Teacher Tonic and a Shifting schedule

This week at Inkreadable, dear reader, was fairly quiet. With no pre-intermediate English class on the books, I was able to open up most of my schedule to VIPKid, of course, that didn’t mean that I was teaching five hours a day as I had been previously, but at 3 1/2 hours a day I really can’t complain. That schedule continues to shift immeasurably, with students place-holding. This is not a new trend in VIPKid and numerous Facebook posts both across my own group as well as larger groups have been showing it for the last year. I choose however, to look on the bright side with this as it has allowed me to go to the gym more consistently and not wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning to do it. Which as summer draws closer to fall, here in the Netherlands, gets more and more difficult yearly. I find I simply do not have that stamina, as much as I love mornings, I simply can’t get up when it’s that dark.

With September just a couple of weeks away, and Jasper having a holiday on 11 September, we are planning a small holiday to Friesland and are going to stay in a hotel in Leeuwarden. I have never been up north and so this will be a first for me. What surprises me is that generally Jasper does not like to travel within the Netherlands, which seems to be generally a Dutch affliction. It seems that culturally they don’t want to necessarily be tourists in their own country. And so they prefer to stay in their own home cities and travel abroad. This is the antithesis of what I perceive to be American travel culture where we drive for thousands of miles to see our own country, and unless you have a lot of money in the US, they don’t travel abroad that much. The exception, of course, is being a child of immigrants, and going to Greece every summer from the age of five to the age of 45. Of course that too has its limiting factors as one cannot say that staying in a Greek village is an expansion of culture, rather it’s an extension of being quite limited in your access to foreign travel. I’m happy to do more of it as an adult, and as well as having parents that were able to afford more than just going to Greece, I got to see more places than most kids my own age. It really did give birth to a travel bug that continues to this day. I particularly like day trips and weekends away. I went on a day trip on Sunday, with my friends Gretchen and Erica. We went up to Geithoorn which is a pretty village about an hour and a half car ride from Amsterdam. It was lovely. It was a bit of a shit day in terms of weather so we planned a museum visit and walking in a national forest. We were driven by Gretchen’s boyfriend who is a wonderful young man by the name of Tijs. It was a great day and balm to my soul as I had been getting very tired of being in Amsterdam. Thus the first portion of the title.

The waning of summer into fall generally makes me happy. While I don’t like the shortening of days and the lengthening of nights that happens here in the Netherlands, I do like being able to wear fall clothes again and being able to drink hot tea with more regularity. But with it, dear readers, comes the uptick of lessons from the English Center. It looks like I will be traveling to Amstelveen three times a week. What that does to my schedule is a hell of a lesson in time management. I thought I was a pretty good time manager up until this point. But between the private clients that I have, and their shifting schedules as well as the addition of this new client by TEC, the resumption of classes with clients that have been put on hold because of COVID-19 or summer break, means that I’m going to be running around on transport quite a bit. I guess I am lucky that while in the Hague a couple weeks back at the Greek embassy, I bought a mask that is permanent.

I am always a little bit stressed out starting lessons with a new student as I have to do an intake every time I start a new package. The new student in Amstelveen seems to be from Russia and has gotten a 47 out of 50 on an English level test. What that means to me is that I’m going to have to up my game and pitch the lesson just right. I’m not sure if you remember, dear reader, but late last year I had a really hard time with a very advanced student and pitched the lesson too low, which ended up in me losing the student. I am hopeful that that will not happen again, and have learned my lesson. To that end, I started shifting my schedule for my private clients as well. The twins I teach are shifting from Tuesdays and Fridays, to Tuesday and Sunday, where they join best friend, Alex. Scarlet shifts from Mondays and Wednesdays for a half an hour each time, to Wednesdays for an hour. And I finally found out how her mom got my WeChat. She is the twins’ aunt and got my contact from their mom. I am really glad, as I was wracking my brain trying to figure all of that out. I have no clue about Felix as yet because he has a shifting schedule of his own and he’s going back to working one week 9 am to 530 pm, and the next week 1230 pm to 9 pm. It looks like I may have to give up some VIPKid time for him as well. We will have to see how that works. Karolina will stick with me on Tuesdays from 5 to 6 for the moment. But it looks like I will not qualify for a raise from VIP kid because of all of the shifts cutting into the schedule of prime prime time classes for them. I find that I don’t care. In the meantime, in the pipeline we still have my Irish kid, who we will call Oscar whose mom wants me to start teaching him Greek as well as another VIPKid We will call Anton who is possibly in the works for three months from now. I hope that I got that straight, and I hope for more clients down the line. It will be interesting to see if I can manage my schedule between my various sources of income.

All of that is assuming that I’ll be able to travel to students given the possibility of rolling back of the loosening of restrictions from the Dutch government regarding COVID-19. But of course, dear reader, I will continue to keep you informed of all the things that are happening here in the Netherlands and of course with Inkreadable.

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

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