Communication Concerns and a Writing Return

 Sometimes, dear reader, despite your best efforts it just isn’t possible to manage your time. But, sometimes it’s out of your control. Such was the case this week when I got a call from English Center saying that they wanted to run the Pre-intermediate English class starting on Thursday last week. The problem is that I had already opened my VIPKid schedule to bookings because I thought that they weren’t currently running PIE. It seems, that I need a little bit more notice than three days. In fact, I need about two weeks. Because failing all else, as bad as my bookings on VIPKid are, At least I get bookings. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I learned, however that I need to be better about looking at the English Center website for the dates of classes so that I can close off those slots to VIPKid in advance. Because the money I make in two hours doing a class is much better than what I make with VIPKid.

In other teaching news, I was hopeful for a new private client of my own, but that alas did not materialize into anything. After a second email from the student asking whether I would be available to meet this past week, I have heard nothing. Maybe she has found a cheaper way to learn English. That’s the nature of the business, I’m afraid and at least I still have two sets of private clients for English and one for Greek. Over at the English Center, I also have a returning student in the form of Sander and a new student who is testing my level of academic English skill. I am meeting with her online on Fridays from this past Friday through 29 January. Excluding of course Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. They both fall on Fridays this year.

Over in the writing world, we not only have been doing Nanowrimo on the weekends, but now we’ve gone back to our Thursday night writing group, this time an online edition. And that seems to be working quite well. We only had three people attend on Thursday but I am hopeful that there will be more as people find the time. I got a bit of writing done and I also submitted the next part of my novel for critique to the critique group that meets on Wednesday. I was quite pleased with my efforts.

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

Midterm Moratorium And a Ludicrous Lockdown

 This week at Inkreaable, dear reader, marked the beginning of the Chinese midterm season. It was of course, reflected in my schedule across all of my teaching platforms. VIPKid cancellations ran rampant through the week and while they weren’t complete days off, they may as well have been. I expect this to continue over the next week as well, as most of my students are older and their workload in China is getting more and more difficult. The loss of Scarlet for the moment, makes my Sundays end at 2 PM normally, though this past Sunday ended at one because George and Jerry were studying for midterms. I have not seen them since last Tuesday. The next time I see them will be 15 November.

I am a little annoyed that it is a slow time for me teaching wise as we’ve gone into a lockdown and there really isn’t anywhere to go. Restaurants here are open for take away only and most everything else is closed. So even if you’re walking around there really isn’t anything to do. The good thing about that is that I can lesson plan. But even TEC has slowed down quite significantly. I only have two more lessons with Sander and my Filipino student Glaiza. My client in the suburbs does not wish to meet online, and currently does not wish to meet in person because of Covid restrictions. He has asked that we finish our lessons next year. So the bright side is tat I still have some work to look forward to next year.

I’ve been thinking about my next steps and it seems that being an examiner for the IELTS is a bit more difficult than I thought. They only have a certain number of examiners around the world and they want to keep that number constant. So the only way to become an examiner is if there’s space. I will continue monitoring, but I think that that is not an option right now. I’ve been thinking about how best to move forward and maybe the answer is to design classes that are more targeted and specific. I have found that I really enjoy talking about and teaching the English associated with different fields. So I’ve been thinking to try and design a course for adults that are specific to their jobs for example, teaching the language specific to real estate as well as how to be able to speak clearly and well when dealing with international clients. There is also a writing component because I’ve noticed that most descriptions of real estate listings in English are simply run through a translator. The idea I guess, is that the English is good enough for real estate agents to get their point across. But sometimes there are words in Dutch which simply don’t translate to English. I’m going to do some research and see if I can then expand into the medical terms for doctors or other industry specific  terms in English. I’m not sure that it will work but at least it gives me a little bit of hope.

