Flexibility Focus, Hastings Holiday, and (Group) Member Mix-ups

This week at Inkreadable shifted the focus from teaching to my ability to be flexible. I have had to ensure that I am fully available for several students who travel quite a lot. The first has been Jean who seems to go go to Brazil at least once a month. He has a business where he supplies jumbotron screens to advertisers. In that role, he is back and forth quite a lot and we have been on hiatus for this last week. We will make it up this week with two lessons and probably with two lessons the next week. This is fine, but it doesn’t leave me much time in the mornings for my Polish client who wants to do two hours a week. But she also needs flexibility because she travels quite a bit as well, albeit not for business. She has a partner who lives in Asia and she goes to see him quite frequently. It makes it a little bit difficult to plan lessons that are cohesive for her because we really do need to focus on her grammar. She also has a hard time remembering the differences between the tenses, and I’m not so good at explaining how to keep them in her head. It is indeed quite a challenge. But she’s a new client and I suspect that is going to take us some time to get her up to snuff. I have given my usual tips for using the language and as she lives in one of the Ra cities she should have some flexibility with finding people who speak English. In fairness, that is easy in the Netherlands, even outside the main cities. Everybody speaks some sort of English. Whether they speak good English or not is another debate entirely. But any language acquisition is better than no language acquisition. After two years with my beloved Odhran, we’re taking a break. I am not sure whether the break is indefinite or not. I have just told his mom to let me know when they are ready to begin again. I will be available but it makes me sad because if it is permanent, that’s two years that we’ve been working together. Admin work was relatively busy this week with a new Course starting for Ukrainian refugees that I had to facilitate with one other teacher. I also had to go to Amstelveen as well to grade the tests and put people into groups. It was extremely tiring trying to coordinate between the English Center and the people actually running the program but it got done. But flexibility cuts both ways and my students have also had to be flexible with me as well. That was particularly true this week as Jasper and I went to the south of England to celebrate our friend’s 50th birthday.

Our friends live in a town called Three Oaks which sounds like, and is in fact, in the middle of the countryside. But surprisingly, when I mentioned it to people in the Netherlands who are English they knew the town. Every single time that I mentioned it. My friends’ names are Colin and Caroline and they are absolutely lovely people who are very much into wine. We met about 10 years ago when I was living in Edinburgh and became fast friends very quickly. The bed and breakfast that we stayed in was quite lovely and is owned by a man who was the headmaster of a private school. The school has outposts in Africa and it’s reflected in the decor: the hotel is an eclectic mix of both old English style and African artifacts from the owner’s travels. But they were having staffing issues and I am not sure that they will be around if things don’t turn around. We also went to Hastings which, to be honest, was not the most interesting town, but at least we got to walk on the beach. We didn’t see any Normans, however. Sunday was spent recuperating from Saturday’s accesses. Jasper and I both took it easy. And then Colin and Caroline picked us up for a pub lunch in the country. It was a lovely weekend all around. The only dim spots on the weekend were not being able to figure out the trains as it wasn’t very clear how to transfer and there were very few people to ask. But we made it and going back yesterday was a little bit better.

I really dropped the ball this week with the writer’s group. I did not realize that on Meetup you can have an event chat and completely missed that one of the people coming for the writers’ group contacted the group on that forum and I only saw his message on Sunday. It was a message to say that he had arrived at the library. I immediately contacted him to apologize but as of this writing, he had not contacted me. In addition, I contacted Mark to let him know that we had missed a member. We have agreed to keep a better eye on the meetup responses in the future, but it cast a pall on Sunday as u felt horrid about it. We had one other new member show up but he was just a visitor as he is from Spain and was visiting friends in Amsterdam. He popped into the writer’s group but did not have anything to write with and so left soon after. It was an atypical week for writer’s group management and my writing suffered for it, as I didn’t get any writing done at all.

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

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