Curriculum Changes and Delicious Dialogue

In Greece, dear reader, it is customary to wish people a good month on the first. While we are a day late, I still want to wish you a happy February. My hopes for you all for the month, wherever you are, is that corona is not running rampant, or impacting your lives in any way. Here in Amsterdam, we have a rather ridiculous curfew which I am not sure is doing anything to stem the tide of new cases. We are supposed to be home from 9 o’clock in the evening until 4:30 in the morning. I myself am of an age that a curfew doesn’t matter and there’s no place that I want to go at 9o’clock at night anyway. And no matter what my age was, I never wanted to stay up until 4:00 in the morning.

Over at Inkreadable, it’s been a fairly slow week work wise, though I had two days in the past week where I worked a full six hours teaching. One day was even 7 1/2. I had forgotten how tiring it is to be on for that long. On Wednesday and Friday of this week, I found myself absolutely exhausted from teaching full five hour days at VIPKid and then a couple of hours at Lingueo. But also happy that at least I had some full-time work. If all of my days could be like that that would be wonderful.

My private students in China are again on a break because they have a week and a half of winter camp so I won’t see them tomorrow nor did I see them on Sunday. Over in Poland, Karolina has decided that she would like to change the lessons and so we are shifting our focus from conversation and using 21st-century readings to make lessons, to a more targeted lesson to practice the strategies for the IELTS. I’m excited about this because I really like teaching the IELTS. It’s not an easy exam, and even I struggle with it, let alone someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language. I certainly don’t get everything right..

My super advanced, nearly speaks better English than I do student has now decided she wants conversation classes. I’m also quite a bit more happy about that because I was really running out of advanced grammar to teach her. So during our lesson on Thursday we had a conversation based on an article that I found from the BBC called “What If Animals Were As Smart As Us”. The article goes into fairly interesting points about sentient beings and what might happen if all the animals think on the same level as humans. While I had initially used the article as an example of the conditional tense with Karolina, with Maria it turned into an interesting discussion about our views about who actually rules the earth and where man lies in the food chain. Are we the top hunter? Or is there something else that is even more dangerous than we? This of course, lead to an  interesting conversation about the different choices that people make in their lives regarding their own consumption of food. While Maria is not a vegetarian per se, (she eats meat when not at home), in her own home she doesn’t cook it because she doesn’t really like it. Which to me is the best reason not to eat it. Needless to say, the next few classes are going to be challenging and quite fun.

This week’s writing session was great as I was able to get to chapter 20 of my own work and slowly clear out comments from the Washington creative writer’s club  that are a million years old. I also received comments from the fifth critique submission from the Critique Group here.  I have been quite slow (read not at all) looking at those comments because I simply cannot multitask. In addition, I would like to give my readers here a clean copy of the novel which is why I’m trying to get the comments that I have from the US group cleared away. I have forgotten my friend Adam’s comments, he has sent me essays about my writing, and as they are in another place on my computer, I continually forget to add them in. I might have to do that at some point.

The Wednesday critique group met last week and it was amazing because we got treated to a wonderful lecture by one of our members about how to write dialogue. I find I it to be quite difficult but Juan is a master. It was an hour long lesson essentially on how to write dialogue in five (not so easy) steps. And it was great. I learned quite a lot, and asked him for his lecture because there’s no way that I’m going to remember everything that he talked about. I am looking forward to going back and trying to use some of the tips and some of the ways to engender conflict through dialogue which I don’t do very much or at all well. Both Ilana and I are quite willing to listen to the lecture again should he choose to give it to a greater audience in the future.

Yesterday marked the second of my appointments at the eye doctor. This was for a field of vision test to make sure that my field has not actually shrunk. It’s small enough as it is. Next up in a month, it’s a consultation with someone else. So my preparation for cataract surgery proceeds apace. I also have to schedule a consultation with the neurologist after these three MRIs that I’ve had. But I haven’t seen a date in the system yet. At least things are being done, and maybe in the not too distant future I’ll be able to see better out of my right eye.

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

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