Restless Return, Pressing Preparation, and a King’s Day Cancellation

Greetings, deer reader, from not-so-sunny Amsterdam. I spent the weekend trying to get out from under the chaos that happens at my house when I go away and Jasper is left on his own. You might think it’s not such a big deal but it very much is and I spent all of Saturday just trying to get the house back into a state that I could handle. On Sunday I was able to do two things that I wanted: the first was I was able to finish up with my plants and I now have 13 pots planted in my house. That is the sum total of pots that I had so my spring organization is almost finished. What remains is to take care of my balcony with its lovely canal view. The other thing that I had to do on Sunday was start preparing for the in-company with Imres.

I had actually started preparing for the course on Friday when I had a meeting with my friend Krys who also works for TEC and Flowently. She showed me the slides that she made for her in-company courses and I started to panic. I am technically savvy in some ways but not technically savvy in others. Where I struggle is to make slides that look nice and professional and how to animate those slides as well. I decided on Sunday after I struggled for about an hour trying to animate something that I was going to get the content on the slides and plan the lesson and then try to add the bells and whistles later if I could. I managed to plan the first half of the lesson for the first of May. I completed that lesson yesterday. Given that it’s probably going to take me about two days per class that means 24 days of actual lesson prep which means I should be finished with the last lesson after class number four. I’m trying to make lessons for multiple companies and so I’m keeping the slides fairly general. For the first lesson, I planned an introduction round, an icebreaker activity, followed by 10 business idioms divided into two slides and then asking questions using the idioms. Yesterday I decided that the second half of the class after a five-minute break would be the difference between formal English and informal English with a focus on writing emails. And then perhaps a video where the students analyze what the presenter does right and what the presenter does wrong. Followed finally, by a list of Tina’s tips for email writing. And since I’m using the business English handbook advanced, I’m going to assign homework from the book. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep this format for the whole time but at least it’s a start. I am also going to open up the field to the students themselves to invite their feedback as to the types of things that they’d like to see in the classroom. I am also going to tell them that they each have to do a presentation in the class as well, and that will start in week 3.

Focusing so much on the preparation for Imres wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t done all of my weekly stuff for the English Center and my private clients the week before. If I can maintain the momentum then it’s okay and I’ll be able to focus just on Imres during the week. It helps that Alessandro and I will be finishing our courses this coming Friday so I will have a little bit more time. What’s also good is that Jean is traveling again and so I won’t be seeing him until probably two weeks from now. In addition, I have already prepared my Japanese client’s lessons through May 2 and my client in The Hague as well. So if I can keep this momentum then I can keep my time management terror to a minimum.

This week, dear readers, is King’s Day in the Netherlands and what that means is that everybody goes ape s*** crazy and wears Orange on the 27th of April in celebration of the King’s birthday. It’s a fun (and funny) holiday because you walk around and people sell their old stuff on the street. I once saw a single shoe for sale, apparently, the mate had gone missing. It was a vintage shoe, however, so maybe someone actually picked it up a. Because King’s Day is considered a national holiday, the library is closed. So I had to cancel our writers’ group on Thursday evening. That kind of suits me fine because I can continue planning lessons for Imres instead of writing. It’s also nice because my Japanese client and I are doing a lesson on the go so I have planned some information about King’s Day and then we’re going to walk around the city and she’s going to use her English.

What would be amazing, dear reader, is if I could stop second-guessing my planning and prepping and just let myself think that everything is going to be fine in terms of Imres. But the bright side is that I’m trying to use the anxiety to up my game and make interesting lessons that my students will like. After all, I have been passively aggressively told that I am an old-fashioned teacher, that I lack self-awareness, and that I am very negative with some students. I don’t really believe some of those things but in the interest of making sure that they aren’t true, listening to my students is the best way to do that.

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

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