Tutoring the Tutor

One of the greatest–and most moving–lessons of my life came when I was supposed to be the teacher…

Mitch Teemley


This is a true story.

I tutored at an inner city college for seven years. Many of my students were the first in their families to attend college. Some were the first to finish high school. Or not to sell drugs. A few have become my personal heroes.

My last student, a 19 year old pop culture drone, had just asked why she should “do punctuation.”

gamer_girl_by_ryuulavitz-d5hjpvn“Because punctuation is the only thing that separates us from the lower animals!” I replied, sarcasm phaser set on stun.

She shrugged and left.

My co-worker Trina, an African American grandma with a passion for cookies and Dostoyevsky, said, “Good point. My dog still can’t use a semi-colon.”

“If I get one more I’m-only-here-because-my-teacher-made-me knucklehead,” I curmudged, “I’m going to become a custodian.”

“This is community college, sweetie. You’re already in the recycling biz. Have a lemon cookie.” Before Trina could dispense the proffered…

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About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, Humor, Memoir, Story Power and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Tutoring the Tutor

  1. Mitch a great story and done in a perfect verbal style.
    I have done a lot of Mentoring both informal and structured.
    In Mentoring when the Mentor learns something from
    the Mentee, you know the process is working!
    Brad James, author and blogger

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nancyehead says:

    Oh, what we miss when we give up on people!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dr. Alva Jean Chesser says:

    Great story!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That was an incredibly moving and beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes. Just amazing! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This story really needs a kleenex alert on it.

    Liked by 1 person

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