Perfect Pronunciation and (Another) Student Surfeit

This week at Inkreadable, dear readers, proved to be quite interesting on a couple of different levels. You all might not know that I am at time management guru and can pretty much do quite a lot In the space of five minutes. I mean that literally. Working for  VIPKid has taught me that I can do laundry or at least put it in the washer or the dryer in five minutes as well as take a bathroom break and possibly even eat something. What’s the reason for this, you ask? It’s simple. I used to be able to speak my texts into my phone to leave feedback to students and largely do that in the five minutes between my classes. I now type my feedback through the classes and submit it before the class is over and that way I can actually take a five minute break. As a result I can do quite a lot in the five minutes. That time management extends to every part of my life and I’m pretty well able to schedule my week of lessons starting from the Friday before.

Remember when I was having trouble figuring out how to teach pronunciation with Katya last week? My colleague Regina gave me the absolutely wonderful idea of doing a lesson on the schwa sound and it worked really well. Largely because I made funny faces and stuck my tongue out a lot.  In last night’s class, we worked on much and many, as well as countable and uncountable nouns. I know that’s not really pronunciation, but it is a major focus of one of the things that Polish speakers of English do. But I am confident that I can incorporate some pronunciation into the lesson. And since I have incorporated different media into the lesson including a film and games as well as the grammar Katya seems to remain engaged.

With my adult student who is in Poland, I have crafted lessons around the grammar points but I=in the context of different topics that my student enjoys. As they are an hour it’s not terribly difficult to fill them up with different things. I have found a system that works for me and that makes it helpful. And while it’s not the conventional Celta formation of classes, it works just fine. There is a warmer, control practice, and independent study within The lesson. I do try to make it worth the students time and money they pay me. Luckily we have some of the same interests so it’s been interesting crafting  a conditionals lesson through superstitions.

Over in VIPKid land, things are not as wonderful as it seems of the 32 hours that I’m opening I still only get about 18-20.  I got so annoyed about this that I sent them a ticket. The response I got was:

Hi Teacher Katerina,

Thank you so much for your email.

We are sorry to hear that you are also affected with low booking and we understand that you wanted to know why. We truly appreciate your dedication to teach more student. Please keep in mind that having a lot of booking or trial bookings is a parent decision. As we check in your profile, we can see that your account is regular that means nothing wrong with your profile. Your slot are also visible to every students and parents.Please know that most of the student are now returning to school. This cause low booking to most of the teacher. We have taken note of your request to teach more classes.Lets work together to achieved a good booking. We hope this action will help you get more booking and we are excited to see you teaching more classes.If you need assistance do not hesitate to email us and we are more than happy to assist you.

Warm regards,



Thanks for nuthin’ VIPKid. I really wish that VIPKid would freeze teacher hiring and give a chance for their current teachers to see a spike in bookings. I’m not the only one complaining, and as you can see VIP is also aware. In fact, this was a topic and Sunday nights zoom drinks with 7 other VIPKid teachers from across Europe. Those are going well. And they are a lot of fun. We have gotten around the 40 minute zoom rule by simply going back into the meeting and enjoying ourselves for a further 40 minutes. We did that three times which I think is a perfect length for a meeting. 8 to 10 and done. That is Amsterdam time zone otherwise known as central European summertime. Which is actually a big time zone. But still, there were people who could not figure out time zones and so we had a lot of people not able to attend. Facebook indicated that we could set up a meeting without a time zone so that everybody will see the schedule meeting in their own time zone. But I do not know how to do that.

Over at the English Center, I am happily teaching my private clients in the city center and we are maintaining a suitable distance as well as using lots of hand gel and washing our hands a lot. Instead of it being my two real estate guys, it is my one real estate guy and his son. So I’ve had to modify the lessons so that they’re a little bit tailored to both of them. For example last night we talked about prepositions and I got to show some super cool videos and play some games. The games, one a posing game, where one person goes out of the room another person poses and the students write down what they see. They then try to tell the student who was outside the room how to achieve the same pose. Is great with more students but worked ok with just the three of us. “Where is the…” worked in person as well as working online. In it you take an object and put it in different places and have the students explain where they are.

On Friday of last week, I was asked to welcome a fourth student into the PIE class that I’m running. I was excited because that makes an even number of students if she attends.  If so I could have started using the breakout room feature on zoom which I haven’t been able to as yet. But alas, the student opted to wait until the summer to take the course. It’s just as well. I mean she had missed 3 lessons so far.

You remember that I sent an email to my clients in the suburbs in Amsterdam but got no response from either my young man in the north or the one that I teach in Amstelveen about starting classes early. I have reached out multiple times to the young man’s parents, But no response. I’m wondering how much I should push the issue. There is also been no response from the client in Amstelveen and I’m not sure how far to push that either. These are all problems for another day.

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

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