This week at Inkreadable, dear reader, was an exercise in serious time management. With the addition of two new clients from English Center who meet at Amstelveen, it seems that my wish for a less VIPKid centered teaching schedule has come true. I am going to be working exclusively for the English Center on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays through probably the end of October. Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be spent still with VIPKid but at a much reduced schedule. Instead of opening the five hours that I normally open, I’m going to open two or three. If I can manage to keep my various schedules straight, and not have too many scheduling mishaps, it will be nothing short of miraculous.
I am going to start taking Saturdays off as of September 5. My Saturday routine is back in force with Weightwatchers meetings being in real life at the store. What that means is that I get to take a walk to weight watchers have a meeting, then have coffee with friends and get up to whatever else I want on Saturday. The one thing that I will not do is work. Everyone needs a break, including me. I am looking forward to the resumption of some normalcy in terms of my schedule. Also, having not passed the writing advanced certification for VIPKid, I am taking this opportunity to lessen my dependence on them because I feel that not all of the reasons that they gave for the failure was valid. For example, their first reason was that my lighting and background were inappropriate. Nowhere in my contract does it say that I have to have a background. And I have been teaching just fine with my student seeing my living room and other assorted places that I have taught from for the last 3 1/2 years. Now all of a sudden it’s an issue? As a compromise, I did put up a little map of the world that is kid friendly. And hopefully won’t be forbidden because it is not up to China’s standards for world maps. But I’ve decided if that happens I am going to leave VIPKid completely.
While other people are claiming that their schedules are fine with VIPKid and they haven’t seen a reduction in bookings, I am myself I’m noticing more and more cancellations. For example, where I was fully booked on a Saturday from 12 to 3, I am now working half of that. On Sunday I opened 2 1/2 hours and got two one hour classes and a half hour class, but the one hour class has canceled and so was the 1/2 hour. As a result I am sticking Karolina into that slot and then going for a coffee. My 11 AM private student on Sunday has canceled as well as he is actually going to school. I do feel sorry for the kids that have to be in school on the weekends but apparently they’re used to it in China as it happens quite a bit more often than it does in the west.
My new student in Amstelveen is Russian, 26 years old, and tests at a C1 level. I had gotten the information that her speaking level was be one but it’s not. She is quite advanced. And she likes to talk about controversial topics so it’s going to be a very interesting endeavor trying to get lesson plans for her on things like feminism, LGBT rights, the political situation all over the world, and other such topics. What surprises me about her is that she has asked for a little bit more grammar. But I did not hear any mistakes in her grammar usage while speaking on Friday. It’s going to be quite the challenge to correct her if that is the case. I was thinking that I would start her on conditionals which I think is one of the hardest things for non-native speakers of English to learn. I was impressed at the lesson that she was able to explain to me how the perfect continuous tenses are formed. As I said, it will be a challenge but I’m looking forward to it.
Starting on 4 September I will have another client in Amstelveen on Friday afternoons as well. She is a 13-year-old who was supposed to take a teen summer class but that never happened because of Covid. In exchange, she’s gotten 6 1/2 hours of private instruction. We will have to see what she wants and what she can handle. I am thinking 21st century readings might be a good place to start with her.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.