Late Lessons and Proper Pedantry

There must’ve been a cosmic event somewhere in the world this week. You see, dear reader, the unthinkable happened. I’m not sure if I told you but aside from all of the craziness with pay cuts and fairly low bookings, I have started seeing more and more place holding. In particular, there is one student who used to be a level four through six regular for me at VIPKid, but once she got to level seven, I never saw her again. Perhaps that’s because when she first started level seven I was not allowed to teach it. The rules then changed, and I was able to certify and have been teaching for quite a while. Inexplicably, in the beginning of last year, her mother, or the learning partner, or something supernatural, I’m not sure which, started place holding at least one or two lessons every week on my schedule. They would place hold until 25 hours before the lesson when they would cancel. At that rate it’s no longer likely that the class will book for a lesson that cancels that close to the teaching time. This has been going on for about a year. It’s not just this student of course, but I feel like I’ve been singled out as a second best for this family at level seven. Not only do they place hold, but they are extremely disrespectful of my time. On  Saturday she, was on my schedule and had not dropped off. So of course I got ready for the lesson which was a unit assessment and was there just on time. This particular lesson, she showed up  at minute 36, Of a 48 minute lesson. I swear I have never given a unit assessment so quickly. It was a close thing, and I barely got to my next class in time. But was able to enter with six seconds to spare and so still maintain my perfect service record of no late arrivals and no early exits. Still, dear reader, I feel that just as a student’s time is valuable, the teacher’s time is also valuable and it is the height of disrespect to not show up in time. In the case of Bella, she claimed to have forgotten, which leads me to believe that she did not book the lesson and nor did her mother. Rather, I think that the learning partners are booking the lessons and the parents and students have no idea.

Over at Lingueo, things proceed quite nicely, and while I am not building up a following of students, I still have the three that started with me this month. I was hopeful that the five star review that I got from Delphine, would have pushed me to the relative top of some ranking and I would get more students, but that hasn’t happened yet. Still, I am enjoying the lessons that I’m giving to my three candidates. Delphine and Nicolas are easy enough. The challenge, is Maria Jose. This young woman speaks better English than I do. She is easily a C1 possibly a C2 level, and it has proven quite challenging to find things to teach her. We are currently working on sentence structure and word order in English but it quite a high-level. We are working on complex compound sentences, cleft sentences, and work order in English. She seems to like the lessons, and she continually keeps making reservations, but I am discovering that is difficult to find the lessons that are challenging enough for her but easy enough for me to teach. But I came up with a solution of sorts, and have switched the focus of the lessons to academic English like I do with one of my English Centrer clients. The switch seemed to work and we were able to fill the time, just enough to make it interesting for her. It helps that I’m a little bit of a self deprecating teacher, and can use my foibles and weaknesses as  teachable moments. But it is to say the least, pedantic as I am an American and don’t use the sentence structures that we’ve been working on as much as somebody who is British. I find that American English tends to be a little bit more direct uses quite a bit more simple language then British English.

In another, non-teaching related instance of pedantry, I have a friend who on my suggestion is reading Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue, And while she finds it interesting, it also is the thing puts her to sleep in the evening. I was quite amused because for me it made me want to finish the book in one day which I’ve done. But for my friend it’s a bit different. If you haven’t had a chance read it I recommend it, and if you have I’d welcome your thoughts on it,

My writing or rather, my editing on Thursday nights is going well and I am nearly done with the first edit based on comments from people in the Washington creative Writer’s club. Once I do that it will be time to sit through the comments of the Dutch Critique group or at least to take a break and actually create content. We’ll have to see how long that takes. But I’m finding that I enjoy being able to resolve, or not resolve issues as the case may be. One of the things that I’m having trouble with is figuring out when to stop editing. When is enough enough? And that was the focus of our critique group last Wednesday. I’m sure it will be an ongoing discussion but it’s proving to be a conundrum that I can’t currently solve.

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

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