Yesterday was Mao's birthday! We met again for another session, but this one was very short. We chatted briefly about celebrations and the struggles of growing older. Mao said she didn't want to have a birthday at all because she didn't want to get older (and she thinks she will have wrinkles when she's 25...).
I noticed that sometimes when talking about activities she likes to do, she drops the "to" from any verb infinitives. This makes sense because "to" is purely functional in this role and doesn't carry any meaning on its own, but it's an important piece of the infinitive structure and is necessary in order to sound competent in the language.
Mao and I will continue meeting through the summer, and I feel like I understand what her strengths and weaknesses with the language are. In our coming sessions, I'll be more active in focusing on specific pieces of her speech that she can adjust as we chat, and I'll devise exercises to help her be more aware of her sentence structure.
I've really enjoyed getting to know Mao and am pleased to be developing my own skills as a tutor. At the end of our chat last night, Mao told me that I have a lot to say and would be very suitable as a teacher. Her words are encouraging and make me work harder to be a better teacher each day.