (Translation: you probably will restrain yourself from threatening to kill her).

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Minka
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 7:43 am

And by the way? You absolutely SHOULD blog while angry! It’s the best way to blog. Very cathartic, plus the rawness makes it so… immediate. (Or maybe I’m just full of shit and justifying the fact that I almost ALWAYS blog while angry. Hmmmm… could that be because I’m almost always angry?) Whatever. Just thinking about it pisses me off.

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Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up)
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 7:45 am

Daniel was tutored for years to learn how to write correctly. It worked. Recently i took him to a SAT tutor to work on his Critical Reading. They spent the entire time, THE ENTIRE TIME, talking about sports. By the time we got out of there, I was livid but Daniel said he “really liked her.” Daniel got a 780/800 on his Critical Reading.

Nuff said…sometimes rapport is important. Just saying…

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Kati
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 8:04 am

I’m a reading tutor and I almost always spend approximately half of my first session getting to know the child, letting them get to know me, and discussing things we have in common, etc. Then we do a short reading section.

But I’m free.

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Miss Britt
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 9:28 am

It’s unfortunate you have to pay for this “getting to know you session.” But now that you have, I’d say one more chance. ONE.

Oh! Oh! You should have done that “my mother established rapport with me once… ONCE!” thing.

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christy April 29, 2011 at 10:33 am

Is the tutor through some group? Can you contact her superior and ask that the first session be free as she admitted there was very little reading?! If not, email her and ask her to focus solely on the reading next time. Good luck. Ugh.

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margalit April 29, 2011 at 11:07 am

The tutor should know that wasting a whole “getting to know you” session should be free. She didn’t do her work, why should you pay her for rapport. I would have refused to pay.

Now, a couple of questions. You say your son has comprehension problems, can’t pick out what is important in a story and can’t tell you what a book he’s read is about. Correct?

Does he have a problem with chronology? If you ask him to tell you the beginning, and subsequent salient points in a book, can he in order?

When he watches a movie, does he ask a lot of questions and is confused by the storyline? Does he miss a lot of the plot?

Can he follow multi-step directions, like is he able to prepare brownies by following the directions on the box, or does he have questions that seem obvious to you?

Does he know what commercials are selling on TV, or is he unaware?

Does he voluntarily read anything, like packaging or directions, or even the names of books on a shelf in the library? Is reading a chore in any way, not just with books?

Have you had him tested by a developmental opthamologist that has ruled out any eye weaknesses or tracking problems?

Has the school ever tested him to see if he has learning disabilities?

If you answer more than a couple of these questions in the affirmative, get him tested for a non-verbal learning disability. This is not a common scenario, but when a child 9 years of age is resistant to reading, there is usually a good reason for it. Unfortunately, it takes time to uncover just what the problem is, but I don’t think I would pay for a tutor until you have some answers. Email me if you have questions.

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Megan April 29, 2011 at 11:10 am

Mack is being tutored in math, and it is damned expensive, so I feel your pain. That being said, I’d say give it another chance. The experience I’ve had with my son is that because he really likes his tutor and his tutor really likes him, Mack wants to please him. And because they click, Mack has more confidence. He’s doing better in math, in part because he’s engaged with the tutor and in part because the tutor understands his personality and how he learns. This is one of the great benefits of one-on-one teaching.

If it would make you feel better, see if you can get contact info from other parents who have used this tutor and see what they think.

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awesome dude April 29, 2011 at 11:26 am

May be you should call folks who produced this โ€œsheep Dollyโ€ sheep, I can bet any money that he will BS any tutor into anything.

Sad thing is that genetic manipulation is not reversible.

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Alexandra
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I don’t get this.

When I was working, as a speech pathologist/ there was no rapport building.

It was smiles, hellos, smiles and then therapy.

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Jana@AnAttitudeAdjustment
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I’m a teacher, and as someone who doesn’t spend a whole lot of time building rapport, I have to say that I think your tutor might be onto something. The longer I teach, the more I realize that personal relationships are pretty important in this profession. I think that if your son really likes her and thinks he can spend that one-on-one time with her, he is more likely to want to learn, to trust her, rather than seeing this 45 minutes (or hour) as another drudging activity he has to do because his school or his mom made him. (No offense to you–I’m just speaking from experience.) I don’t know exactly how much she’s charging, but I think it is good that you told her you really want something to come out of this, but also good that she took the time to make sure your son trusts her and wants to work with her. I do think it will be better for him in the long run. (Though I do think that she should have told you that ahead of time and charged you less for a “meet-up” session.)

So maybe you’re a tutor too. A social tutor for reading tutors. Hey, you can market that.

