Planning Panic, King’s Day Commotion, and Hague Hyjinks

It has been, dear reader of, a fairly difficult week at Inkreadable in terms of preparation. The biggest stressor is, of course, the new class that I am leading at Imres in Lelystad. The trouble started when I sent an email on my Inkreadable account to the company asking for a projector and a whiteboard in the room that I will be using, only to realize that I never got an answer from anybody. I sent another email on Thursday but was not sure whether there would be anybody to answer it as generally, people take the Friday after King’s Day off. And so it proved last week. It all worked out in the end as on Monday there was indeed a whiteboard and projector in the room. I got there about 45 minutes early so that I could practice using the projector as that’s not something that I have so much experience with.

But that was only one source of panic. By Thursday I had finished most of the slides without bells and whistles, but I realized that instead of taking me two days each class was going to take at least until the end of the week to plan. So it seems that my two days per class estimate was a bit optimistic. I hadn’t finished the first class until Sunday early afternoon. What saved me was that George and Jerry were not on my schedule as they were away on vacation with their parents. Which suited me just fine. Sunday was a beautiful sunny day in Amsterdam but instead of going out, I sat in the house in my pajamas trying to figure out the Bells and whistles of my presentation. I also spent time making notes for myself for English language extras that I thought might be interesting for my students. I also started planning for the second class. I realized fairly quickly, however, that it’s not possible to plan the course completely as I need to get to know the students. I had a lovely chat with Anya the owner of Flowently yesterday morning and she gave me some pretty good tips about how to engage the students. And as always my friend Jolene is an endless source of fun things for the classroom. I also had the students make triangles with their names so that I don’t have to constantly remember. By far the best suggestion that she gave me was having the students do a grammar toolbox for themselves so that they know where they struggle and so that I know how to help them if they need individual help. I discovered that the bells and whistles of the presentation would take a little bit more time than I had, so I took a page out of the ESL brains handbook and just made slides with the answers.

King’s Day is the biggest flea market and party in the Netherlands. I knew this, but still made my Japanese student come to the City from Amstelveen for a class. It was probably the biggest mistake that I could have made that day. Needless to say, we didn’t get much class stuff done even though we talked a little bit about King’s Day, and while I think my student was okay with the class, I was not. I felt like I had not been at my best. I will never do that again. I knew it was going to be a crush of people but that didn’t really stop me from being anxious. After all, when you are smaller than nearly everybody else in the country you have a very justifiable fear of being trampled.

I went to the Hague for a new private client on Friday. While I have not started advertising my business it seems that word is getting out. She contacted me by phone at the beginning of the week and we met on Friday as I had time. It looks like she’s going to turn into a fairly steady daily client, with four days online and in person for one day a week as an intensive since the Hague is hard to get to. She seems to be about a B1-level student so we will have to see how she copes with my lessons.

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

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