Over in the writing world, some people are doing Nanowrimo online and I have popped in to say hello when I can. I have not been able to actually sit down and write because with the new lockdown, I’m actually working seven days a week. The rest of my social life has gone online and so I’m not taking Saturdays off anymore. At least not for the next couple of weeks. We will have to see what happens with the next press conference in mid-November.   But if I can’t go outside and there’s nothing to do why not work? I’ve also scheduled some online Thursday night sessions and we will see who decides to come and what happens. It’ll be interesting to see if the Writers Group can transition to an online model at least until we can find a space where we can meet in person.

By far the highlight of the week was the US elections results. I am excited to see what the future holds for my country with a female VP who is also a person  of color.

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

Bright Beginning and Scarlett Sayonara

 Today is the last day of a four-day weekend that Jasper and I took as a staycation because traveling in the Netherlands is inadvisable right now. Nevertheless, it was nice not having to do anything on a Sunday which is a normal working day for me. 1 November, otherwise known as my dad’s birthday, and the start to Nanowrimo, dawned bright and sunny. I will admit that we didn’t do much that day, but I did get online and do some editing with friends for a couple of hours in the morning. It was nice to see people that I hadn’t seen in over a year. I must say that zoom must be making a killing off of COVID-19. Well, them, and other platforms like them. Because for every person who has a free account that kicks you out after 40 minutes there are companies that are paying quite a bit of money to have access to premium accounts. I suspect that this is the wave of the future in terms of work. After all, why would companies pay for buildings when people can work from home online? And while the future wasn’t so bright that I had to wear shades, the beginning of nano showed some promise.

Meanwhile, in teaching news, I have two students from the English Center who will wrap up with me in a couple of weeks. I am then anticipating a huge slow down in terms of teaching. I also interviewed for Gogokid, another platform that deals with the Chinese market for ESL. All I can say was it was the worst interview I have ever given. I was given a time for an interview, and it wasn’t specified that this was a recorded interview and not with a live person. As a result I absolutely bombed the interview and have gotten a resounding no from Gogokid. It’s OK  as I still have VIPKid and I think things may be picking up there. Maybe. Of the 15 hours that I opened for the frenzy, (remember that’s two weeks out) I have 9 1/2 hours of the 15 booked that’s higher than it’s been in some time.

Scarlett, or rather Scarlett’s mom, has decided that her workload is too heavy and will not continue with me for the moment. Scarlett is in the American public school system, so I wonder just how hard her workload is. She is seven. But as my dad says, something else will come along. And it did in the form of an email asking about private lessons from a woman I have met at the gym. As of this writing, she has not responded to my email and so perhaps I am too expensive for her. But there will be more where she came from. In addition, a good friend of mine who lives in France recommended that maybe I should go into teaching subject specific English like English to the real estate market. I think that’s a great idea and to that end I’m going to talk to my Dutch student to get his opinion.

I am off to wrap up my weekend of doing nothing, as well as hiding from the election results. And in personal news dear readers, I have gotten my second appointment for the MRI and that’s not until 1 December with a telephone consult with the doctor on 11 December so no news on the medical front. But, at least it’s not a spinal tap. I think I’m gonna have to keep repeating that to make myself feel better.

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

More MRI and Creative Collaboration

Well, dear readers, it’s not a tumor nor lupus. But that’s about all I can tell you right now. My MRI results came in and they are somewhat inconclusive. What they have found is that I have a herniated disc in my cervical spine up near the fourth and fifth vertebrae. But the doctor told me that that does not account for the sensations that I’ve been feeling. Of more interest to him, he said, was the fact that my thoracic spine, which is the long column down the back, is  swollen. The upshot is that I’m to have another MRI this time with contrast. That just means that you are injected with a die that allows the doctors to see what’s going on inside the spinal cord. So the ordeal is not over yet, but at least, it’s not a spinal tap.