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Peajaye
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Sorry, but I can’t stop thinking about this. There are a lot of really great comments and perspectives here, but I can’t help but think that the underlying issue here is one of trust. You went to this tutor to help your son – which puts you in a very vulnerable position. I believe it’s ethically incumbent upon the professional helper – whether it be a doctor, psychologist, fitness trainer, pole dancer, etc. – to understand that relationship and to chart out the landscape. And this tutor, by not doing that, sent a message of disrespect. So of course you (and most of your readers by proxy) feel pissed.

Maybe the tutor is young and inexperienced and got manipulated by Young Ladrinka. Or maybe she understands exactly what’s going on, and is sending you the message: “I’m in charge here and you’ll pay me what I want since you f*cked up with your son.” Most likely it’s something in-between.

I spent a lot of my 20’s tutoring ADD middle-school boys. I always made it clear to the parents that I would help the kids with their homework, talking them through the rough spots, reading aloud, giving context, taking short breaks to get up throw a ball around while talking about what we just read, etc… So the parents knew exactly what was going on. There were results at the end of every single session. So I think you reacted absolutely appropriately.

I feel where you did mess up was not posting this blog under “I’m Right, You’re Wrong!”

But now you have a lot of great input from your readers in the comments above on how to move forward and to make your feelings known, etc., so Yay for the internet!

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anymommy April 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I fail at raising children. I was annoyed the moment I read the word “rapport.” Then again, I was pre-annoyed by reading the word “Uma.”

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tracy
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I think rapport building should be free unless she is a call-girl and he is 18. If that is the case there should also not be reading involved.

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Jaci @ Ravings of a Mad Housewife April 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Sounds kind of like a 1st therapy session.

You spend months agonizing over whether you have a problem or not…go back and forth…ask advice…lose sleep over it…and finally you make the decision to go to a therapist.

You walk in the door and expect to get right down to business: “Okay, I realize we only have an hour so I’ll give you the quick version, Dr!” Only the guy holds up his hand, smiles, and takes the entire hour to find out you got married in 2003, you parents are divorced, and your dog’s named Barney. At the end of the hour, you’re pissed because you haven’t even talked about anything related to your problem and your next appointment is in 2 weeks.

Once we decide we have a problem (whatever it is) and make a plan to attack it, we expect linear progress right away. Especially when there is money involved. ๐Ÿ™‚

Give her 4 sessions. If there isn’t noticeable improvement, cut your loses.

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marathonmom April 29, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I agree with your frustration. The money you have to/need to spend on your kids sometimes…. gah. Next session, walk to a few local establishments and pick up job apps for husbandrinka. The endorphins will make you feel better about handing over that check and it will feel like such a great team effort!

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Sophie@Fabrications April 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Rapport meetings should be free of charge, damn it (hey, if you said it, than so can I). I’m not saying it because I like you, which I do, but because if you don’t teach, damn it (:-)) you shouldn’t charge for it.
And about Wendi’s offer? I’ll do it for 15.

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RidgewoodMom April 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I’d be careful about those “bridge building materials”. They are probably not included in the cost. The Brooklyn Bridge cost twice what was originally estimated. Just an FYI…
I’d wait till next week. If no reading happens, I think you should go back to your tactics, which are free and get the same result.

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Mwa (Lost in Translation) April 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Ethan Hawke? Really? Bastard.

As for the tutor, I’d be very very pissed off at the school for NOT DOING ITS JOB in the first place. You send your kid there to be educated. That’s what they should do. Going “well, that one’s a bit hard to teach” is just bullshit. (I’m a teacher. All my kids passed. Because I’m a fucking TEACHER so I TEACH until they can do it. – Nevermind, pet peeve.)

As for the rapport thing, it may end up costing you fewer sessions if I think like a teacher. Thinking like a cash-strapped mother who’d rather have new boots than a literate kid, though, I say fire the bitch.

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Fairly Odd Mother
Twitter:
April 29, 2011 at 10:33 pm

My son’s speech therapist builds rapport by letting him play Angry Birds at the end of each session on her iPad. But then she told me that he only gets her out of levels she can’t figure out, so I’m not sure if that’s building rapport, or cheating.

What do you think?

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shafeena
Twitter:
April 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm

i have been agonizing on if i should get a speech therapist for ayaan cuz he is not talking at 2 and a half!!

