Technical Trauma and Gratis Groups

It was a bit of a strange week at Inkreadable, dear reader. In the first place, it was quiet in the run-up up to Easter weekend. Some of my students were already off my schedule, and quite a few of them decided to take a few days prior to Easter off. As a result, I only had five hours teaching the whole week. Due to circumstances beyond her control, Adiana was not on my schedule the whole week because her computer was again out for repair. It’s something that I have now become resigned to, that we will either have one, or possibly two lessons a week, but never ever the three that she wanted. Still I block off that time on my schedule but my 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays is never a certain hour. This week’s computer problem was diagnosed as a video card issue and we had to cancel all three classes. I am more angry at myself than anything else, however, dear reader. Because I am not able to enforce my own policies. The problem is, I’m not sure how to enforce them. There are just too many issues with Adriana’s to figure out how how to deal with it. If this was an English Center class I would simply call the English Centre and have them deal with it. But it’s not. You’ll remember from last week’s post that George and Gerry were having technical issues as well, though this was an issue of connectivity rather than hardware. We had a little bit of a blip when we saw each other on Tuesday but we were able to get through the lesson. The next time I see them is the beginning of May and I’m hopeful we will not have issues again. But it could also be a Zoom problem. I had thought that you needed a VPN when using Zoom in China but it seems you only need it when you initiate a meeting in China not when you are being hosted by someone else as George and Jerry are. Greek continues to go quite well and this week we talked about the types of things that we could have knowledge of. The lesson was to use the verb I know no in Greek and it’s interesting because Odhran has trouble articulating things that he knows how to do. I gave him a little homework asking him to research the types of things that he can do. I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.

The English Center was also pretty quiet this week. With both the Palestinian girls and Harumi off my schedule, it meant I only had Shinwei. This week I also did some work on the database management and learned that the aphorism no good deed goes unpunished is absolutely true. What happened with this: instead of waiting for Brenda to call me to tell me that she needed me to update the database, I took the initiative of calling her. In the course of the conversation, she asked me if I could substitute for two classes for a friend of mine who also works at the EnglishCenter but is away in Kenya. They were free classes that the English Center is giving two Ukrainian refugees here in Amsterdam. As it was only two classes I agreed. It was, dear reader, the worst possible decision I could have made. It is two classes being given on Monday and Thursday afternoons. One is for intermediate/advanced English speakers and one to very low-level beginner speakers. The advanced speakers class was easy enough to figure out as I was given a TED talk and materials for it, so that was just facilitating the class. The Monday class is much more difficult as we actually had to create material. Keep in mind that we’re doing this work for no money. Although, I did explain to Brenda that I thought that she was doing it for street cred with the municipality and I was doing it for Street cred with her. After all, it was only two days. Or so I thought. Once in the Thursday class with Brenda, and a couple others, I realised that I was expected to be in the class until Krys, the original teacher, comes back and that is going to be a matter of weeks. I will probably still do the month, but I wish it had been clear that it was not just a couple of days. While I have the time, I do not have the inclination to build a and then have to give up all my work because the other teacher is back. There were a couple of problems with course planning for the Monday course as we were all supposed to contribute to the PowerPoint. Unfortunately, with my eye being away it is, that was not going to be possible for me. So I called Brenda and we decided to write a drill slide that the class can then repeat. I am extremely nervous about this class though because Brenda will be there and it will feel like a test of my ability.

Over in the writing world, I have resigned myself that we now have two separate groups, a discord group with lazy people who do not want to come to the library and write in person and the regular group. I have decided that I’m going to ignore the discord group and I’m not gonna write on the weekend unless it is in person. I have better things to do with my time as the weather in the Netherlands is starting to warm up and the last thing I want to do is sit online at home. I’ve decided that if there are people who want to come out and write on a Saturday, they will be welcome to do that but my Sundays are spoken for.

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

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