I am not sure if I told you dear reader, but with the absence of Rose on my schedule at Preply, I have put my account on hold as there isn’t much interest for my style of teaching. I like my lessons to be me teaching certainly, but I also like there to be a language exchange. Specifically, I believe that if we can find commonalities in language, then we connect our own language to the one we are learning, and that makes it easier to learn. We also connect to each other, I am a member of The Preply Tutor Facebook group, and it seems that I am not the only one having trouble. I see lots of posts about how people have been on this site for months and have gotten nothing. So I figured, since Lingueo, English Center, The Conversation playground and VIPKid seem to be giving me more work, I might as well focus on them. VIPKid continues much the same as before, with the added stressor of the Chinese government again looking at online and off-line educational tutoring and making major changes. I am not sure that platforms like VIPKid are going to be long for the world in the format that they are now. It seems more and more than they’re trying to get away from live interactions with teachers and instead teach English through videos and artificial intelligence. Lingueo this month was a one off and I had one student for two hours. While we connected, I am not sure that he will book me again because his schedule may not allow for it. He waited until the last minute to complete his 20 hours of lessons and must finish them by 1 June. Last I checked he had six hours to go. None of them are with me.
Over at the English Center things seem to be picking up. And while I was not able to add a student to my roster from them, they seem to be doing a lot more students who need creative writing so that will be something that I would particularly interested in pursuing in the future. My personal schedule with English center is fairly slow as I only have Lili once a week and my client Claudia who is currently on vacation in the Dutch Caribbean. She comes back 1 June and I hope that we will be able to schedule lessons shortly there after. Yesterday, I had my first class in a while at the Amstelveen location with Freek who has been my client since 2019. We hadn’t seen each other in a year and a half however, because he is older and was afraid of the virus but also his company who is paying for his lesson, would not let him do it online for security reasons. I also spoke to Brenda, the owner of the English Center who made me an interesting offer. She has asked me to write their blog posts and edit some of their materials. She asked me what I would charge, and I’m charging her what I am charging Lexis Amsterdam which is €25 an hour. I suppose it’s a little lower than the normal, but because I don’t have that much experience I don’t want to over charge.
I had a Conversation Playground heart attack this past week. Amardip picked me up, and on the phone told me to remind him to tell me what one of the kids mother said to explain his absence at the lessons. I had a very fraught couple of hours because I thought I had done something. But I needn’t have worried. Apparently, when she asked him how he felt about the lessons he said he felt sad. So she asked us to be more encouraging with her son. That is all well and good with it student does not have the level of the other kids. He is actually well behind. While the other kids may be a solid A2-B1, this little boy is very much an A0-A1. He has a little bit of an understanding of English and can use it in simple sentences but he has nowhere near the complexity of some of the other students. I know that Amardip was agonizing over how to talk to the parents about that. I do find that it’s better to be a bit more direct, at least that’s with the Chinese parents. I am not so sure about Dutch parents as Dutch culture is direct towards you but is less so when the directness is being thrown to them. I’ll find out later what Amardip decided to do. The classes are going well, but I understand that Amardip and I have different ways of thinking about games. For me, a game is anything that you can use to get the students using the language that you need them to practice. For Amardip, a game is some thing that you make up on your own with cards and bells and whistles. Such was the case with the game I came up with that Amardip had to gameify more . It could’ve been a miscommunication, but I find it very difficult and have decided to let him plan all the games and if he wants my assistance he can ask.
I had my last lesson with Alena on Thursday this week. I am going to miss our lessons. They are extremely fun but I get the sense that she’s not in a place to be able to take more English lessons at this time. She did say that she would be happy to write a review for me and would definitely let me know if she wanted more English lessons in the future. In the meantime, I think I’ve made a friend and with things opening up next week, I think I’ll get to see her socially. My project for the next couple of weeks is figuring out how my students can leave me reviews on Google.
With my surgery and multiple follow up appointments scheduled for June and July, I am also looking forward to about a week’s worth of not doing very much at all. I am a little concerned about the Conversation Playground because it tends to be more active and the Doctors don’t want you to bend or do anything strenuous for the first couple of days. Luckily the surgery is on a Wednesday and so that gives me six days to heal. I am going to take the week off from VIPKid just to be safe.
The vaccinations here in the Netherlands have picked up speed and my birth year is now open to be vaccinated. I have had a devil of a time trying to find a time because of the surgery but also because the location of the vaccination is in the middle of nowhere. The options that I have been given are at least an hour commute from where I live. I’m not sure why they make it so difficult if they do. On Saturday, I had to call them to make the appointment and that was a laugh riot. Me trying to speak in Dutch I feel very unconfident about the language. But at least I didn’t get hung up on. I have heard that happening to other Non-Dutch speakers.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there’s more to come.