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MommyNamedApril
Twitter:
April 30, 2011 at 8:46 pm

ask your pediatrician about free state services. most states have free speech therapists for kids 3 and under and then after that they can generally get services through the school system. your ped will know for sure though how it works in your state ๐Ÿ™‚

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MommyNamedApril
Twitter:
April 30, 2011 at 8:45 pm

i know i’m a little late to the party. also, i’m not reading the other comments. (huh, maybe i need the tutor). but for crying out loud, TEACH THE CHILD TO READ. if she wants to be his buddy, do it on her own time. although, really. is her former last name letourneau? how chummy do they need to be?

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MommyNamedApril
Twitter:
April 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm

okay, i lied. i totally read the comment above mine. and then i was compelled to respond to it. please don’t call me out on this because i’m already pissy. not at you though. it’s a hormone thing.

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Jennifer May 1, 2011 at 5:43 am

As a reading tutor, I have to say that building rapport is absolutely essential. Children with reading difficulties can feel extremely vulnerable and thus reluctant to try, and if they have a trusting relationship with their tutor, the sessions are likely to be much more productive. So, in the long run, taking a session to build rapport is not time — or money — wasted. Quite the contrary, in fact.

That said, I often will invite the child and parent over for a brief “get-t0-know-you” session, free of charge. Then in the first session, we’ll chat for maybe 10 minutes to make sure the child is comfortable — and of course that varies for each kid — then I’ll spend the rest of the time doing assessments to give me an idea of where to start with the child. Sometimes the assessments will take another entire session as well. I can see how a parent might see this as time wasted, but without a clear idea of the child’s reading strengths and difficulties AND a good rapport, the sessions won’t be nearly as productive.

So, I guess I’d say give the tutor a few more sessions before you decide she’s wasting your money. Taking the time to lay the groundwork for a productive tutor-student relationship can save a lot of time (and money) in the future.

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Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog May 1, 2011 at 8:15 am

I think 15 minutes should have been sufficient to build a rapport. I don’t know. I would have thought that hiring a high schooler would be a good option, too. But you crazy New Yorkers! I’ll bet she’s got a degree, right? Ka-CHING!

I have a slow reader, too. He’s also 9! It’s like we’re sisters from another mister, right? But he’s slowly progressing and I’ll bet that when he’s 15, there won’t be as much difference between him and the average readers. My own 2 cents.

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Ilana
Twitter:
May 1, 2011 at 8:50 am

Did you see The King’s Speech? Because Geoffrey Rush wanted to talk to Colin Firth and Colin Firth wanted to go straight to the speaking exercises but the real breakthrough came when he finally started opening up to him mid-movie. Not that the tutoring is a psychological exercise, but I think for a kid to make progress in something he doesn’t like/isn’t good at, he has to trust the tutor and enjoy spending time with her. I think rapport is important. But what do I know? I base things on Hollywood movies.

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Jill
Twitter:
May 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm

For that much money, they should come to YOU! (of course I’m naturally assuming that it cost more than an arm AND a leg … and for “that” amount, I say less schlepping on your part).

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Melizzard May 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

Reminds me of the time I looked up from US Weekly to discover that the very expensive pre-schooler-age gymnastics class in the very expensive “real” gym had morphed into a game of Duck Duck Goose.

At least then I had a posse of other moms to back me up and a “Boss” to complain to. Turns out the 17 year old slacker teaching the class thought it would fun for them to get a chance to “play” once in a while. What she thought they did all day at pre-school I’m not sure but with 10 Angry Mommies staring at her she learned we weren’t paying for Duck Duck Goose.

Maybe ask her for a lesson plan at the next session. If she’s met with him once now she should have a plan she intends to follow.

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Stephanie Smirnov
Twitter:
May 2, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Am curious that people think rapport and trust can be established with a nine-year old in POOF, 10 or 15 minutes. I think your tutor did the right thing for a first session, I also think you have every right to understand from her how you and your son can expect the sessions to progress from this point forward. On a final and wholly unrelated note, Ethan Hawke has needed a shave and a shower since 1994 and does not deserve to breathe the same air as Uma “The Bride” Thurman. Thus endeth the sermon.

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holly May 3, 2011 at 12:03 am

I understand when a therapist needs to get to know a child, but a reading teachers needs to get to know a child’s reading level the first session to jump right in during session #2. I would have been irritated, too, as I’m sure the sessions aren’t cheap. I’ve spent so much on various therapies for my own son (not reading yet, I’m sure it will come when he’s 9) that I’m terribly jaded.

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April
Twitter:
May 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm

First, I rarely comment, but love your blog!
Second, I totally understand your frustration, but I think her true failure was in communicating to you how things would work, maybe even let you sit in on the first 10-15 minutes. Granted, less quality time with US, but it might have been worth it.

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