Class Confirmed and Creative Critique

It was, dear readers, a rather nerve-racking week at Inkreadable. In fact, it was probably more nerve-racking than the previous two weeks where I was waiting to hear about that gig at the conversation playground that never materialized. You see, I had hoped that I would have a class scheduled for the English Center by at least Tuesday evening. But that was not to be. I did not get notification that I was teaching until Wednesday evening. For a Thursday class. All I can say is, thank goodness, that it was a class that I had taught twice before and didn’t have too much preparation to do in terms of each class. What was a little frightening was sending a letter to the students with some useful links and the like as well as procedures, and having one of my students answer that she wanted me to have our first contacts in either Spanish or Dutch. But, it’s an English class I thought. And as I don’t speak either of those languages, either at all in the case of Spanish, or comfortably enough to write in it with any fluency as is the case with Dutch. Still I ran it through a decent translator and sent it off and she seemed to be happy with that. But if you’re going to try and take a language you should try to speak that language is what I think.

There was also good news on the COVID-19 front here in the Netherlands and we are going to start teaching in-person private lessons starting this coming week. I am a little bit concerned as that means that Jasper has a higher chance of issues but I am so sick and tired of being in my house and seeing my in real life students on the computer screen that I am willing to take the chance. These two students are best friends and have been spending time with each other and their families. I think I can safely assume that neither one of them is carrying COVID-19, but will take precautions just in case. We are going to maintain a one and a half meter distance between each other and I’m going to try and teach a class like that. If it doesn’t work we can always go back to the online model if we need to. I also took the precaution of sending a letter to my other student with English Center who I’m supposed to see in September. He might want to start a bit earlier now that we’ve relaxed restrictions and figured I would give him that option if he wants. So it may be that I will be heading out to Amstelveen as well. That’s gonna be a bit of trouble as we’re going to have to start wearing masks On public transport after 1 June and I don’t have one. But there’s no point in worrying about that just now as I haven’t heard whether he wants lessons in person earlier than 1 September.

Remember how I said I wasn’t going to have a problem teaching pronunciation to Katya? I was wrong. While there is a hell of a lot of stuff online about pronunciation, making it engaging for a nine-year-old is extremely difficult. I could feel that she was bored by the end of our first lesson and couldn’t wait to get out of there. And I couldn’t really blame her. I’m going to have to try and figure out how to make pronunciation interesting and relevant online. Because while tongue twisters are fun and they do teach pronunciation they are much more fun in person. Ditto with games. I think I’m going to have to call in reinforcements And really what that means is I’m just gonna call Regina. She also teaches kids nearly full-time and online so maybe she has some ideas.

We had our first critique group on Wednesday evening last week and it went really well. I got some really interesting critique and was happy to give good critique to another member of the group. I got some very interesting feedback about my own writing that I hadn’t considered and would have to possibly change quite a few things to be able to make the writing more fluid. But that’s exactly why I asked for critique. I am not sure that I’m gonna keep all the suggestions but that’s what critique it is isn’t it? It’s a suggestion and the author has to know what critique to save and what critique to let go. After all, a work in progress has to end sometime and you have to be calm enough to know when that is, as well as when to say enough is enough and go ahead and publish. For me it’s a little bit more simple I’m having some trouble writing myself out of a corner and also ending the novel. It doesn’t help that my process is disruptive in this time of COVID-19 and I can’t do any writing in my house. I simply don’t have that discipline.

The loosening of regulations is happening in the Netherlands gradually. Starting this week we are able to go get haircuts, do our nails, go get massages, and go to the library. I suspect that also means that I can go to the bookstore as well. But all of these have population restrictions. We can only be 30 people at a time in any place. But even with that I am extremely excited because it means that I can go do things like get my hair done. I look like a witch. I do not gray well.

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

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