Teacher Tired

Getting back into the swing of things this week at Inkreadable has proven more difficult than I thought. VIPKid continues to be fairly easy which is good. I have a fairly steady loyal following of people and my followers increase very slowly, but they do increase. In the last week, I think I have gotten three or four new regulars. This will come in handy once I have to start teaching on Sundays again. I’m not really looking forward to that but it doesn’t seem like glorious teaching free weekends are going to remain indefinitely. The only drawback with VIPKid and their rating system is that your raise is dependent on how many five Apple reviews you get from parents. So basically for the last year I’ve been five Apple whoring myself out and begging for good reviews. I find this a very smarmy practice, frankly. Be that as it may, I do have the requisite percentage which is 25% each month for a year so when I sign contracts seven I should get my 50 cent per class raise. I swear, I’m the only one on the planet who doesn’t think that that’s great money.

Felix came back from vacation and we got back into teaching verbs. Because conditions are extremely difficult both to learn and to teach, I’ve decided to slow things way down and use two lessons to teach conditionals, but break it up with other things that Felix finds difficult. Like many students, the third person singular in the present is a bit confusing for him as he tends to add an s to conjugations other than third person singular. For instance, he’ll add an S to “we wake”, making it “we wakes”. In addition, he has some trouble with pronouns as well. I don’t really have concrete lesson plans already made up as the mistakes that people make vary. Plus, there are specific English language mistakes that different first language learners make.

In the suburbs of Amsterdam, Carlton was a no-show yet again. This time his mom canceled before the 24-hour mark. I am not sure how many sessions I’m actually going to have a Carlton if this continues. The focus with Carlton needs to change as he seems to be getting good marks in reading and math in school. Where he falls behind is handwriting and spelling. I am not sure how to teach either of these as it’s not my forte however there are a lot of materials online about how to teach spelling patterns and so I’ve been studying up and I think I have an idea. Handwriting I think it’s just gonna take lots and lots of practice. When I was growing up I had the same issue with him writing because I’m left-handed and my fine motor skills are quite lacking. So my mom took passages from children’s books that we had around the house and forced me to copy them neatly. It was my grandmother however who taught me how to hold a pencil in the same way as a person who is right-handed hold a pencil. Left-handed people tend to write upside down that is their hand both follows the text, but also results in slanted handwriting. I think the same technique will work for Carlton next time I see him. The trick is going to be finding something that he wants to write. The child only likes football and I don’t know enough about football, a.k.a. soccer to make things interesting for him.

I also only saw Katya once this week. This time it was my fault. On Wednesday, I went over to an English language café to reconnect with the English teacher there. She is Greek Canadian and has been here for five years. I had connected with her on a previous visit to the English language café and we had exchanged details. I had sent her my resume, but in the mad dash of the post-holiday season, I lost track of that.  But my mission was successful as in this language café, we pinned each other down and are going to get together in about a weeks time. I am hopeful that she may have some ideas for next steps here in Amsterdam. I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have to start teaching evenings.

I am letting a couple of weeks pass before contacting Susan and seeing both how her mom is and how her move went. I will gently nudge her into giving me an idea of when she plans to start lessons with me again. I am not sure if she’s going to be able to but itis worth a try.

Writing continues to be a source of inspiration. I have decided that there’s no reason why I cannot write on a Thursday night. And whether it’s 200 words or 2000 words any limit is OK. I also have a couple of friends with whom I can write in pairs and we are meeting this weekend. Jasper goes to Germany and so I am on my own from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday. This likely means that I won’t see Jasper until sometime at the end of the week. I’m going to take the quiet time and try to get ahead on a few lessons, as well as try and get a jump on finishing the short story for the German market.

With all of the above stuff on my plate plus a bunch that I don’t write about because it’s not about teaching or writing, is it any wonder that the title of this post is teacher tired? That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.

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