Incompany Induction and Commemoration Day Confusion

Last week and yesterday, dear reader, was a good indication of how in-company courses should go. The previous Monday had not gone as planned as I managed to spill coffee on someone in the classroom. It was rather nerve-wracking. It was unfortunately the student that I was worried about because their level was far too low for the class. And as it proved over the course of the week I got an email from the student saying that she was going to stop and try to get an easier class. I am letting Flowently deal with that as it’s not my purview to manage all of that. Just as I would have English Centered deal with it if it was a group class that wasn’t working out. Once I got over my angst about being in a company versus in a classroom, everything was familiar. After all, they’re just people with the same quirks as other people. And teaching is nothing more than connecting with the people that you’re teaching and listening to their needs.

I found that homework is a great way for me to get a sense of how my students think as well as how they write. I noticed that they all had a couple of things in common as I was going through their homework. The first is they all do a lot better than they think they do. But they all make some very common mistakes. My students seem to confuse using the present, the past, and the present progressive when writing about their jobs. So yesterday I started the class off with a 10-minute intro into the difference between the tenses and how we use them in a business context. I also worked on the conversation questions at the back of the first two chapters that I assigned for homework. In the second class, we did more idioms, and thankfully I have found a website with 172 business idioms so I’m just going to use them through the rest of the course. As per my students’ request, I worked on useful phrases for emails and how to improve their syntax. In order to start preparing my students for their presentation we also watched a presentation and discussed the elements that make it a good presentation. I also left some time for them to give me their feedback so that I can shift my lesson prep as much as I can so that everything that they want to cover is accounted for.

This past Thursday was the fourth of May which is the commemoration of the people who died in World War Two in the Netherlands. There are speeches and moments of Silence at eight o’clock. I knew this, dear reader, but I somehow thought that it was not a national holiday and that the library would be open. At 3:30 on Thursday, I was in the center of town going to a bookstore and I noticed that there was an increased police presence and that all of the arteries into the main square of Amsterdam were closed off to both pedestrians and vehicles. I had the foresight to check and see if the library was open and I’m glad that I did because the library actually closed at 6 so I sent a flurry of messages on WhatsApp to the writers’ group telling them to come to my house. And then I ran home as quick as I could and tried to get snacks for people. I’ve been here six years and I should always remember that the month of May has a lot of National Holidays that I need to be aware of in case the library closes so that we make a plan. Mark and I agreed that that should be so but it was very interesting trying to get 12 people into my house. I’ve done it before and it’s not the most comfortable experience in the world, as I just don’t have enough space. And I’ll have to repeat it next week as well as the 18th of May is the feast of the Ascension and is a national holiday in the Netherlands. I find it very funny that most of the National Holidays in the Netherlands are religious in nature as the next May holiday is Whitsunday and Monday and those are also National Holidays. I think the best idea is to try and plan the year in advance so that for any holiday that falls on a Thursday the writers’ group just ends up at my house.

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

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