Go, Go Gadget Games

Perhaps, dear readers, I’m dating myself with the title of this week’s post,  and all of you can tell just how old I am. But, maybe, just maybe, we are about the same because I think most of you have children. So you understand the reference, and if you don’t, there is always Google. It’s an appropriate title however because that’s exactly what I did on two different occasions this past week. Played games, not solved a mystery incompetently.

We will start as ever, with TEC. My real estate boys were at half strength this week as one of them had a meeting. His partner in crime attended the class as normal but brought his son with him as it was a study day for the schools. When I was a kid I loved teacher professional days because of course, it meant that I could stay home from school. I am not so enamored of them now as I am the teacher and have to actually attend. What do you do when you have a 40-year-old and a nine-year-old in the class with you? Yep, you guessed it. You play games. Accordingly, we played Taboo. Which proved interesting because of course, I brought the upper intermediate cards and not the intermediate ones. So I had to adapt. Instead of playing taboo we just played,  guess the word. Where there were no rules you just had to figure out how to say the word without using the word itself. There were no other restrictions. Still, it was a little bit more complicated for my nine-year-old then for his father. But the nine-year-old showed promise in other areas. In the middle of the game, I gave a little bit of a grammar lesson with articles. Articles are a lot easier in English than in other languages and yet they still cause problems. In English with an article, it is spelling based and has rules. InDutch there are a few rules, but De and het and when do use them are quite troublesome for me still. The kid, will call him Evan, picked up articles and what I was trying to accomplish quite quickly while it took dad a few minutes. It wasn’t so much the articles that were a problem, but the exceptions for the dad. Evan understood that sometimes H and U function as either a vowel in the case of H, or a consonant in the case of U when it it sounds like  Y. It took dad a little bit longer to grasp. But what I learned from the lesson is that games are a good fail safe When unexpected situations come up. Accordingly the weekend was spent filing away games that could be used across a variety of different ages.

I also scored a rather big win at TEC last week. I was able to convince my returning student at Amsterlvween to increase his sessions from once every two weeks to once a week for a total of 18 hours. I also convinced him to switch his day to Monday so that I can combine it with my Japanese couple, thereby allowing me to be in Amstelveen once every week. But I have a dilemma with that as well. I have one more lesson in the package with my couple, and while I would like to continue with them, it doesn’t make sense right now. After the last lesson if they sign for another package of four, it doesn’t make sense to start until I come back from the US. Even I think that is a very long time to wait. In essence, they’ll be waiting most of November and all of December. It breaks down like this: I could do November 11, but my client can’t do the 18th, and I am in Scotland on the 22nd through 25 November, I could do a lesson on the 25th as I get in mid-day but do I really want to? The answer to that is a fairly vehement no, If not the very vehement hell no. In any case, I think I need to talk to the powers that be because I could conceivably give them a lesson on 2 December and that would leave one less in the package when I come back in January. It’s a dilemma to be sure because I need to work. I also have my last two lessons with my philosophical student who loves deep conversations in English. To that end, my last two lessons with him will be about philosophy itself. We will see how it plays out as I try to combine vocabulary I am teaching him, with a philosophical idea I have found on a Ted Talk, and various grammar issues.

The potential from last week’s post, turned into a bit of an experiment as I went to a social evening with adults I didn’t know to do an evening of English conversation in the context of games on Wednesday night. This was hosted by the owner of the conversation playground and I learned a couple of things about myself during the course of the evening. One: numbers are important. If you have a meet up that involves teaching exact numbers become extremely important in the context of group size. I started getting pissed off that the meetup organizers asked us to RSVP and we weren’t allowed to bring guests but our guest had to RSVP for themselves, As happened with me and my friend who is also an English teacher looking for other work. I thought it was intrusive and a bit of a turn off. And it turns out I was a bit clairvoyant as well. You see, dear readers, the inevitable meet up snafu happens. More people showed up then RSVPed and it made the numbers a little bit difficult. Two: I learned that 22 people is too big for class. It is difficult and unmanageable as was proven by the evening. There was no clear organization into groups, we just moved around and randomly were stopped, like we would when [laying freeze tag and then divided into groups where we were standing. On balance, as a technique for separating quickly it worked well. But I prefer a more structured approach and that was a good thing to learn about oneself. Also, we played a game called Articulate!. Otherwise known as the British version of taboo. They also modify the game like I do but still, it proved very difficult for certain speakers in the group. Still a fun time was had by all.

In private client world, I was able to give a business card at the Games  evening, and perhaps gain a client. You’ll see though that has been largely hit or miss. Felix and I continue our two hour weekly lessons and on balance I think I really like the longer lesson once a week. Since the day finishes at one I am able to do something interesting on Sunday. And this Sunday I went to the Hermitage Amsterdam to look at shiny rocks with my travel partner in crime. It was a lovely visit and if you’re ever in the neighborhood I highly recommend. Also if you need a room that is in central Amsterdam hit me up, I am happy to host.

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

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