June in the Netherlands brings with it longer days and sunny weather. It’s a fun time of drinks in the park, and picnicking down to a science, as well as other forms of alfresco entertainment. The end of the pandemic has brought the multitudes of tourists back to the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, it feels like the pandemic never was. It’s nice to see people back in the city and it’s wonderful to have the stores open again. No longer do I have to worry about trying to find a bathroom on one of my many long walks. For me personally, June also brings the annual summer slowdown. This year seems particularly slow as there’s no VIPKid to fall back on. That’s not to say that I couldn’t open slots on VIPKid and see what I was able to get get, but I’m hearing from colleagues who are still with the company that they’re getting quite sparse bookings. And opening up my schedule for six hours to get me the one or two my teacher friends are getting hours seems a little silly. Also, those one or two hours may have long breaks in between, and that is exhausting. The breakdown goes something like this: I currently have six private clients three adults and three children. Two of my adults are going on a vacation and I will see them sometime in September. My third Adult will continue but he will continue online from Taiwan. He leaves in the middle of July and comes back in the middle of September. My client here in the Netherlands has said that he might want help for his son who may be going to the British School in September but as yet they have not made a decision. As I understand it, he will be interviewing at the British School in a couple of weeks. Once they make a decision they may need my help to get him up to snuff with English in an immersive environment. I don’t think that second languages anywhere in the world are type using immersion except for in an international school. And not all international schools. Maybe my experience at the Washington International School was different as we were able to learn geography and history in French as well as French class itself. My friends who took Spanish had the same experience with history and geography in that language as well. In most schools, second languages are taught by teachers, not necessarily by language teachers. I know that in the Dutch schools the English classes that are required are taught by Dutch teachers who teach the theory in Dutch and there’s not a lot of use of the English language. I think it’s the same whether it’s a French class or an Italian class or a German class. There’s just not a lot of speaking happening.
Over at the English Center, things are winding down as well. My Palestinian girls will have their last class of this package tomorrow but will come back in September as well. I had my last class with Harumi last week but we have promised to keep in touch when she moves to Paris so while it’s a goodbye in terms of teaching, I am hopeful that we will maintain a relationship when she goes to Paris in July. I thought Harumi was my biggest challenge in terms of my adults. But my new client from Palestine who is trying to get a job here in the Netherlands is proving to be a bit of a challenge in terms of bridging her perceived problems and the reality of interviewing in a language not your own. She does a lot better than she thinks she does and I’m not just saying that because she might read my blog. She has a good command of the English language, particularly in her field which is International Development. In yesterday’s class, I did notice some tense trouble and assigned some exercises for her to do to try and get it under control as well as trying to prepare her for her interview coming up later today. I also I found her homework and I gave four questions that we practiced for the interview as well as two extra questions that I found to try and get her thoughts more organized. Or at least organized in a way that she is happy with. It’s a little bit stressful for me because she is also trying me out as a teacher, as she wasn’t really happy with her interaction with The English Center. I thought I had shown her that I could do the job at the end of our first of three lessons. And the email she sent me after the class led me to believe that she was happy with our first lesson. But after yesterday’s lesson, she said she still hadn’t decided. I did tell her at the end of class what we worked on and told her to keep in touch via WhatsApp up and I took the initiative to contact her later in the afternoon yesterday and see how she was getting on. I hope it’s enough to keep her as a student after I come back from Greece. Gallini and I have our last class tomorrow and I think we are ending on a positive note. She has acknowledged that her learning is just a drop in the bucket so I have the feeling that I will see her again soon. Whether it will be in an English Center classroom remains to be seen. Wesam and Leen will continue after their holidays. I am both looking forward to seeing them again, but also feel like I will be starting over from scratch when I do see them. While the last couple of classes that we had were quite a bit easier than they have been in the past, I am struggling to both make it interesting for them as there is only so many classes on shopping that I can put together.
In other news, an interesting position came up for an ESL content writer for Twinkl which is an ed-tech company that provides resources to teachers and parents. It, like most of the other tech companies out there, does not actually specialize in one language but has platforms for multiple languages. I have found when looking at both Twinkl and ISL collective that there are a lot of translated worksheets so why might use them as a base I don’t necessarily use them in their entirety. I work from them and create my own material. When I saw the job for ESL content writer I figured I would apply and rewrote my resume to reflect both my teaching and my curriculum-building skills. We will have to see what happens as I submitted the resume on workable. As ever, dear reader, I will keep you posted.
Over in the writer’s world, we have the return of a founding member. Ellie, Mark, and I started the group in 2016 but Ellie left us because she was trying to complete her studies. I had kept up with her a little bit from time to time as we were friends on Facebook and I knew that she was doing some stuff with with a group that works toward getting more women in politics. But Amsterdam, dear reader, is a small world. I was minding my own business one morning last year at the English Center in Amstelveen when I walked into the kitchen to see Ellie preparing a morning cup of tea. It happens that she rented out Michael and Brenda’s garage. So we have run into each other over the last year or so whenever we were in the kitchen at the same time. One such time Ellie said that she wanted to come to the writer’s group. She did that this past Thursday and it was great. We got back to some of the original things that we had been doing pre-pandemic like writing sprints. It will be great to see more of her in the context of the writer’s group and not just in the kitchen at Amstelveen.
That’s all she wrote for thisInkreadable installment. But, stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.