Teacher Troubles

Sometimes, no matter what you do, The universe comes to bite you in the butt. It isn’t often that I have trouble with my online teaching, as I’ve said most of my students have been pretty good. My trouble comes in the form of the tech universe. VIP kid has an extremely strict cancellation policy. You can cancel six classes in a six-month contract. Without it counting against you. As a result of most of us are extremely careful with how we use these cancellations. I mentioned that I had never canceled for anything particular frivolous. Well, with the exception of Denmark. Every single other time I’ve canceled because my tech has done something and I cannot teach. The first time I canceled due to tech issues was in March 2017 the day before I was due to leave for Amsterdam. I had moved out of my apartment and was staying at my dad’s who himself was in Greece. Their Internet crapped out. I had to cancel three classes and then figured out how to use my hotspot to teach from. I swear, that hotspot saved my life.

The last time I canceled due to tech issues, Was entirely my fault. I was in the middle of teaching the word “prefer”. As in, “I prefer tea to coffee.” To illustrate my point of course, I had a cup of tea. Unfortunately, while trying to show my student the tea, It spilled on my computer. I didn’t realize just a couple of drops of liquid could short out the motherboard so badly. I had to cancel six of my morning classes and run out to Apple to buy a new computer. I was up in teaching for my afternoon classes. But let’s just say I am now extremely careful with what liquids I have near my computer. And I’ve learned to teach the word prefer differently now.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the cancellation policy for VIP kid was a little looser. But you really have to budget your cancellations. In my case things were relatively simple. In other cases not so much. Like the fact that her sister was not considered immediate family and there was one teacher who was denied permission to go to her sister’s funeral. There was so much backlash in that case that VIP kid changed their policy.

Online teaching Is a horse of a different color. The advantages are that you are in your home and don’t have a commute. That can also be a disadvantage for someone like me who has the possibility of being an effective shut in. I will say that I get kind of tired of looking at my four walls every day. Even though they are beautiful walls with a Canalview in Amsterdam.

I just got back from a very stressful US trip. Where, I over scheduled myself of course. In addition to trying to teach three hours every day from 7 to 10 AM, I also had to see various and sundry people. To say that I was tired would be an understatement. I was sleeping early so that I could get up at 6 AM to teach. And then after teaching I would run around trying to get various appointments taken care of. By Friday last week my body had had enough. And my back gave out. On Saturday I had to teach standing, and then had to take a plane for seven hours to get back to Amsterdam. I got in yesterday morning, and literally spent the rest of the day in bed.

It’s Monday morning, and I have to teach 10 VIP kid classes and three of my own extra classes. And I can’t do it while sitting. I’ve crafted a makeshift standing desk for the day. I think it’s going to be one. A day that is. And not a good one. Here’s to hoping that I have no more teacher troubles. Or maybe I need more teacher troubles. After all, there’s got to be something to write about.

Online teaching can be extremely lonely. Any job when working from home can be lonely but online teaching is one that can be especially lonely unless you make all your own community. I decided early on in my English language teaching a couple years ago that I didn’t want to be one of those people that worked alone. As soon as I got the gig with VIP kid I started thinking about how can I connect myself to other teachers. Want to find out how I did that? Keep coming back, that’s up next.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But keep coming back, as always, there is more to come.

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