In teaching news, I managed to do a couple of things this week that were quite nice. I have a new student in the center of town who I see for an hour and a half. She’s from the Philippines and her English level is near native. I’m not exactly sure why she wants English lessons, but she’s the one that I thought wanted IELTS help and I was quite happy to once again immerse myself in the exam. But, I was wrong. She wants general English help with a smattering of IELTS on the side. She is thinking to take the test when she goes back to the Philippines in the early part of next year. But what was interesting is that she also wants to qualify as an English language teacher. So it’ll be interesting to see what I can do with that. In the meantime, I did a lesson on idioms in the business world for her courtesy of Regina because I had to switch my lesson plan very quickly. You see, I had planned an hour and a half of IELTS. I didn’t mind so much because I was able to show that I could adapt and give a good lesson regardless of whether I had all the right information or not. You see the email TEC sent me was headed IELTS help and so that’s what I thought I needed to teach. Lesson learned for next time, confirm with TEC.

The next thing that happened in the teaching world was the four hour intensive that I gave on Wednesday morning. It went really well, and the time passed quickly, as I knew it would. The student is eager to learn and motivated and displays none of the arrogance of other students who think they know your language better than you do. It was also an exercise in collaboration as you know, what was interesting is that due to Regina’s organization she made a Google document where we pasted our lesson plans, letting the other teachers on the team know what we had covered. We also, by which I mean me, set up a WhatsApp group and communicated that way. It actually worked really well. I’ve discovered that I quite enjoy collaborative teaching as well as collaborative learning.

Finally, dear reader, this is the final post for October and you all know what that means. Nanowrimo is a[ upon us. While I do not think I will participate this year in nano completely, I am thinking to be a nano rebel or a nano editor and just work on my existing novel for the month. Since we are not meeting in person, we have decided that maybe we should start doing something online. I’m not sure how that’s gonna work as I have taken the weekend off starting on 30 October and going through the United States election. While we are not going anywhere, we are planning a staycation in lieu of the vacation that we had started planning six weeks ago. In addition, I think that the Netherlands will go into a stronger lockdown and so it will not be possible to travel anyway.

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

Conscious Collaboration and IELTS Introduction

This week at Inkreadable, dear reader,  was an exercise in learning how to work with other people. It’s not that I didn’t know how to do that already, in my previous life I managed a restaurant, and also worked as an accountant both of which are much more collaborative than what I do now. Being an online English teacher, doesn’t give you much opportunity for collaborative working, and I was surprised to find out that neither does teaching in person. At least not unless you have split the work between several different teachers. Such was the case with the English Center and a student that wants a 20 hour intensive over five days that will start this week. To that end, on Friday morning, I woke up early so that I could plan the lesson and send It to the other teachers one of whom is Regina and the other is Beatrix. I have not worked with Beatrix before so as we are taking the majority of the classes, with Regina only picking up four hours of the twenty, it’ll be interesting to see what kinds of things she teaches the student and how I can pick up and teach from where each of them leave of, so that we collectively offer a streamlined and smooth experience for the student. I am his first teacher and his last teacher so the Inn between will be interesting.

In other teaching news, I have been teaching a young woman and helping her with the IELTS exam. This was my first real exposure to the IETS, which is an English competency exam given in association with Cambridge English. Therefore I did not expect it to be easy. And it isn’t. If my Celta was anything to go by it’s quite a rigorous exam. But as fate would have it I was the teacher who helped her not be stressed out about the reading portion of the exam. This is work that I’m doing for free, and I have given her two extra hours this week and will probably give her three hours leading up to the exam. Which she takes next week. But as fate would have it, this too would prove fortuitous. Last night I met with a woman who is also taking the exam and so I was able to give her my thoughts and expertise and able to work through it because I already had some experience. Everything truly does happen for a reason.

In personal news, I had my MRI and I am waiting to meet with the neurologist to go over the results. In the meantime things remain as the status quo and I continue to feel pins and needles in my feet. Things came to a head when I went to The Hague to pick up my passport on Thursday as I fell because I couldn’t feel the pavement change. I did not get hurt but I am discovering that every time I fall it becomes more and more difficult to bounce back from it.

