Greetings, dear reader, from Germany. I was right that there was going to be hiking in my near future. Before we left Amsterdam I got an email from Jasper‘s brother with directions on how to find him once we got here as well as the suggestion to get hiking boots and hiking socks. I got this email on Tuesday evening, and had to, if not rearrange my schedule, cram in a visit to an outdoor shop to go get hiking boots. It took me less than I expected and I was back to teaching 30 minutes after I had purchased the boots. I was a bit annoyed as I ended up not using them. I am still contemplating whether to keep them or not. (I cut the tags off). It isn’t that we didn’t hike, butt hey were easy walks not needing hiking gear. It was a nice time, but I forgot how many muscles I have in my legs that I don’t necessarily use while walking in Amsterdam. Amsterdam being of course, below sea level.
The Italki induction on Tuesday last week was really me and 50 other people sitting on mute and being lectured about how to use the platform. That’s a waste of my time. They didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t know from being an online teacher for the last five years. It was not clear what are the consequences of having to cancel lessons without notice. Basically all they said was that in order to cancel or reschedule lessons both the student and the teacher must come to an agreement. If the student and teacher cannot come to an agreement then the original lesson stands. I find that ridiculous and just as draconian in its own way as VIPKid. They did not say what would happen if the teacher did not show up to a lesson or had to cancel quickly, nor did they say if the student is penalized for a no show. My friend Gretchen, who onboarded with the company two weeks ago didn’t have an answer for me either. And you all know from last week’s post, that I don’t really hold out much hope for bookings, based on things that she told me about her own experience. I also put myself on vacation because I wasn’t sure that I wanted to receive automatic lesson requests, then opened up 5 hours though this week. But I kept myself on vacation throughout Germany. Thee last thing I want do is have someone request a lesson on a day that I am not available. Like, for instance while I am in Germany or while I’m flying to Greece.
Over at the English Center, I have finished up my package with Mirella. That means that I now have three students but I am currently working with and two students who will start back up somewhere in September. They’ve had a small pick up of business and a couple of students have come across their WhatsApp group. My policy with the English Center is that I only answer when I know that I’m available. Usually that works pretty well. But not this time.
While Jasper and I were winding our way to Germany on Thursday afternoon, the English Center had a request for teachers wanting to teach this week Monday through Friday. I didn’t respond because I am not available at the hours that they need this week. I am fully booked with VIPKid surprisingly. They had someone to teach Monday through Wednesday but needed someone for Thursday and Friday. So Marike called me for those two days but I wouldn’t have been able to teach in person and do my VIPkid obligations for when she needed.
I was rather surprised by my VIPKid bookings for this week which were quite high. I only had 4 1/2 hours worth of blue free spots the whole week. Monday and Tuesday were fully booked, Wednesday only had an hour that was unbooked, Thursday only had an hour and a half, and Friday had two hours. Those were the numbers on Friday afternoon of last week. There were some fluctuations but not too many.
One of my writers is the office manager of the church in the Vondelpark. She offered a space to the group on Thursday evenings. Unfortunately, I was not able to come as we were in Germany but four people showed up and they liked the space which solves a couple of problems for us. If we split our time between my house and the church, it seems to be a good solution in the Covid era. We will have to see what happens post Covid.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. There is more to come.