A happy Valentine’s day to you, dear reader, if you celebrate. I myself do not celebrate the holiday as such, though I am not averse to getting chocolate, of course, it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day. It can be a Tuesday. This week at Inkreadable was full of surprises, both in terms of Inkreadable’s potential as well as over at the English Center. I will start as I always do with TEC. I now only have two students with them as both Slava and Isabelle are no longer on my schedule. In Slava’s case, I think this is a permanent happenstance as I don’t think his work is going to pay for more hours for him. In Isabelle’s case, it’s definitely a pause rather than a finish. She is going to come back to me in the spring and we are going to resume our private lessons, but also there is a potential for an in-company from her as well, as she actually has several coworkers who would like to take lessons. And of course, she wants me to be the teacher. It’s always nice when loyalty is exhibited by your students. That certainly doesn’t happen when you work for a school. The school is going to be loyal to its bottom line. It’s one of the reasons that I want to do my own thing without the middleman.
Remember how I once said that there was no real English language emergency? It seems, dear reader, that I was wrong and that there are many. The latest one from the English Center is a woman who wants to do conversation lessons in preparation for her English-speaking boyfriend, who is coming to stay with her in The Netherlands. She is a Polish woman who comingles Dutch and English in her sentences. There’s very little preparation to be done. Sounds like a great gig, right? But there’s a catch: it’s in The Hague and while the English Center will pay for the commute, they do not pay for time. And that is three hours of potential teaching income lost. I told you it wasn’t such a great deal. But as it is, I took 7 of the hours because I have the time and I might as well. Hopefully, I can put my excellent time management skills to use and do some lesson planning on the trains. It’s the first time that I haven’t actually done any preparation for a lesson. I was with Kerry from TEC on Friday and it was she who told me that there wasn’t much preparation needed. I decided to try and engage her with our shared Polish history or at least I’m going to play it that way. Because you and I both know, dear reader, that my Polish roots are second-generation and that I don’t know very much about that side of my family. It was amazingly easy and starting with my polish roots worked wonders. I think I made a friend and not just a student. I also started Heleen, who is the replacement for my client Marco Verbeek and his partner Loekie who I never even taught. . There was an instant connection and I was able to always give her advice related to music and her accent reduction with regard to singing and the like. So I think that is going to be a very good client for me. While I don’t think that she is going to continue with me as these lessons were free to her and I don’t think she can afford more, I will at least be able to keep in touch with her. I had my second lesson with my Brazilian client, and I get the feeling that he too is quite happy with his lessons. He is quite advanced when speaking and doesn’t make many mistakes but I have to be careful because we have a tendency to get sidetracked.
I finally heard back from Fuse, the digital marketing firm in Greece, and they have given me a proposal for marketing which is not too terrible. They want €120 a month for about ten search terms. My next step is to figure out how to get my website translated so that the terms appear when people search for them. You all know how I feel about SEO marketing. I’m not actually that experienced and I find it quite difficult. We will have to see how it all works because I’ve noticed that they don’t have business English as some of the search terms and that is the market that I really like. I got together with a friend for dinner over the weekend and she was also an English teacher though she is now out of the industry. She was telling me that it was ok that my search terms include the search terms for primary school kids because that’s where the money is for English. If you can get 5 or 6 parents you are all set. I am pleased with the direction and the vibe that I’m getting from digital marketing and generally how I’m feeling about striking out more firmly on my own.
It was a good week for writing as well, as I got quite a bit done in the riders group on Thursday. I’ve also had a lot of interest in the writer’s group from new people and that is always good. I have somewhat resigned myself that I am not one of those writers who can write 2000 words in 3 hours like many of the writers that I sit with on Thursday nights but I’m also ok with that.
That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable instrument. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.