In the meantime, here in the Netherlands we have severe restrictions and have gone into a slightly more rigorous lockdown than the previous one. But it’s still not as rigorous as one would like. You can still go to the grocery stores, and you have to wear masks in indoor spaces. But it’s nothing like the lockdown in other places where you have to prove that you’re going to the grocery store and can go out.  such was the case with the first wave of lock down in Crete where my sister lives. I’m not sure they’re doing the same thing now but this summer, and the wish to try and have tourism open up again, really backfired. So that means that the writers group will not meet for quite a while, and we’re trying to figure out how to handle November. It is Nanowrimo and most of us want to participate in some form or another so we are thinking to take word sprints and word wars online. We will have to see how all of that works out.

I am still planning on taking the weekend before election day off as well as election day but it looks like it’s going to be a staycation as travel is extremely difficult and they’re asking people to stay home. In other election news, I sent my ballot on 21 September and the Dutch Postal Service has lost track of it. At this point I can only hope that it gets where it needs to go so that my vote can be cast.

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

Vicious Virus and a Teaching Terminus

Well, dear reader, it isn’t lupus. It appears, however, that I have a virus in my spinal cord causing all these problems. At least, it’s not corona. When I was a kid, I had oral herpes and what I remember from that experience was just how much pain I was in through the whole ordeal. A week and a half of not being able to eat or sleep or play or go outside or anything. Eventually, as these things do, it went away. Never to be heard from again. Until now. While 2/3 of the population worldwide carry some type of herpes, it never goes away and hangs out in your system your whole life and you can have flareups. Apparently this, by which I mean what I’m experiencing with my feet, is a flareup from that herpes virus all those years ago. I still need to schedule an MRI to make sure that it isn’t anything mechanical with my spine and then the next step would be a spinal tap.

Awesome rock bands notwithstanding, dear reader, you could’ve heard me flinch from all the way over here in Amsterdam. The doctor saw this and hastened to assure me that the procedure was my choice and I didn’t have to have the lumbar puncture, but having spoken to a couple of people, by which I mean my sister and Jasper, they assured me that it really wasn’t any big deal. That the pain would be fleeting and at least we would know. But still, I hesitate. Nobody wants unnecessary procedures and tortures. The neurologist also told me that it was a benign virus. Still skeptical. Such was my surprise and shock that I didn’t ask him the right questions such as “will this flareup happen again?” And more importantly “are there antivirals that I can take to clear it up?”. Since I was not able to schedule the MRI when I was at the doctor, I scheduled the MRI over the phone and again forgot to ask. I did, however remember to ask them if they could take pictures of my nerve endings and see if everything was OK there. And as everybody keeps telling me the MRI should show something. So I’ve decided I will wait on the spinal tap to see the MRI results and to see whether this clears up by itself. Which the doctor indicated it should do within a couple of weeks. But today is day 14 and I still feel pins and needles (and now sometimes pain) in my feet.

In teaching news, my one month assignment with the student who is the most advanced I’ve ever taught as yet, was great.  I loved that I could teacher her in the context of controversial topics. It allowed me to get creative, and I( am going to miss that. I don’t think my other clients will be as open, and while we did not always agree (she was surprisingly conservative for one so young), we still had fun.  On the bright side, that means that now I’ll only have to go to Amstelveen for one day this week for two clients and then we go back down to just the client on Mondays until about the end of December. In other news, there may be a possibility to teach a week of intensive at the end of this month. I do love intensives, though I’m not convinced of their effectiveness. After all, how much can you learn when you’re cramming 20 hours of English into one week. But that’s not my problem, and if that’s how the student wants to learn, Then I will try and make it as fun and as interesting as possible. I will be teaching with a couple of other teachers, I think, and so we will have to coordinate so that we don’t double up our work. We’ll have to see how it goes because I haven’t done too much collaborative work at the English Center it’s an exciting proposition.

VIPKid continues to be a shit show and the loss of work seems to be quite significant for me at this time. I’m simply not getting booked. I’ve decided therefore not to worry about it, not to open for frenzy, and try to give as much time to the English Center and my private clients as possible. To that end, I have been asking my Chinese parents to continue to recommend me and one of them even offered to post my WeChat on her newsfeed so that I can get access to a bigger market. It seems like word-of-mouth is the way to go in China. There is no listserv or place where people go online to find tutors with their children that I can post on and see if I can get more clients. Maybe now’s the time to do the work for Preply and look at their videos, as well as,  look at their on boarding process and see how to advertise to get clients that way.

