After last week’s relative quiet, life at Inkreadable roared to supersonic speed. In the first place, Carlton was back on my schedule. I had thought that being In Egypt with his parents would have made him a little bit more amenable to working with me. My thought was that I would get him to talk about what he did while there in the Simple Past as that is what they are working on at school. Boy, was I wrong. I came into the lesson fully prepared to coax him into writing descriptively about the trip using verbs that I have found online. I printed out these verbs and had him pick eight past tense verbs. His response when I asked him to write about Egypt using those verbs was “I literally did nothing for a week. I didn’t see anything, I didn’t go anywhere, I didn’t do anything”. I am quite skeptical of that answer, but as his mom was not there I wasn’t able to get the proof that I needed that he wasn’t lying. So quick thinker that I am, I had him make sentences using the verb’s instead, That took over half the lesson. I added the dimension that the sentences had to be using all the personal pronouns not just “I”. Because Carlton in his seven-year-old wisdom, only likes using “I” as though no other personal pronoun exists. So the point was to try and get him to write sentences using all the pronouns. I did manage to do that but that’s where teacher temper comes in. He was so disrespectful that I was shocked. This was a whole new level. This wasn’t a kid being cheeky but cute. This was a spoiled brat who was rude. Basically, his attitude was “you’re not really a teacher And I don’t have to listen to you.” When asked if he treated his teacher in school like this, his response was “no but she’s a real teacher”. So my response to that was “if you feel that way then go and tell your mom that you want to stop lessons and we can stop. But for the hour that I am with you, I expect you to sit still, and do your work.” I did wish that his parents were there to hear the disrespect and able to discipline him right away. I did tell his sister what was going on and she said she would tell her parents. But it really made me angry and I don’t really enjoy having to be like that. I don’t like tattling to parents but I wasn’t about to let him get away with the behavior either.
Janice made a return to my schedule and I will say that I found it very refreshing to be able to teach her. We had the first session via Skype and I had forgotten how difficult it is to teach on that platform. You really can only have conversation classes. Zoom is a far better platform for teaching online. They have a whiteboard, You can also draw on the screen, and they have a remote control feature where you can give your student access so that they can click on stuff and be interactive. The problem with Zoom is that only forty minuted of use is free. Anything more you need to pay for. If Janice and I continue online then maybe I will consider buying a subscription. She made a nice replacement for Felix who is still away in Algeria.
My temper was extremely frayed as well because all of my tech deciding not to work all at once. First, the backup computer mouse function went away for a good hour and I couldn’t restart it. It turns out I had pressed down on the trackpad and activated something weird. Other pieces of tech not related to teaching also decided to act up causing me to have to run around to get everything fixed. Which wasted precious time that I could’ve used lesson planning. I never believed that Mercury being in retrograde caused tech to fail. I always thought it was hippy trippy nonsense. I believe it now.
Jasper’s parents Are staying with me. They arrived on Friday and are staying here until the 17th. So there will be lots of stuff to do with them, but in the middle, I have to sandwich my lesson planning because of my tech issues. It promises to be both fun and stressful. Jasper has been sick for about 2 1/2 weeks and that has been difficult for both of us. Because he’s been primarily staying with me. I’m not sure how much entertaining I can actually do.
My temper continued to fray at the Writers Group. We did not meet on 30 May because it is Ascension Day and that is celebrated here. By which I mean it’s a nationwide holiday. When we met this past Thursday we were mostly returning Writers with one or two new people. My bete noire, we’ll call him Milton, was there and drove me crazy the entire time. I swear, he is somewhere on the spectrum. In addition one of the two new writers was the personality type that I really don’t like. The “I know everything better than you do, and I am going to prove it at the top of my lungs type”. Needless to say, not much writing was done.
I will say that I have been enjoying my English Center clients quite a lot. I have a 17-year-old who wants to move to Britain to study film and a 14-year-old that I’m coaching who is moving to Canada and needs help with her English. She also lives in the neighborhood and so we get to talk about the types of things that she likes to do. At least that was Thursday’s lesson. I also see her later today and will probably do more with verbs. I am planning a game for her called rather random, in which you have to answer and ask “would you rather” questions. I have an adult who is an energy trader and that has proven quite interesting. My Spanish student who wants accent reduction had been sick for two lessons was back on my schedule on Friday, as well as a young man who is trying to prepare for an English exam. It was a busy week, but fulfilling in a way that VIPKid hasn’t been. I mean, the kids are still cute and fun, but the lessons are mind-numbingly boring.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.