Mission Statement

Why I made this site

Original mission statement (2010)

A few months ago, I had a bit of an epiphany, a crystallization of several concerns and desires, that led me to begin creating this website.

That epiphany occurred when I was thinking about the fact that in my twelve years of tutoring in San Francisco and in the San Mateo area, I've worked mostly with the children of wealthy families. While I’m proud of my students and their accomplishments, it has always bothered me that so much of my time is spent giving already-privileged kids an even greater advantage in life rather than helping those who need it most. I intend for this website, which will make many of the materials I've developed and resources I've found freely available to anyone interested in using them, to be a way to help a much greater number of people, especially those less-privileged students.

I also want this website to be a means for me to find some new students outside the wealthy social circles through which my students are usually referred to me—students who are motivated to seek help but can’t afford to pay the rates charged by most tutors and test-prep schools.

Finally, I want this website to be a resource for Camilla, my daughter. Although I plan to share with her my love of learning, language, literature, music, and so many other things as she grows up, this project will help keep me motivated to revise and organize my teaching materials so I can follow through on that plan in a more structured, tangible, meticulous way. Some of this content may eventually take the form of a book, and preparing it for public distribution on this website is also a step toward achieving that goal. In these first two years of Camilla’s life, the demands of my work schedule have often made me unable to spend as much time with her as I would like (though I hope that will change at some point), so Camilla’s English Page will also serve as a kind of insurance against any circumstances that might prevent me from teaching her the way I hope to. I've learned so much from the many wonderful teachers I've had, both in school and in the school of life, and I want to ensure that no matter what, I will have a way to share as much of that knowledge and wisdom with her as possible.

Camilla, if you’re reading this, as I hope you will one day, know that every bit of time and effort I’ve put into this website has been inspired by the love and joy you’ve brought into my life. Because of you, I’ve discovered that I’m capable of doing more with my life and being a better person than I had ever thought possible. Being a good father to you is the best and most worthwhile thing I will ever do, as well as the best way of thanking your grandparents and your mother for the extraordinary amount of love they’ve given me (and are now giving you too), and this website is part of that effort. As I’m writing this, you’re only 26 months old, but it’s obvious to everyone that you are a remarkable person—not that you’re going to be a remarkable person when you grow up, but that you already are. Even when you’re acting like a typical “terrible” two-year-old, as you sometimes do, you still somehow manage to create love and happiness. And I think that amazing capacity will only increase as you get older.

To anyone else who might be reading this, I hope you find this website helpful and maybe even enjoyable. Please let me know if you have any requests or suggestions.

Brantley, December 25, 2010

Update (2018)

Life, as it often does, has taken me in some different directions than I expected over the last seven years or so. In some ways this has been a disappointment; largely because of the demands of my travel agency work, teaching, and fatherhood, I haven't developed this site or revised my teaching materials as much as I had envisioned. In other ways it's been wonderful—I've spent many happy hours being a father to a daughter who gets more fun, fascinating, and wonderful by the day.

Now life has brought me to a bit of a crossroads. It's a good opportunity to update the site and to recommit myself to expanding it on a regular basis, so that's what I intend to do. I have a lot of teaching materials in various stages of readiness for "publication" on this site and a lot of things to write about and share.

As for Camilla, I was absolutely right that her capacity for creating love and happiness would continue to grow. She now has a vague idea of the existence of this site—I figured that at this point in her life I should check in with her to make sure she wouldn't be embarrassed by the presence of something like this out there on the Interwebs. However, she doesn't fully understand the extent of it and is too caught up in reading and gaming and drawing dragons to have much curiosity about it, so it remains a secret (hopefully not an embarrassing one!) for her to discover and explore at some point in the future. She did express some interest in the idea of writing book-related blog posts, so she may actually become a contributor to this site one day. That would be pretty cool.

Brantley, May 19, 2018