Next week, and the following,  I am teaching, though  not for pay, a young woman who needs some help with her IELTS which is an English competency exam given by Cambridge. She is nervous and needs some help so someone posted on a Facebook group that I’m part of and a bunch of us are helping her out over the next two weeks until the exam. It’s a good opportunity for me to be able to figure out just what the exam is what it in tails and how to help her prep. Largely she needs help with conversation but as I’m an English teacher I’m going to try and prepare a mini lesson for her.

Private teaching continues to go well with me getting really decent suggestions from the parents and changing my lessons accordingly. It’s always fun to freshen things up and I always welcome these kinds of suggestions because they can only make me a better teacher.

In the Writers world, by which I mean  and critique group, we continue to struggle to find a time to meet as most of us tend to forget. I include myself in this as I continually forget which Wednesday I’m supposed to be posting the online meet up. I’ve had to put it in my calendar in order to remind myself. I should’ve I suppose, done that from the beginning, but what can you do.. We seem to be heading for a curfew with other lock down measures so it’ll be a while before we can meet. We will probably know later tonight.

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



Worrisome workout And a schedule shutdown

It isn’t often, dear reader, that I post personal stuff on this blog as you know. But when those things affect my teaching, then this blog becomes quite important as it allows me to work through the issue to possibly come to a solution of some kind. To be honest, the issue may have started last  Sunday. The reason I didn’t blog about it in last Tuesday’s post is because it didn’t feel like an issue then. It’s swiftly turned into one, however. What happened was just this, the house begin to twitch. No, no, that’s not right. Let’s try this again. On Sunday last week we to the gym to workout. I taught and then went to see friends. I had my normal VIPKid zoom drinks and fell asleep. I woke on Monday to some strange sensations in my feet. The best way to describe it is pins and needles. What I thought was a sensation that would surely end, didn’t. I cannot feel my feet. I did go to the GP and they have referred me to a neurologist as I may have slipped a disc or have a pinched nerve. I also took the precaution of scheduling a physical therapy appointment but the doctor said to hold off until after the neurology visit. What this means for my teaching is quite clear.

I taught last week with this feeling and it is affecting my balance as I’m not able to stand very well or do all of the interactive movements that I normally do when teaching my students, like jumping or running or walking to teach those verbs. It’s not the best sensation in the world, and it makes walking around and getting to work considerably more difficult than it needs to be because I cannot currently feel changes in pavement or feel depth as I step down or up.  I have also started noticing sharp pains in my back, though those are intermittent. We will have to see what neurology says on Thursday. Speaking of, as much as I love living in the Netherlands, I often panic because I don’t speak  enough Dutch and feel that people don’t speak enough English here to actually understand complicated descriptions of a medical nature. Still, I’ll muddle through somehow.

Rest assured, you will know almost as soon as I do what’s happening and what the prognosis is but right now I’m just trying not to be totally terrified.

The conversation playground is a no go which means that I need to figure out my schedule for next week. I had kept it closed to both VIPKid and the English center, in anticipation of a Boot Camp for the conversation playground. But there wasn’t enough interest. It is the way of the English teaching world in Amsterdam so I opened my schedule to VIPKid. Yesterday morning I woke to 7 hours of teaching for the week. Out of 21 hours. Well, on the bright side, it took over three years for the ridiculous amount of hiring to kick me in the ass.

