This week at Inkreadable, dear readers, was an interesting one. In the first place, it was another government holiday in the Netherlands. Of course, I forgot, and so did not open up six hours worth of slots until well after the frenzy for VIPKd. What that meant was that I only taught the 2 1/2 hours that I actually booked. It’s getting a little bit more and more difficult when even your non-short notice bookings are not filling. And then there was the lovely email from VIPKid saying I had been invited to qualify for the Chinese state authorities TEFL certificate along with, I’m sure, 100,000 of my colleagues. While I don’t have a problem with another certification, I do when it is the same certification as my CELTA. In addition, instead of the workaround for taking quizzes at VIPKid you actually have to go through the material again. Let me explain. In the past, you could take a quiz for a certification for VIPKid and as long as you didn’t exit out of your answers you could submit and see what you had gotten wrong. Then you could go through and see how many you could get right, and if you did this several times you were guaranteed to pass. Eventually. The same cannot be said of this new certification. We actually have to go through the 20 hours of self paced learning. Also, VIPKid lied. They said it was free. It’s only free if you decide not to pay for a valid certification number that is visible to parents and that you can use with other online companies. I think that’s a rip off. They should have been straightforward and transparant from the beginning. I will likely di it and pay for it as I am afraid that with bookings the way they are, I will need an online gig. And the largest online ESL teaching market is currently China, so I’ma have to suck it up.
Over at the English Center, things turned interesting when I realized that I had gone through two lessons in one day and got through past tenses In a single lesson for my Pre-Intermediate course. That’s never happened before. So I had to scramble to figure out what I was going to teach my students the following week. With Thursday being the aforementioned public holiday I had a week to figure something out. Anyhoo, I told my class that the following Tuesday would be a review of the future tense and an all tense review and they better get ready. In addition, I gave them enough homework to encompass all of the tenses that we had learned on Tuesday. Let’s see how they do with them and how many mistakes they make. Also, I wonder if I’m up to the challenge of grading so much homework. It has been a bit of a challenge, dear readers, to come up with content and material that is appropriate both for a nine-year-old boy and his 39-year-old father. But I have persevered and as I have both adult friendly and kid friendly items in my repertoire for everything that I’ve taught. It’s been interesting trying to get them to work together to learn English. What’s also a bit surprising is that they are a little bit competitive with each other but it’s a wonderful relationship and we have a lot of fun. As my student said, “we just click”. It’s been really nice seeing students in person and I’m loving getting back to normal at least a little bit.
In terms of my two private clients, Katya and I are firmly working our way through English pronunciation through reading out loud, minimal pairs, Onset and rhyme, tongue twisters and all manner of lovely pronunciation exercises. I think I’ve hit my stride with her, but I think also that at the rate that I charge there isn’t all that much that is expected. What pleasantly surprised me, is that my other Polish student has an English assessment and she has wanted to double our meetings until the assessment which means a little bit of extra money for me and the opportunity to teach some higher order things. For example, last week we spent on the conditionals all of them except zero conditional which are for facts. As a result, we had some really fun times playing games with uncertainty and things we might have done had we known other conditions. I do love advanced students.
As it was a public holiday in Amsterdam, and no one posted anything for the critique group, we took a vacation for Wednesday night. As a result I did absolutely nothing. That isn’t strictly true. I did a little bit of writing of my own and had a great time flushing out a character backstory. While it wasn’t strictly for the novel, it was an interesting exercise in trying to figure something out.
We also had a bit of tech trouble at my house this week with the Internet falling out during a particularly delicate situation whereby Jasper was attending the video funeral of a family member. I was on a break at the time from VIPKid and the Internet came back just as I was set to go back into class. I got really lucky. We did place a call to the Internet provider and they gave us some suggestions and I’m hopeful that that will resolve the issue. But knowing my luck and my house ,at least as it’s been over the last six months, I’m a little bit jaded by now.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.