Fantastic (Facebook) Friends and TEC(and other) Tidbits

There are several advantages to working online, dear reader. I’m fairly certain I don’t need to tell you a thing about it after two years of the pandemic. But I’ve been working online since 2017, and so while most of you revel in the convenience of not having to go anywhere and being able to work in your pajamas, for me working from home has been mere drudgery. There had been that brief glimmer of hope in 2019 when I first started working for The English Center. First, my main source of income was vipkid and English Center was a welcome escape from the monotony of being at home. With the pandemic all of that was to change. The impact on the language teaching industry has been immense. For English in particular, the plethora of online teaching companies that have sprung up all over the world over the last couple of years has taken down the ability of professional English teachers to get the money they’re worth. The same is not true of Dutch teachers in the Netherlands. They are able to ask for and get the 40 to 60 Euros an hour they ask for. At least, that’s how it frequently feels. Teachers of English are routinely extolled to charge 10 to 15 euros an hour.

The point of the above paragraph, dear reader, was not to complain, or at least not only to complain if I’m honest. By now if you read my blog you all know the situation with English language teaching. But sometimes, there is a glimmer of hope. I have a friend in Amsterdam, call Sarah, who is half German half Dutch. She is quite a bit younger than me, but I would like to be like her when I grow up. A self-proclaimed introvert , she has a fantastic podcast called AmsterDames, which is a podcast dealing with various issues pertaining to women. It is amazing and I highly urge you to check it out. Sarah is one of my biggest cheerleaders in Amsterdam. She is always willing to pass me work leads and always recommends me on various Facebook and social media groups that she is on. She did it again this week, which was a really nice surprise to wake up to. And while as of this writing, I have not heard whether the student would like to take lessons with me, as the advertisements at Tesco say “every little helps”. Sarah is not just a Facebook friend. She is a real friend. She is always supporting me, so I thought I would use a paragraph in my blog to support her. Check out her podcast. You won’t be disappointed. And, Sarah, if you read this, thank you. For your encouragement and your belief in my teaching.

On balance, over the last couple of weeks, it hasn’t been too difficult trying to coordinate my schedule between TEC and my own clients. There was a little bit of a hiccup when I woke up on Friday morning to an email from Brenda at TEC wanting to do some database management. But luckily, I was able to get it done with some time to spare. I’m finding that in the US I need more than a day’s notice to be able to coordinate with the time difference. My new student with TEC, Moath from Jordan is lovely. When you first speak to him he comes across as having a fairly low level of English but he gains confidence and slowly like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon you realize that he has quite a bit of language that he doesn’t realize he has. He also has a decent understanding of the grammar that we’ve been covering which has made the first few lessons quite easy to plan. A little bit of a struggle is going to be idioms as I think he may not have the language level for that. But we will have to see. Yesterday, I had sent another text to Eleni to find out if she wants to continue so that I can start setting up my schedule. No word there as yet either. Yesterday, I woke to the unpleasant/pleasant news that The Conversation Playground was not going to go ahead with the Bootcamp, that was scheduled to run for the spring break, which would have been the week after I come back. Unpleasant news because that would have been a substantial income for the week after I come back. Pleasant news because now I won’t have to worry about teaching while jetlagged. I was not relishing the thought of having to teach teens while tired. Something will come up. It always does.

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

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