My classes with Lingueo have been over since 23 April when I had my last class with Delphine. I told you in my last post that I had been scheduled for a client with them starting on 3 May but could not do that lesson because I was already scheduled to work for VIPKid and the following week I was not able to because I was away. On Friday, I got a one-off lesson with a student for two hours of conversation. For the first time ever in my teaching career, I did not prep for this lesson. The lesson was scheduled from 3 o’clock to 5 o’clock on Friday. I therefore had to shuffle a planned Greek lesson with Odhran. The student, whose name is Nicola, called me and asked if we could do an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. That actually worked better for me and I was able to contact Odhran’s mom and schedule a Greek lesson for Friday. Lingueo in many ways is a wonderful platform because they pay you money in euros without taking commission and there is no Walmart sweepstakes atmosphere like there is at VIPKid, or a ridiculous commission structure as there is with Preply. They give the courses that they offer names, like Lilate preparation or oral preparation, but it is not clear what that means. When I first started with the company I researched a bit and it turns out that Lilate is an English competency exam given by the French government. I could not find any preparation materials online. So it has been a struggle to figure out lessons for my Lingueo students since I started with the company. Friday was no exception as I was racking my brain to figure out what I would teach Nicola. But winging it turned out to be a good strategy at least for him. While we had a great time talking, across all kinds of topics but mostly corona procedures throughout Europe. I am not sure that I am going to see him again, though. I looked at his information and he has five different teachers including me. He has had eight out of 20 hours of lessons, two of which were with me. He needs to finish these hours by 1 June. I’m not sure why he waited till the last minute to get started, but if it’s any indication from his schedule and the fact that he was 15 minutes late the first and And second hour, as well as having to leave in the middle of the second hour to take a phone call, it seems that his schedule is not very flexible. He works for Disney and it seems that Disney is starting to hop. As of this writing, I am back to Lingueo limbo with no students on the schedule. After the fiasco with the student who canceled all lessons with me, I updated my schedule to reflect that I could work mornings and afternoons after three, leaving the PPT hours for VIPKid.
Speaking of VIPKid, my strategy to only open short notice on the weekends and short notice for the hours 10 to 12 my time, partially works. While I am getting no short notice bookings during the week, I am getting a few short notice trials on the weekend. Such was the case on Saturday when I had a level seven at 12:30 PM trial and a short notice trial 2 PM. I’ve been thinking about my schedule on VIPKid and I wonder if my schedule is low not just because I am a highly paid teacher (at least on their scale), but also because most of my students are in the higher levels, and so don’t have time to take VIPKid anymore. The company has started asking for referrals for teachers as you know from last weeks post. I wish they would be as aggressive about marketing to actual paying customers as they are asking teachers to recruit for them. It used to be when you recruited you got good money to refer and people made sideline businesses out of that. Now they give you tokens to refer. I’ve already told VIPKid what I think of this strategy, and in no uncertain terms a couple weeks ago when they had another survey. Needless to say I will not be referring.
Over at the Conversation Playground, class three marked the first class that I actually planned part of myself. I continue to feel that teaching kids on a regular basis is not for me. I am very specifically a teacher of English as a foreign language and that is what I wish to remain. What this means is that my schedule will continue to be inconsistent. Things I learned from the last class: giving instructions in a clear concise manner is the most important thing you can do in the classroom. Both instruction checking questions and concept checking questions are important. I remember from my days of CELTA back in 2016, that that was something that was really difficult for me. My solution for the problem was to go back and look at my textbooks and see how they are formulated and how to ask them. I think I’m gonna have to do some memorizing. The more I go into the classroom with the kids in Amstelveen however, The more comfortable I get and that can only lead to good things. Because there will be more work. I connected my English Center student with the Conversation Playground to see if they could jointly set up classes at her son’s school. We’ll see if that works out.
I am experiencing a slow down in writing, chiefly because I’m having a hard time figuring out if I changed a plot point throughout the book or not. I’ll explain. I had my main characters be given a particular magical item that I thought would come useful in the book. It turns out that it’s not and I had to change it for something else. I spent the last Thursday night wondering if I had done that completely throughout the book. It is not a place I like to be. I do not like doubting that I’ve done everything I need to do. I think this feeling is going to stick with me for a while and I may just have to read the book over again. From the beginning. Another daunting task. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a pantser. But the thought of outlining is even more daunting.
In other news, my cataract surgery has been scheduled for 16 June. It’s a Wednesday so I had to cancel all of my classes that day as well as block off a week for VIPKid as I don’t know about the recovery time from cataract surgery. I have been told at the recovery is quick, but I’m not sure if all of those people who have had cataract surgery were spending as much time online at the time of their surgery, as we have been in the last year and a half. Or I should say as I have been over the last five years. I am a little bit scared, OK terrified, but I’m trying not to think about it. Instead I’m trying to distract myself with lesson planning, an imminent return to the gym, and rebuilding my iTunes music collection as all of my non-purchased items have disappeared. Of course I got rid of all of the CDs from which I built my collection 11 years ago. To say that I was pissed is an understatement.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.