TEC Teamwork, Chinese Challenge, and a Communication Conundrum

You know I don’t like everything about the English Center, dear reader, particularly their cancellation policy. To refresh your memories, the student is allowed to cancel outside the 48 hour mark with no penalty. If they cancel within the 48 hour mark then they lose the lesson and the money paid. But the teacher doesn’t get paid unless the lesson is within 24 hours. So in essence English Center is taking a commission for the first 24 hours and leaving the teacher out in the cold. Be that as it may, I have only had this problem once in my year and a half with the company. But if you have a problem with a student, in terms of preparing a lesson or struggling to teach, the English Center is all about teamwork.

After I wrote my letter to the English center last week, I had a lesson with Vicente, he admitted that he really hasn’t been doing much work on his own for English. At our lesson however, he told me that he had been getting up at 6 o’clock in the morning to do about an hour’s worth of English homework and studying on his own. I was very pleased that he took responsibility for the trouble he had been having. In the meantime, the English Center sent me a whole bunch of books and links having to do with both regular and business writing. One of the suggestions, that I really liked, was doing a speed writing class where the teacher gives a prompt of some kind, the student writes for a predetermined amount of time, then sends the writing to the teacher, who then corrects it, and sends the writing back again. This exercise is done a total of three times in short positive feedback loops where we don’t get bogged down in the why, but rather understanding how to use sentence patterns and grammar. I think the challenge with Vicente is going to be trying to get him to forget the logic of language, because it isn’t, and just memorizing the pattern. We will have to see later today.

In China, the Ministry of Education has published an article about how detrimental online and off-line tutoring are for Chinese students. The VIPKid world is up in arms over the issue, and all of the teachers are terrified that they will lose their jobs. I am a little bit more sanguine about the situation, because my bookings were low since 2019 and my dependence on VIPkid has decreased . I am already used to only working one or two hours a day for VIPkid, so if they go belly up and have no more students, I will just have to figure something else out. The English Center and The Conversation Playground come to mind as well as Lexis Amsterdam who might have some work for me in the future. Also rather insistently niggling at the back of my mind is picking up Inkreadable, again, not simply as a way to run my English language income but also as a vehicle for courses of my own. I am still mulling it over. What is certain with regard to VIPKid, is that it’s not going to get any better, The days of six hours straight of VIPkid classes is gone. At least for me. I know there are teachers within my Facebook group who are having none of these issues, and that’s probably because they teach level ones and starlight and those are things that I do not want to do. I do not like younger students. I am quite happy with my older mature students with whom I can actually have a conversation.

This past Thursday, the writers group went online as cases of Covid specifically the Delta variant, have skyrocketed over the last couple of weeks. Except for one of our members, who took it upon herself to go write at a café near my house, and invite anybody who wanted to come to join her. I don’t ordinarily have a problem with that. But her text to the group exerted pressure that she accused the group of doing by staying off-line. My co-organizer and I both feel that she is slowly usurping the group. It was not a nice thing to wake up to either, to be honest. I’m not sure what to do about it and it’s causing me a bit of stress. But I will figure it out in the end. I’ve said it before, but I will say it again, managing groups can be like herding cats.

I also got my second vaccine on Sunday so Monday was spent as a day off. I attended to some self care, and had cake. I did notice that I was exhausted for most of the day, which was no surprise as I didn’t sleep well from the pain in my arm. I finally rose from bed at quarter past nine. Which is a couple of hours later than I am normally up.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.

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