Tricky Time Management, A Shocking Surprise, and A Self-Esteem Story

Maybe the title of this post should be a little bit different, or at least in a different order, because there are two self-esteem stories today. One is mine and one is someone else’s. But first an update on teaching. I have two quite interesting students from the English Center. The first is an accent-reduction student who is an actor and wants to perfect his American accent. This is particularly exciting for me because while I have a lot of experience with pronunciation, I don’t have as much experience with accent reduction. Luckily there are lots of resources at the English Center and a couple of teachers who do quite well with accent reduction. I think I’m going to have to pick their brains. My second student is also quite nice because she is a chance to strengthen something that I’ve done with Claudia, my Colombian student. I am quite happy that I still have most of the stuff that I used with her because it takes the onus off of me to do as much preparing. This student also wants presentation help and that may be challenging if she doesn’t have materials ready. After all, it’s quite hard to get adults to do homework. Most adults simply do not have the time, so I always ask if they want homework, but frequently the answer is no. It’s a lot easier with kids who are conditioned to do homework and doing homework is not such a big deal for them. That’s the case with Sanne, my Japanese-Dutch student. I have been giving her a writing assignment after every class to see if I can get her to write more than two or three sentences at a time and gauge her level. Her parents have also asked for progress reports and that makes it a little bit difficult after every class but I have given them insight into what we are doing and hopefully, they are content with the direction of the classes. Slava let me know on Friday that he would not be meeting me on Monday so I had an unexpected night. With Carlien, it looks like I’m going to have to pivot once again and go back to putting her on the spot and having her do presentations, and then asking her questions. She has decided not to go for the job that we were preparing for. And finally, in terms of English Center clients, we come to Isabelle, who seems to like the new format of our lessons where we talk about an article and she answers questions that I ask her. But the movement of my schedule continues making time management, a little bit tricky. It’s not so bad when the admin stuff stays manageable in terms of the low-level sales that I do. What I’m finding is that if I make a phone call, then people are more receptive and I actually close deals. It’s different with email. I don’t often get a response to those. On Friday I spent 5 1/2 hours just doing email responses that came in. As well as my monthly follow-up, which I think is going to take a couple of hours, at least every 15th of the month. It will be interesting to see how I am able to increase my efficiency over time.

And now we come to at least a portion of the self-esteem part of my title. As I mentioned, maybe the whole title of this post should be about self-esteem because mine took a knock quite unexpectedly this week. What happened dear reader was this: I had been trying to place a student with teachers and was looking for someone to teach on a Saturday. I contacted my friend Rose at the suggestion of the English Centre. She was not able to take the client, and nobody else wanted to either. In talking to Rose, she gave me her availabilities, and I asked TEC to point me in the direction of a spreadsheet where they might have teacher availability. They duly sent it to me and here is where the fun begins, dear reader. Like an idiot, I decided to not only update Rose’s info but also check out my own. That was a huge mistake, dear reader. every single comment that I had in my profile was negative. That I am negative with the students, that I am old-fashioned, and that I am not flexible. I am not sure if this last one was about time or teaching style. Nevertheless, I was thrown for a loop and quite upset. Only if I know you’re really well and we’ve become friends will I tell you my honest opinion, if you asked for it. Only if I know you really well and we’ve become friends will I tell you my honest opinion, and then only if asked. Rather than wallow, I did go directly to them and asked for help. I feel good about that, just as I feel good that I did not absorb the criticism and think I am a complete failure. But the moral of the story is never read about yourself. Ever.

The final part of my story is not my story directly, but rather the self-esteem stories of one of my writers. We have a member in the group who has just started coming. He is a beginning writer and has lots and lots of questions that sometimes many of us don’t have the answer to. Because we’re all amateurs ourselves. This writer is probably looking for friends, but also suffered some traumatic experience that caused him to want to be a writer instead of an engineer. It’s quite an interesting story really. but it’s also very difficult because he’s one of the writers that live far away and can’t always come on Thursdays. He asked if we would be willing to write on the weekends and we already do that, but that is not an official Writers Group event, it’s more several of us that are quite close who get together and write. I have promised to tell him when we write on a Saturday, but that has been happening less and less frequently as the end of the year approaches. The fall is a busy time for most people and our weekends are taken up by various things. This writer also doesn’t have a sense of how to read the room and he wants to invite us all for dinner at his place in Delft, which I think is great. But he texted me late on Friday evening saying “hey, I want to invite you and four others to dinner tomorrow”. And that of course is not enough notice here in the Netherlands definitely, but probably anywhere else in the world as well. I guess my issue is that I don’t have the time to coddle anybody and maybe on some level. I wish I did, but I don’t think I can be somebody’s psychologist I have enough difficulties of my own and in fact, I pay someone to be mine.

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

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