This week, dear readers, at Inkreadable, was anything but quiet. Remember in my last post I mentioned that it was a legal holiday here in the Netherlands? That meant that my Dutch student and his son wereabsent as it was a school holiday as well. I tried to fill up the slots with VIPKid but was not very successful. I worked a whole two hours. That’s 1 June. All except for a couple of extra hours with my Polish adult student.
I am not sure if you remember, dear readers, but she was preparing for an English language exam for a job that she has been applying for for the last four months. We prepared like mad for a speaking exam that it turned out wasn’t even in English. I did get a chance to help her over Sunday and Monday, which was the assessment day, with the writing portion of the assessment. You’ll remember that as it was children’s day I also didn’t have Katya as she was also on holiday as well. My schedule with my private clients is going to change. Monday will be my new heavy day. I’ll be working An hour and a half for The English Center, then one and a half to two hours for VIPKid, then Katya and Caroline will be the last hour and a half of the day.
Over at The English Center, my class is slowly winding its way to its inevitable end. There is no word yet whether I’ll be teaching anymore classes for them as yet. I hope that I will get more classes. To that end, remember when I was freaking out last week about how I had perhaps stuck my foot in it by telling the English Center that I was done with online? I took the preemptive measure of writing the group coordinator and telling her that it was more a comment on spending 3 1/2 years working online rather than a specific English Center complaint. I also told her to please bring on the work.
One of the issues with teaching a class where the people are all at different levels in terms of their English, is that it’s very hard to teach higher order concepts. This was especially true last week Thursday, when I was teaching Phrasal verbs. Two of my students were able to get simple phrasal verbs but the other student had a hard time. She was able to read them and find them in sentences, but using them in sentences of her own was troublesome. I’m not sure how to fix the problem, because I really think that phrasal verbs are important even at the B1 level and don’t want to get rid of the lesson.
Over in VIPKid world, things continue to disintegrate in a way that is quite alarming. At least for me. My bookings continue to take a nosedive and my parents are telling me that it’s very hard to book my classes. Apparently where I show blue and free, they should grayed out and unable to book. Since I’m not the one who is in charge of booking my own schedule, there must be trouble with VIPKid. I now believe that they are purposefully closing off the slots that parents can see especially for veteran teachers. I’ve also heard rumors that there are incentives for parents not to book veteran teachers but to go with newer teachers who are cheaper. In fact, I have seen posts just like that on the We have value Facebook group that is striking on 20 June. If that is the case, that is worrisome indeed. And I need to start looking for other opportunities. It’s not something I’m looking forward to. This is also the focus of the Sunday night drinks that I host via Zoom for the VIPKid EU Expats. This week we were Netherlands heavy with four of us actually being in the country and the other two were Ireland and Portugal. Our bookings and the state of affairs dominated the conversation for two hours. I’m not sure when we’ll be able to talk about other things that aren’t bookings related but it’s nice to have something in common with other teachers and be able to bitch about it without reprisals. I’m still not convinced that because I’m in the Facebook protest group my bookings haven’t been targeted for that reason.
This week marked the first time that I have seen my friends from the Writers group, at least three of them. The Netherlands, dear readers, is opening up and cafés and restaurants are allowed to have a maximum of 30 people. What that means is that we need to make a booking and also for tracing purposes, fill out a form as to whether we’ve been sick in the last 14 days or not. I am not sure if I told you this, but I went to the Black Lives Matter protest here in Amsterdam on 1 June. I think I didn’t mention it because it’s not really the focus of my blog but on the way home from there, I stopped at O’Reilly’s, otherwise known as our local, I made a reservation for four. It was so magical to see people that I haven’t seen in three months. It was a wonderful time of catching up and food. We’d been communicating throughout the dutch version of the lockdown, but it was just nice to sit with real people who are adults who understood me and the trials of writing. To that end, we have decided to meet once every other week or so. I am going to suggest that we try different restaurants, however, as one of the group members is vegetarian and a man cannot eat veggie nachos every couple of weeks.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.