While July was a great month for me, the weeks leading into September promise to be quieter but also not as lucrative. My intensives have wound up and I don’t really have anything on the books for the next couple of weeks, beyond my Japanese client. Even my Turkish client is going on vacation after today. It’s true she’ll come back on the 30th of August but then we will have finished the package, and, while I think she will come back to me privately, that’s by no means assured. I also haven’t heard anything from the English Center about my client Isabel, who is slated to come back and has specifically asked for me. Midweek last week I also found out that Marco Verbeek, a client that I had back in September 2021 for one lesson that lasted an hour and a half, has decided to come back. First and foremost, I was quite pleased to hear about him because he had gone away due to a serious illness. I was quite happy to find out that his treatments for whatever the unnamed illness is are working and he’s ready to continue with his English. Yesterday, I also contacted the girls in Palestine to see if they would continue with me even though I find them a bit of a challenge. The tomfoolery part of this post, with regard to TEC comes from the fact that I have been ready to teach for them at a moment’s notice, sometimes quite literally, and have been screwed over on two occasions. The first time was with a woman who had supposedly bought 20 hours of lessons. I was given the standard information packet from TEC. I set up the time to meet with her online so that we could schedule the rest of our lessons. She never showed up nor did she get in contact with me or The English Center. I was paid for that day but what I realise is that the English Center is no longer asking for payment in advance from their students and they should be. They should also, quite honestly, be paying their teachers in advance. But they don’t. They pay weekly on a Monday for two weeks previous. Up until now, the system has worked rather well. It’s nice knowing that you have a weekly paycheck coming in. Here’s the problem. It’s not ok when the English Center’s policy screws over the teacher on a regular basis. While they don’t tell us how to teach and what to teach, what they do is tell the client that their policy is 48 hours and if the student cancels within that 48 hours it’s a lost lesson. TEC gets paid. The teacher gets paid only if the student cancels within 24 hours. We are the assets that the company uses to survive. Shouldn’t we be paid if the student cancels within 48 hours as well? It’s not as though the English Center doesn’t have the money, after all. What they do is they keep that €30 that they were going to pay the teacher if they taught the lesson. I’ve said it before and in numerous posts, but I will say it again I think it’s a silly policy. It shows me just how valuable the teachers are to the English Center. This week that policy resulted in a rather significant amount of lost income for me. What happened with this: on Tuesday evening I was contacted by the scheduler at the English Center asking if I was available to teach a 20-hour intensive for a couple who wanted to improve their English. It was to start on the 8th of August and continue until Thursday of that week and then finish off on Monday and Tuesday of the following week. I agreed to this and started making my plans. On Wednesday morning I was asked if I could do Thursday and Friday of the week that we were in and then Monday and Tuesday and the following week. I was told that it will only be one student instead of two. I also agreed to this and started planning the Thursday and Friday lessons. These two lessons were planned on Wednesday. So I was ready to teach on Thursday and Friday of last week. Fast forward some hours to the evening of Wednesday and picture me getting ready to go into a concert at the world-renowned Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. I had been invited to a Vivaldi performance. I made the mistake of looking at my phone just before the performance. I received a direct email from the student that I was supposed to teach the next day. Or rather I got an email from his girlfriend as to whether we could do 4 hours and 4 hours for both she and her boyfriend on Thursday and Friday. of course this was not going to be possible as this was an in-person lesson that had rooms booked. before I had to respond to the student I got a call from Brenda, while waiting for the performance to begin. She told me that she had fired the clients and that I didn’t have to go teach in the morning she did say that she would pay me for that class. But what about the class that I had already prepared for? I know that that was going to be a no but that doesn’t stop me from feeling extremely taken advantage of, even so. What it also does is make me feel ok with continuing with my students privately when the opportunity arises.
Over in my private client world, I started back up with Galini, and this time we are focusing on a bit of job search as well as the pronunciation that we were doing when she was a TEC client. While she doesn’t have too many grammatical issues, there are a few trouble spots. So I think that this session of five lessons will be a mixture of job stuff as well as general English. As ever, I would like her to be an active participant in whatever we do. Adriana, my student from Colombia is actually in the Netherlands and so we are going to meet this Friday for 5 hours. I’m thinking it’ll be more a tour than a lesson. Samar is not currently on my schedule and we still have 2 hours left. I will waait until midweek to contact her. George and Jerry are back on my schedule and back in the swing of things. It was a tough lesson because I had to give George a full hour and that is always a challenge as I’m not sure that he understands what we’re doing. Later today, I get to see Odhran for Greek. We haven’t had a lesson since June, and I have to say I’m looking forward to how much Greek he has forgotten.
On Sunday we went to the Deventer Book Market and it it was a great experience. I met up with 5 of my writer friends at Central Station and we took the train together. The book market was about 600 stalls. The vendors ranged anywhere from private people selling their books to publishers and bookstores. The books were mostly in Dutch but there were some books in English as well. I picked up two books. One was a nearly mint condition Warlock by Wilbur Smith which is the third in a trilogy of books about ancient Egypt. It’s one of those sweeping sagas that just screams to be made into a TV movie or a Blockbuster film. The second book that picked up was the first in a fantasy series published in 1986. I later came to find out that it’s the first in a series that has 16 books. I do hope that I am able to find them all. I do find it difficult to find books at fairs or markets because I tend to like to read in series order and it was very difficult trying to find books that were firsts. There were quite a few people at this event. In fact, I might even term it a super spreader event, if I was so inclined. All in all, I’m very glad I went and will definitely go again. Next year, I think I’ll be there when the book market opens at 9:30 and well out of it by lunch.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come