Teaching Top-Up

I love the British expression”top up”. It means to refill. You top up an Oyster card. You top up your minutes on your phone. You top up your utility bills if you have a meter that is  “pay as you go”. (Like the Oyster card, it’s a British thing). You can even top up as a teacher. I dad my first three lessons with the adult student that I mentioned in my previous post. We’ll call him Felix.

Felix is a fabulous student. While he is A1 edging towards A2, he is eager to learn and surprisingly, he is eager to be pushed. We did a lesson on present simple versus present continuous, and of course, I printed out enough that I had too much and he had to take some of the stuff for homework. We also had a lesson dealing with business English and I actually had to split that into two parts. The first part was about the vocabulary and doing some exercises having to do with vocabulary in the workplace. I had a hard time finding role-playing exercises online. Impossible. I think I’m gonna have to write my own. Which is more than I wanted to role-play. I did, however, find a listening exercise and a couple of videos that will at least pass some time and possibly be amusing. He had a hard time with a sequencing exercise in the second class so for the third one, I am going to focus on that for a bit.

In other teaching news, the parents of the young man further out in Amsterdam contacted me last week, on Tuesday evening and want to have me start sessions with him in math and reading. They managed to take me down from my normal rate but I think it’s worth it given that perhaps it will be more exposure for me. We’ll call this student Carlton. Carlton is very cheeky at times. I’ve discovered, however, in our first session, that we need to incorporate movement into his lessons. The boy just cannot sit still. It’s going to take some thinking on my part to try and figure out how to craft the lessons. I also had a bit of an internal meltdown because I forgot most of my worksheets that I was planning on doing with him in the lesson. It ended up being OK because I was able to play a video and ask him comprehension questions. His listening skills are spot on.

It also helps that he is a native speaker of English. He seems to like me but is trying to push my buttons. He wants to do the math his way instead of my way. I extracted promises from him in the first lesson that he will at least try the ways that I will teach him because they may be faster and take less time than his way, which is counting on his fingers. I forgive him, he’s seven. I, in turn, have agreed to let him be who he is. We will see what happens. Expecting Carlton’s parents to respond in the affirmative, they negotiated a little too much for my liking, but I’m finding that that is the name of the game in private tutoring, though apparently not for all teachers who tutor.. This then is my top up: I have topped up my students to a place where I do not have to work VIPKid weekends, at least for the moment. And that is a glorious feeling.

I do need to shout out to a couple of amazing teachers. One is my ESL guru who lives in France. She was kind enough to share some of her materials with me. The other teacher the second VIPKid teacher who came to stay the weekend with me, which you may remember was the weekend before I left for the States. She shared ISLcollective.com, which is millions of worksheets on millions of different topics. These two women have saved my bacon. I love my colleagues.

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

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