Happy first day of Spring to all of you! Spring in the Netherlands is full of flowers and people sitting on terraces drinking. But, of course not this year. The restrictions in the Netherlands continue and it looks like they will be made even stricter as our numbers are on the rise. With no vaccine in sight, I made the decision to use my credit from the US trip that I canceled a year ago to book a ticket for 25 August through 14 September this year. It’s my cousin’s son’s wedding as well as possibly my nephew’s christening, though I haven’t heard anything about that from my sister. Let’s hope that I get to take the trip. I am not looking forward to all the Covid tests in my future.
This week at Inkreadable brought all but one of my lessons online, and an extra lesson for my new client’s son. In essence, since I’ve already been paid for his Dad’s hours, I do not mind transferring the hour to the son. At least someone is making use of my services. The situation will change if they want lessons for the young man on his own. He, like Yves is nine and at about the same level. I am going to try the National Geographic 21st-century reading for him but if we find that too difficult then I will try and craft lessons for him that are more age-appropriate. It would be helpful if I could have a look at his English materials. Then I can align closer with what the school is teaching him.
The lessons with Alena are going well and she seems to be enjoying them and as they are early days the prep is easy as I’m going through mostly grammar. She is compliant with homework and gives me her homework every Tuesday and we go over at the following class. She is intuitive and asks really interesting questions. I love my adult students because they are so motivated to learn and they are genuinely happy to see you when you walk in the room. Or as the case may be, n screen. It’s a little bit more fun than my kids at VIPKid who are essentially being forced to take English lessons. It’s not that their attitudes are bad, in fact, some of them are really happy and interested in the lesson. But it gets very difficult when a kid wants to focus on something else. I am finding that with Greek as well. My Greek student he’s a great kid who is focused when he wants to be. But focus is difficult for him and I have had to learn to incorporate the things that he likes to do, like play with emoji ‘s, into the lesson.
My Polish student Karolina is going through changes of her own. She is moving from Warsaw to Krakow in the next couple of weeks and so we spent this weeks lesson with her talking about that move and the apartments that she has seen. We will go back to doing IELTS prep at the end of the month. Generally, I find IELTS fun to teach but I also find it challenging because I’m not sure where to find materials. I have a couple of good websites but I’m always looking for more stuff. I have taken to using the other standardized English language tests as material and applying the oil test prep and strategies to those. It seems to be working.
In other news, my friend Despina over at Lexis Amsterdam need some help translating her website into English. I am happy to do the work as I really like translation work and even offered to do it for free. She is a friend and I really don’t mind but she insists on paying me and that’s quite nice. I’ve also been contacted by Sander who also wants translation work for his website in a couple of months from Dutch into English. Both are very good exercises for me because they allow me to improve both my Greek and my Dutch.
Over the weekend, I got a call from the owner of the Conversation Playground who took the time of slow down and the pandemic to learn new skills in IT and has designed an escape room online for use in the classroom by teachers. Not just language but also any other subjects. It’s an interesting design and I was able to create questions and hints but had some significant critique because I found some of the navigational tools a little bit difficult. Still it was a good exercise for me and I never considered an escape room as a teaching tool for EFL but it seems like it could work. I did assure him that I would use the tool in my classrooms and that might be a good thing to try and do with my private students in China. I do like when there’s lots of possibilities.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.