I do mean the first part of the title both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, both Carlton and Katya were absent this week. Over in Poland, the teachers have gone on strike to demand better pay. Intrinsically, I have no problem with this. Teachers should be paid as the professionals that they are. And not just that. They should be given the respect they are due as teachers. When I was in school, my parents listened to the teacher much more than they listened to me. It’s one of the reasons that my high school experience wasn’t as optimal as it could’ve been. The teachers at my school told my parents that I was not capable of doing the work in the same way that other children were. It must’ve been the case for many children in my age group because now as parents they have gone completely the other way and the child rules both the roost and the school. It seems that a teacher can’t go into a parent-teacher conference without being made to feel that they’re doing something wrong with precious little Bobby/ Tommy/ Cindy. However, I’m not sure I support an honest to goodness teacher strike with the kids don’t go to school at all. In the first place, it causes instability in the routine. The teacher strike in Poland has been going on for almost a month and looks like it will continue into May. As a result, Katya’s mom has asked to suspend lessons with me. So my love affair with Katya is slated to be on hold at least till June if not longer than that. I am vain enough to continue hoping that I am still her favorite teacher when I do see her, and have just low enough self-esteem to hope she remembers me at all.
Over in the sticks of Amsterdam, (no place can really be called the sticks in Amsterdam since the whole country is planned out to such an extent that, really if it hasn’t happened already, in the next 20 years every little village is going to become a suburb of either Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven or Maastricht. Apologies to my Dutch readers if I’ve forgotten any cities. I know Jasper won’t care as for him the only city that really matters is Amsterdam), Carlton was once again a no-show. Mom wanted to have a lesson on Monday instead of Tuesday but as I was traveling that was not possible. So two of my students literally stopped me in my tracks. Luckily I still have VIPKid going fairly strong and there is always Felix. With Felix this week, it was a full five hours of lessons one of which went outside because the weather turned out beautiful on Friday. That was a conversation lesson as I am not home and have no access to my materials. Where were you, you ask? I was cat sitting an extremely cantankerous cat who is upset that his people are not there. I started the cat sitting gig last Thursday and it went till yesterday. The cat did not stop crying the whole time I was there. No, I’m wrong. He did. When he was outside and when he was eating. The rest of the time he would not be quiet. This was not good for my literal traction. I’m not sure if I told you, dear readers, but a couple months back I injured my knee and have been walking with a pronounced and decided limp ever since. After going to the doctor and getting no help and then going to the Physio and getting a little bit of help, I went back to the doctor after London and they finally told me it was bursitis and there was not much they could do. Climbing up and down stairs is excruciating. Doesn’t make it easy to sit or stand to teach. Both are painful. I know because I have the empirical evidence and the swollen knee to prove it. Between pain and little sleep, I almost titled this post Teacher Tired 2.0.
The bright light in all of this has been both looking forward to and anticipating teaching with The English Center, and last Thursday I got back to my writing a little bit. It was such a beautiful Thursday evening we took the group out into the streets of Amsterdam and went to a pub, sat outside, and did a bit of writing. I’m not sure we would’ve done very much writing if we hadn’t had an enterprising new writer in the group who really wanted to write. So here’s a shout out to Monique and a thank you.
Tomorrow I am off to one of The English Center’s locations to shadow a teacher and see if they do anything different than I do. I’m hoping their teaching styles are not so very different from my own so that I can get started. Well, that’s assuming that they have clients. Come to think of it, that leads to the second of figurative teacher tractions for me. Well, maybe it’s better to call it limbo. You see, I used to schedule VIPKid two weeks out. But because I’m not sure if I’m going to be teaching truly short notice private classes with English Center, I didn’t schedule classes for VIPKid for this week until Wednesday of last week. What I saw when I opened lessons is that not all of them booked. In fact, very few of them have booked. I hope this trend does not continue because I’ve had to respond in the negative to priority booking requests. I’m going to continue looking on the bright side of life, and hope that it’s a fluke and that my slots fill by the time I need to teach them.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.