Friday, January 18, 2013

wishing for a laptop

It's 5:37AM as I begin typing this. I've just spent about five-and-a-half hours compiling performance stats for the mother of one our students, whom I'll call Magda (the student, that is-- not the mother). This is part of a massive report I'm writing as a way of reassuring the mother that (1) Magda's lack of improvement in her SAT score, despite several months of training at YB, shouldn't be viewed too pessimistically, but also that (2) we at YB plan to do what we can to help Magda out of her apparent rut.

Personally, I'm pissed off that the mother is freaking out: Magda has improved by only 40 points on her composite SAT score, true, but because this latest test was only her second, it's impossible to deduce a trend from only two data points. Until Magda has taken the mock SAT several more times, it'll be hard to say just where she stands, performance-wise.

So I took Magda's dossier home with me and spent several hours combing through her records. I created three charts of her chapter-by-chapter performance in our SAT curriculum; this includes both classwork and homework. I used my Excel wizardry to insert formulae to calculate percentages and averages, and after I'd made those three charts, I turned my attention to curriculum design: I created a detailed course calendar extending from now to early May, listing all the textbooks and page numbers we would be plowing through over the next few months.

But there's still more. I promised my supervisor that I'd summarize my findings, interpret Magda's performance stats (such as they are), and offer a proposal for how to proceed. It's too late for me to work on that report right now; I need to sleep. The problem is that, once I wake up, I also need to take my car to the shop (you'll recall why). That's going to take some time out of my day, and that's precisely why I wish I had a laptop: I could work on my report while the car's being repaired.

Laptops are very liberating. With a laptop, you can do almost everything that you can do on a regular desktop computer. I'd love to blog from a restaurant or coffee shop, for example, instead of being constantly confined to my apartment. Like Django, I want to be unchained!

In the meantime, I hope Magda's mom appreciates all the work I'm doing for her oversensitive, micromanaging ass.

_

Charles said...

Helicopter moms for the win!

Kevin Kim said...

Indeed.

And having thoroughly examined Magda's in-class performance, I can say with assurance that Magda is all over the place: her scores range from magnificent to pitiful-- anywhere from 100% to less than 20% when she does SAT drills in class with me.

Maybe I shouldn't be too harsh, though: this is the same mom who gave me the \$25 gift card that I used when I went to the Bonefish Grill for the first time.

Sigh...