While it was hard getting back into the swing of things on Tuesday last week after a break for Easter, there were a couple of game changers that made it much more interesting. Generally, when teaching, I try to build lessons that the students will like as all teachers do. But sometimes it’s quite hard to find lessons that will appeal to students who don’t really have many interests for which there is enough material for lesson building. My friend Regina, recommended a website called linguahouse.com that has lessons at all three levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) which is the way that English language ability is gaged here in Europe. I keep forgetting that I have access to the website but needed some material for Delphine over at Lingueo because nobody wants to be doing grammar all the time. I have done several lessons with her about artsand several lessons dealing with food, and they’ve been wonderful. I bought a year subscription and shared it with Regina whose own subscription had lapsed. If, dear reader you’re an English language teacher, I urge you to take a look at this website because it has great stuff that you can use as a base to build a lesson. For example, I particularly liked the lesson that I’ve taught from them on Easter. I learned just as much as my students.
As of today I will have four more lessons with Delphine at Lingueo. I am going to miss our lessons as they have been fun and engaging. One of the best things about teaching adults is that you become friends with your students. I think in the case of Delphine, Nickolas, and Maria Jose, we will keep in touch for quite a long time. My plan once everything is open and we are able to travel is to head to Paris to meet them in person.
I have been getting a little bit stressed out with the thought of the Lingueo lessons ending and nothing on the horizon from Preply. But things got interesting as I was able to snag two new students with the English Cnter. I had a lesson with a Dutch woman called Isabelle. She’s the student I was referring to above when I said it will be hard to find lessons that keep her engaged and interested. I have five lessons with her and she expects to be much more confident in English after those five lessons. I had to ask her point-blank if she thought she would be fluent in five lessons and thankfully she said that she did not expect fluency but just a greater understanding and confidence when speaking English. She was the one who also told me that while she likes to go to the gym outside there aren’t very many other interests that she has beyond hanging out with friends and eating out. I may be able to do something with eating out and possibly the idea of hanging out to teach a phrasal verb but without her liking things like art. It’s going to be very difficult to make lessons that interest her and engage her. Still, l I think I’m up to the challenge. The other TEC client is called Lily and I will have a lesson with her tomorrow. That’s for a package of 10 hours of both business focused and conversational English. I did something new with Isabelle, I created an intake test of my own and gave that in conjunction with getting Isabelle to tell me about how the English tenses work through the use of a table that I have found online. I think I’m going to do the same with my second client at TEC at least for the first lesson. This one’s a little harder because I’m actually sharing the student with Brenda who owns The English Center. Lily will take two in person lessons with her which means that I need to keep her informed of what I’ve been doing. I’ve done that before as we collaborated with students but it’s difficult because Brenda has a lot more experience than I do in teaching.
VIPkid continues to throw some surprises my way. The trial gods have forgotten me but the level seven and book report Gods have remembered me. I think I have had more one hour classes in the past week than ever in my career as a level seven teacher on the platform. Of course, there are the placeholders who cancel but I noticed that the sales team is on top of it and they have filled open slots with other classes. While it doesn’t make up for the fact that my classes are only about 50% booked, It gives me hope that the 120 thousand teachers that are on the platform are not all teaching full-time. And that most of them have gone back to school.
Also this week was my best writing day yet, with Thursday being very productive. In general, I’m finding that the Thursday and Sunday schedules work for me and 3 1/2 hours of writing a week is not bad at all. I hope this trend continues. We’ve also been talking with the Writers Group about charging for the advertising that we do on meet up for new members. I have been running the Washington Creative Writers Club since 2012 and charging members $12 a year to be in the group. You get a free trial meeting and if you like us then you have to pay. The problem is, people haven’t been paying since 2017 when I left For the Netherlands. We do have a lot of money in the bank account but it’s not going to last forever if nobody pays for the dues and the cost of Meetup is $200 a year which is not insignificant to me. So I sent an email to my former co-organizer and now organizer of the group asking what we should do. They asked me to give them a week to decide but all indications are that we’re going to delete the group and leave Meetup. I need to figure out if the Dutch group is willing to pay for the Meetup site and whether it’s worth it for us to stay on Meetup for the Dutch group. Because that would be one group running at $200 a year and not two. It’s a dilemma indeed.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.