Vicious Virus and a Teaching Terminus

Well, dear reader, it isn’t lupus. It appears, however, that I have a virus in my spinal cord causing all these problems. At least, it’s not corona. When I was a kid, I had oral herpes and what I remember from that experience was just how much pain I was in through the whole ordeal. A week and a half of not being able to eat or sleep or play or go outside or anything. Eventually, as these things do, it went away. Never to be heard from again. Until now. While 2/3 of the population worldwide carry some type of herpes, it never goes away and hangs out in your system your whole life and you can have flareups. Apparently this, by which I mean what I’m experiencing with my feet, is a flareup from that herpes virus all those years ago. I still need to schedule an MRI to make sure that it isn’t anything mechanical with my spine and then the next step would be a spinal tap.

Awesome rock bands notwithstanding, dear reader, you could’ve heard me flinch from all the way over here in Amsterdam. The doctor saw this and hastened to assure me that the procedure was my choice and I didn’t have to have the lumbar puncture, but having spoken to a couple of people, by which I mean my sister and Jasper, they assured me that it really wasn’t any big deal. That the pain would be fleeting and at least we would know. But still, I hesitate. Nobody wants unnecessary procedures and tortures. The neurologist also told me that it was a benign virus. Still skeptical. Such was my surprise and shock that I didn’t ask him the right questions such as “will this flareup happen again?” And more importantly “are there antivirals that I can take to clear it up?”. Since I was not able to schedule the MRI when I was at the doctor, I scheduled the MRI over the phone and again forgot to ask. I did, however remember to ask them if they could take pictures of my nerve endings and see if everything was OK there. And as everybody keeps telling me the MRI should show something. So I’ve decided I will wait on the spinal tap to see the MRI results and to see whether this clears up by itself. Which the doctor indicated it should do within a couple of weeks. But today is day 14 and I still feel pins and needles (and now sometimes pain) in my feet.

In teaching news, my one month assignment with the student who is the most advanced I’ve ever taught as yet, was great.  I loved that I could teacher her in the context of controversial topics. It allowed me to get creative, and I( am going to miss that. I don’t think my other clients will be as open, and while we did not always agree (she was surprisingly conservative for one so young), we still had fun.  On the bright side, that means that now I’ll only have to go to Amstelveen for one day this week for two clients and then we go back down to just the client on Mondays until about the end of December. In other news, there may be a possibility to teach a week of intensive at the end of this month. I do love intensives, though I’m not convinced of their effectiveness. After all, how much can you learn when you’re cramming 20 hours of English into one week. But that’s not my problem, and if that’s how the student wants to learn, Then I will try and make it as fun and as interesting as possible. I will be teaching with a couple of other teachers, I think, and so we will have to coordinate so that we don’t double up our work. We’ll have to see how it goes because I haven’t done too much collaborative work at the English Center it’s an exciting proposition.

VIPKid continues to be a shit show and the loss of work seems to be quite significant for me at this time. I’m simply not getting booked. I’ve decided therefore not to worry about it, not to open for frenzy, and try to give as much time to the English Center and my private clients as possible. To that end, I have been asking my Chinese parents to continue to recommend me and one of them even offered to post my WeChat on her newsfeed so that I can get access to a bigger market. It seems like word-of-mouth is the way to go in China. There is no listserv or place where people go online to find tutors with their children that I can post on and see if I can get more clients. Maybe now’s the time to do the work for Preply and look at their videos, as well as,  look at their on boarding process and see how to advertise to get clients that way.

Next week, and the following,  I am teaching, though  not for pay, a young woman who needs some help with her IELTS which is an English competency exam given by Cambridge. She is nervous and needs some help so someone posted on a Facebook group that I’m part of and a bunch of us are helping her out over the next two weeks until the exam. It’s a good opportunity for me to be able to figure out just what the exam is what it in tails and how to help her prep. Largely she needs help with conversation but as I’m an English teacher I’m going to try and prepare a mini lesson for her.

Private teaching continues to go well with me getting really decent suggestions from the parents and changing my lessons accordingly. It’s always fun to freshen things up and I always welcome these kinds of suggestions because they can only make me a better teacher.

In the Writers world, by which I mean  and critique group, we continue to struggle to find a time to meet as most of us tend to forget. I include myself in this as I continually forget which Wednesday I’m supposed to be posting the online meet up. I’ve had to put it in my calendar in order to remind myself. I should’ve I suppose, done that from the beginning, but what can you do.. We seem to be heading for a curfew with other lock down measures so it’ll be a while before we can meet. We will probably know later tonight.

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

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