Course Coordinator Conundrums and Writing Wrinkles

With most of the English Center management team away for the better part of the next couple of weeks, it falls to a couple of us to pick up the slack. Or I should say not slack, precisely because we are in communication via email, but answering client emails in a timely manner. I have been able to answer most emails quickly as well as do follow-ups, but where I’m finding it difficult is with tasks that aren’t necessarily clear. I’ll give you an example. I was asked to spearhead a project for a super cool foundation called Dignita, which I think I mentioned a post or two ago. They are a chain of three restaurants in the city that are fully nonprofit. Their profit goes back into a foundation where they repatriate people back into mainstream society after having been trafficked. I think it’s a super-worthy enterprise and I’m really excited to be a part of it. My function is more as a liaison between the English Center and the foundation. On the 14th of November, we had the intake and there were 35 people in attendance. It was decided that the courses would be 15 and 16 people respectively on a Monday and Tuesday evening, and we were trying to divide the people into two groups, one for lower-level learners and one for upper-level donors. Or more accurately beginner and slightly less beginner. Most of the people in the classes are Ukrainian, but there are a few other nationalities mixed in. One of the tasks that I am in charge of for this group is making sure that they get the books that they need. I have been communicating back and forth with English Center and them and thought that I needed to go ahead and order the books. This was further confirmed when the teacher of the course told me that the manager of the foundation would get in touch with me to get the books delivered. I contacted her first and got the address for the book delivery. She let me know where to send the books and I set up the order. Over the weekend, she let me know that she would check whether the books were shipped to the location and that she did yesterday. They have gotten the books. But here’s the problem. On Sunday, I woke up to an email from Kerry, asking Paul (the course instructor) and I to confirm that Dignita would actually pay for the book budget. I then had to send another email to Dignita, kind of a mea culpa email taking responsibility for the mistake and asking if Dignta was going to pay for all the books or whether some students would foot the cost themselves. I also contacted Waterstones where I ordered the books and made sure that I would be able to return the books if I needed to. I have done all that I can, but I feel very bad that I did not get the correct information from the back-and-forth on the emails. Last night I received word that the company would pay and the student would be offered the choice to pay for some of the cost. SO all’s well that ends well but it was a bit fraught for me.

The above was not the only occurrence of me feeling stupid. The second one was a little bit more interesting. We have an email where all of the communications from customers come in and we can all see it. I woke up to an email from a former student of mine asking about private intensive lessons. So I approached the email in the following way. I said that it was really nice to hear from her again and I asked her for clarification asking if she was looking for more private lessons, like the ones we had in the summer, or whether she was looking for an intensive Group course. What is interesting is that she asked the question as if she had never taken classes with us before, but she has and so she should know how we work. The last time I saw her was in September. The courses haven’t changed since then neither have the prices. It was a bit of a strange interaction, but we will have to see what happens.

It isn’t often that my writing group and my book club collide, but this week they did, in a very interesting way. The book that we are reading for the December meeting is Atomic Habits by a guy called Jeff Clear and it tells you about how to succeed. It outlines how to make positive habits and how to break negative habits. What’s nice is that it’s short and clearly written. I took away from it a couple of things that were useful and I was anxious to try them out in the writing group. Basically, the author of the book says that habits are formed by small sustainable changes that you can do your whole life. One of the steps that he gives is to make a list of all the habits that you do in a day and mark them whether good or bad. He says that you should make good habits easy to do and accessible. Bad habits should become inaccessible. I wanted to try and put into practice a word goal for each writer’s meeting. I have not to date been able to do that. Somehow I feel that people around me are doing much better than I am and it stops me from actually doing any writing at all. Thereby it feels like the two hours and 45 minutes of the Writers Group for me is a waste of time. As you might imagine that is not a very good feeling and I do not enjoy it. I feel that even a small goal has been beyond me lately. And it isn’t going to get any easier but more on that in my next post.

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

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