I think, dear reader, that this is the first post but I’m actually publishing on my birthday. I’ve been writing this blog since May 2017 so that would be about right. Generally the summer is usually slow in terms of in real life teaching particularly around July and August in the Netherlands. Everybody takes off and goes away. In years past I would ratchet my schedule at VIPkid up to about 42 hours a week over six days. In the last year and a half of course, that has changed. The slide started about a year and a half ago with the Chinese government restricting the time that kids can spend online. They took away the last hour of teaching. So there was no more teaching from 2:00 PM in the winter or 3:00 PM in the winter. I thought that was bad enough. But then true to every big business everywhere VIPKid had to have a stable of teachers that number in the 120 thousand range. It’s probably bigger now. What that meant for teachers like me who had been working for the company for years, who were higher on the pay scale, saw their bookings plummet. Not all of us, just those of us who don’t want to teach level one, otherwise known as the babies. Level one starts at Three years and 10 months old. I am not an early education teacher so that is not my wheelhouse. Now the Chinese government has all of us panicking because they have announced that they will stop allowing children to learn online on the weekends or during summer holidays. Which, dear reader, is a huge issue. Because if I’m working is 15 or 16 hours week, that’s just pocket money. It’s no salary to be making a living on here in the Netherlands. On many other places I’m sure.
Over at the Conversation Playground, we have our penultimate class today and the good news is that we are going to be back in September. We even have a repeat performer, Floris, who last week pissed me off so much that my anger actually showed in class. He is the ultimate class clown and was cursing throughout the class just to push my buttons. I feel, dear reader, that there is a much better way to express ourselves than using curse words. I think the words Sh*t and F*ck are pretty vulgar and I try to discourage their use in the classroom. The problem is that here in the Netherlands those words don’t have the same power that they do in the American culture or even to some extent in the British one. They’re a little bit different because in the US you don’t wanna see those words at all in most situations, but in Britain it’s acceptable to use those words with your mates in the office. I was floored when I heard it the first time living in Scotland in 2011. My “boss“ at the Conversation Playground says that he has heard it in the context of a senior level management meeting here in the Netherlands. Given that, it’s not surprising the kids want to push buttons and try to use bad words in English as they don’t feel it contains the same power and severity of punishment as using bad words in Dutch.
I am on hiatus at least this week from Karolina, George and Jerry, and Odhran. Karolina is at a wedding, George and Jerry are studying for exams and Odhran is in America for a month. That made for a very lazy pre-birthday Sunday. But I cannot rest on my laurels because I go back to at least Karolina, and George and Jerry this weekend. I will not see Sander for the whole summer. We have agreed to start back in September and it’s probably going to be online as I will be in Greece from 25 August through 22 September.
The English Center is my one saving grace with three clients. I think I will keep Claudia and a new writing client Vicente throughout the summer until I leave for Greece. As for Freek in Amstelveen, he is on hiatus until 19 July as he has gone to Turkey. So my Mondays will be fully devoted to VIP k\Kid. Which means it looks like VIPKid Mondays will be two hours From 1 to 3 PM or thereabouts. While the news from the educational ministry isn’t good, VIPkid hasn’t talked about what will happen and what form their future will take. I’ve decided to wait and see but also try to shift into other work.
I had my surgery on Wednesday, and it was like being in a video game. I wore my own clothes and they covered me head to toe quite literally with a paper drape. Only my eye was visible. I was told to look at a flickering light. I swear I’m not sure the cataract surgery is for epileptics. I think they can get triggered. Also the doctor insisted on making jokes and talking to me throughout the surgery. I was stressed out enough and really didn’t feel like having to think about what I was saying. My only thought throughout the 15 minute procedure was shut up already and do your job. They also seemed to be very pleased with their work saying how beautiful everything was. Since then, it’s been troublesome trying not to bend over as that is a no-no as well as picking up heavy things which is also a no-no. This has meant Jasper‘s been responsible for all the household chores and cooking. I had a couple of scares where I rubbed my eye too hard and thought I had dislodged the lens. But I think everything is OK. My day is fractured by the amount of drops I have to take and we will have to see how that works out with teaching. Especially for the draconian VIPKid. Still I’ll figure it out. That’s what turning off the camera’s for.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there’s more to come.