Teaching Tidbits and Writing Return

Happy Chinese new year everyone! This week at VIPKid marks the start of two slow weeks for most teachers as all of our happy angels are traveling to and from hometowns. They don’t call the Spring Festival the great migration for nothing. It is a time when people gather with family and have a big meal and watch fireworks. (Imagine Tina shuddering in distaste). You all know how I feel about fireworks. I didn’t remain in Amsterdam because the fireworks here are crazy. At least that’s what I’ve been told by several people. But even so, I opened 60 slots of which only 16 hadn’t filled By the end of last week. I’m a bit lackadaisical about bookings usually but for Chinese New Year in particular. I see it is taking a bit of vacation myself.

In other teaching news, I was right about the fickleness of children. Carlton has decided that he wants to read “Winterhouse”. By which I mean he read the first paragraph of the story and I read the rest of the chapter. We will see how long that continues. The 5 million Facebook groups that I am a member of having to do with VIPKid, are always talking about background lighting. I know that both are important for the online classroom, but I just never cared. I am not one of those teachers with 1 million pretty dinosaurs and the words “HI I am teacher Tina” blazoned on some board behind me in full view of the camera. I am not about to spend millions of dollars for a $21 an hour gig. I think teaching should be about teaching. Understand that I’m not judging the teachers who have an amazing teaching room full of props. I just don’t think I need to be that kind of teacher. What I didn’t realize, however, is that lighting is important in the real classroom as well. I have fairly good vision but even I was struggling to read a children’s book because the lighting in the dining room where I teach Carlton is very dim. I think I’m gonna have to figure out a way to change that. Alas, the solution was not to present itself on Friday evening as Carlton was sick and mom canceled that lesson.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, otherwise known as my house, Felix and I continue to study English verb tenses. He has indicated he wants an exam once we finish the tenses. I think I’m then going to have to pick up the pace. I have been doing one tense a lesson with him, but I think I’m going to have to take it to two tenses a class as he seems to want a test on our tenth lesson. We will see how that goes. Susan has decided to take a hiatus for the month of February. She is moving to Bourgogne France and has just 23 days to move. I hope that I see her once she is finished with the move and settled into her new home. I would like a tour. Over in Poland, I am working diligently with my little girl who I will call Katya for the purposes of anonymity. She is a blessing to teach because there is no prep. Her mom literally sends me a Facebook messenger post saying “work on x today” and that’s what I do. Nothing could be simpler.

This past Thursday marked a return to writing. Instead of laboring over my novel, which will take a backseat for the moment, I started the children’s story that I mentioned a couple posts ago. My colleague in the story did a couple of really cool illustrations and based on those I was able to figure out where the story is going. It also helped that she gave me a synopsis of her thoughts on the story and I was able to flush that out and figure things out. It was a good writing session even if I didn’t have as many words as I wanted. That is owing to the fact that we have a member who talks a lot. I am mean a lot. And loudly did I mention loudly? He also does not know the meaning of the word polite as I offered to share my nachos with him on Thursday night and he proceeded to eat Every. Single. One. I was alternately amused and horrified. All in all, it was a very good week on both my teaching and writing fronts.

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

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