Recently I gained a new mentee whom I’ll call Letitia. She is a recent convert to Christianity and desperately wants to change her life. She is 25 and has had one stillbirth and three babies (all with the same father.)Two children have been adopted and the third is in foster care. She visits him weekly and is trying to maintain a relationship with him so she can regain custody.
So I started tutoring Letitia for her GED in language arts. We began by talking about punctuation and I asked her to name the punctuation she knew. She named period, question mark, exclamation mark, and “hy-fence” as I wrote them on her paper. I showed her a hyphen and explained the pronunciation but not the usage.
Then we went to the paragraph she’d written for me. Every sentence started with “I” but none were capitalized. Some sentences ended in periods, which I complimented. Her first sentence was “i love my kid’s.” I pointed to the apostrophe and said, “Do you know what this is called?” She said, “Yes, the hy-fence, like I said before.” I explained and wrote “apostrophe” on her paper; I told her there are only two uses for the apostrophe. Then I wrote the words “contractions” and “possessives.” Pointing to the word, I said, “Do you know about contractions?”
“Oh, yes!” she nodded emphatically, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then, patting her belly, she added, “I’ve sure had plenty of those!”
Hmmmm…so then we had a little side discussion of how in English one word can have many meanings—fast, can, book, etc. And then back to the grammatical meaning of contractions!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:2-5.) Here’s hoping we both become more mature and complete as we venture through GED prep together. Stay tuned for more about Letitia.