Teaching Tactics and Writing Relief

This week at Inkreadable proved to be very interesting indeed. On Monday, I was able to get back into the swing of teaching VIPKid and Felix since I was no longer sick. Or at least, not sick enough to cancel. We have finished up conditionals and have started adverbs. Since we already tackled adjectives, the next logical step is adverbs versus adjectives. Even I never realized how many adverbs there are. Also, there are a million and one uses of adverbs, that as a native speaker of English I take for granted. So I’m learning a lot about my own language while teaching other people. Last week, I saw Felix our normal three times per week but had to switch one of the days to Thursday because I was running around doing stuff affecting my life in the US. I also saw him last night and that will be our last time until next week. He and his boyfriend are going to Israel. To say that I am jealous is an understatement. There are no words for how jealous I am, I don’t think. I’m gonna have to look that up. He also told me that his boyfriend wants him to start practicing for job interviews. So that’s the plan when he comes back from Israel. It gives me a time frame to be able to prep lessons and mock interviews.

I finally saw Katya last Monday. We have decided to go down to once a week as she is too busy with other activities and has no more time for me. Since I only ever play games with her based on what we (by which I mean her mom and myself) decide she needs to strengthen. And since she really is only a student so that I can show the Dutch tax office that I have more than one client, I am absolutely OK with that. I have found that watching endless Peppa Pig videos, works well for Katya. She answers my comprehension questions well and is able to follow along with the story. It helps that children’s programming has very clear speech generally. I found that in all of the languages that I’ve studied. For my own attempts at Dutch, I find the children’s programming is great for my learning vocabulary and improving my listening skills.

Over in the sticks of Amsterdam, otherwise known as Carlton’s house, last Tuesday was worse than Grand Central Station. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more people come through the door of a private home then I did that day. The doorbell rang at least seven times in the hour I was with him. It proved a little distracting for him as he wanted to open the door every time. I had to be a little bit firm with him and nearly force him to stay in the chair. In addition, he was particularly cheeky and said some very risque things. I think he was just trying to push my buttons by seeing how far he could take his knowledge of English bad words. But at one point he got very unflattering towards me and then I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I did tell his mom after and she agreed that I had done the right thing. I have discovered an incredible spelling website with 36 weeks of new words for Carlton. And also many exercises for me to go through with him. I gave the master list to his mom and she was very pleased. It seems that my prep for Carlton has gotten less and less. I love being able to find everything I need on the Internet. That’s me done and dusted until July.

In spite of having to change my story for the German market to match the drawing that my partner has planned, the writing goes particularly well. I have set myself a goal of 500 words on Thursdays and the same again sometime on the weekend. Thursday’s goal was met, and I met up with another friend on the weekend to do some writing. So I was able to increase my story significantly. If my partner doesn’t like this story I’m not sure what I’m going do. Maybe toss the laptop in the trash.

I am happier than you can imagine at this turn of events. Not the rewrite, you understand, but the return to writing consistently. After such a long time not being able to be productive in the writer’s group on Thursdays, I have discovered the secret. Wireless headphones plus radio. It was illuminating, to say the least, but brought me back as well to my high school days because that’s how I used to study. My mom never believed that I could get anything done that way. One of my members has the same problem with her boss. She listens to podcasts while she works and he saw her switch a screen and thought she was watching TV. She wasn’t. When she explained that, he didn’t believe her either, and said that if he caught her doing it again she would be fired. I think it’s a ridiculous reason to be fired myself as people work and learn in different ways. Not all students are going to learn by rote. Some are going to be kinesthetic learners while some are going to be audio-visual learners.

It was an interesting story to hear and it .gave me ideas for both Carlton and Felix. Also, hearing of other peoples trials and tribulations in the workforce makes me quite happy that I am essentially self-employed. It almost makes me sorry that I updated my resume and got some leads from my friend who is the English teacher here. Do I really want to get into being tied down to somebody else’s hours? It’s a conundrum certainly.

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

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