Saturday, January 12, 2008

What's Been New?

I've been getting ensconced (slowly) in my tutoring gig, which is to say that I've begun to be offered several assignments, and I've been making arrangements with my new students and their schools. I've had two students so far, and I have another three who look like they'll be a bit more long-term (at least comparatively so, as "long-term" as some of these things get). The two students I've had have been genuinely nice kids, and I've enjoyed working with them. I'm still a bit nervous about the process - the calling the schools to get the work, the calling the students to arrange meeting times, the driving all about in unfamiliar neighborhoods - and it does seem that with each new kid I get I'm doing a lot of prep work, which admittedly is not that much time on the phone. But I have to make myself sound more confident that I really feel. I'll be meeting three new students this week and saying goodbye to another. But so far I like the kids, and I think I'll really love the job. And I'll be networking at the schools and getting ideas for what the kids are taught at different levels, and even if I never actually teach, these are both good things.

And speaking of school, the spring semester is beginning next week with an Orientation Meeting for the Writing Center. I don't have classes on Tuesdays this semester, so I'm going to (at least try to) arrange to not go into Brooklyn Tuesdays or Fridays - meaning I'll only be trekking in three days a week, which means I could do the homebound tutoring (or, in theory, do substitute teaching, if I ever hear back from the New York City Department of Education). I was offered a Graduate Assistantship through the WC; in exchange for five hours a week manning the front desk, LIU will pay for a third class this semester. I don't think there's a stipend - at least, none was mentioned - but in exchange for LIU paying for that third class, I'm not sure I mind. I do need to find out if I can continue working at ARC; I suspect I won't be permitted to, since there's a weird policy in which one can be working for only two different payroll departments (or something along those lines), and I'm not sure if my TAship and GAship are considered two separate accounts. Even if they aren't, the most I'll be able to work at ARC is an additional five hours - LIU prohibits students from working more than 20 hours per week on campus. Just as well, since I'm sure I'll be up to my eyeballs in work.

On Friday, Chris and I spent the day in New York City. Brandice and Joe, the STeaP co-hosts, were in town for an awards ceremony, and even though they had flown in Thursday morning and were leaving Friday evening, they decided to shoot an episode of STeaP at Alice's Tea Cup; the owners had graciously allowed the four of us (Chris and I were special guests) to shoot an episode in their East 64th Street location. It was a really nice day that we had; Alice's Tea Cup has a lot of tea - over 100 varieties, apparently - and we wound up getting many pots (at least five, which we shared), breakfast, and lunch. Chris and I, both having partaken in their tea contest, were awarded tea prizes; of all the teas that were submitted, we were awarded our teas of choice, so I wound up with some Earl Grey, which I love, as well as Jade Cloud Green Tea, and Chris got some Assam.

I think we finally left Alice's Tea Cup about having hung out there for about five hours. We ate until we burst, at which point we attempted to go to a Judaic electronics store, but we kept being stymied: First there were subway issues which resulted in our taking three different lines (which in and of itself is exhausting); then the place was closed (because the store is run by the Jewish Orthodoxy and they have limited hours on Fridays). We were all a bit draggy from exhaustion by the time we left Joe and Brandice hailing a cab to the airport, but Chris and I wandered down to Brooklyn Heights anyway - the pouring rain we encountered early in the day had disappeared, and it was downright warm and it had cleared up - and hung out to enjoy the nighttime Manhattan skyline before hitting up Teresa's on Montague Street for dinner. (Who'd have thought I'd begin to enjoy Polish food?)

At least I got some pictures.

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