Over in the writing world I have canceled further writing sessions through October, as the search of a new location has to commence. With the changng of the schedule at the bookstore, this has now become imperative.  I rather dread trying to find a new location but people have been sending in suggestions. It’s going to be a whil,e however. Covid numbers in the Netherlands continue to rise as people continue to be stupid. New restrictions came out last week and we wait to see if there will be more strict ones. Apparently the mandatory wearing of masks has passed the second chamber, which I understand is The Netherlands’  version of the US Congress. It remains to be seen whether mandatory mask wearing nationally will be advocated in the first chamber. For myself, I have been wearing masks inside stores and trying to normalize the feeling of having a mask indoors, and sometimes even out, if the population density in an area is too much for me to handle.

A small part of me fears that this ridiculous insane 2020 will kill the Writers Group, but I am trying to remain optimistic that it will not as most of us are in touch.

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

Tech Trauma and Teacher thankful

Admittedly, dear reader, my week could’ve been a lot worse. I have taken every precaution that I can to be able to not have any teacher IT’s when it comes to VIPKid. I have an ethernet cable that I always use when teaching as well as my phone near me if the internet goes out. At least then, if something goes out there is plausible deniability when the firemen says your Wi-Fi is unstable. I can then hold up the cable and go “no it isn’t not on Wi-Fi”. Still, one cannot plan for every circumstance. Such was the case when I was teaching my last lesson of the week on Wednesday, and my mostly reliable Dell had a black screen of sleep. I could do nothing to get it back. I duly had to fire up my horrible back up HP, and was treated to 20 minutes of why it is a back up and not my main computer. I’d forgotten, you see, how horrible the screen is. Still I managed to avoid the dreaded teacher IT and was able to teach my last class for VIPKid. Still it is traumatizing when all of that happens and it takes me a couple of days to actually get over that it happened. I was able to use the Dell for every other class that I had over the week. But on Friday I had another tech issue. Actually it really wasn’t a tech issue, I did not take my charging cable for my headphones on Friday out to Amstelveen, having forgotten that I actually had a online professional development that evening and was staying late to attend. I discovered that in a pinch my headphones that are wireless that I use to listen to music with, will work with my Dell and people can hear me. Which still continues to be a problem is that when we use zoom as the platform I am not well received if I don’t use headphones. People simply can’t hear me. And I am not sure how to resolve the issue because that should not happen. If this continues to be an issue I’ll just have to call Dell. After all that’s why I have They are premium support plus.

This week showed me that I really do have a lot to be thankful for. My Greek lessons proceed and are wrapping up with my kid in Ireland, and it seems that he wants to continue. So that means I get to continue with him on Sundays and Tuesday afternoons. Scarlett’s mom contacted me last week and has asked that I do a book report with her for 15 minutes each class. She also said that I didn’t need to prepare so basically she wants me to get Scarlet to talk more rather than read. At least for 15 minutes. I welcome such parents suggestions because they really help me to focus my teaching. George and Jerry continue to be on my schedule and we continue to work through The National Geographic books. I am also finding that it’s a really good book for my student Karolina who really seems to enjoy it. Because she’s quick we are able to extend and have a conversation about the material and finish each chapter every class. What that does for me is because I teach George and Jerry after that it gives me a preview and I’m able to tailor the lesson in a different way for them. With them I’m only able to do half the chapter. Because their lessons are only a half an hour. My friend Regina also contacted me on Sunday and asked me if I wanted to work Tuesdays and Fridays and we would split a student for TEC. Unfortunately with my schedule being swiss-cheesed by travel, I couldn’t do it but I was supremely happy that she thought of me. Hopefully in the future we can collaborate further. Whether for TEC or ourselves.

Another friend of mine who works at a school, gave me the tip that I should send my resume to the school because they sometimes look for English language teachers to teach the teachers and since that’s where I think my career path is going, it was a supremely helpful tip. I duly listen to my resume out yesterday, and got the sharpest rejection I have ever received. it was all of two lines.

This week’s critique group was quite interesting. In that only one other person and I attended. It ended up being an hour conversation about his work that he submitted. If this continues maybe the critique group is going to die, I hope that’s not the case and maybe I need to be better and more proactive about reminding people about it. We have lost our bookstore as well. We are now going to have to find a new home for the bookstore once we’re able to meet in person. The bookstore is no longer opening late on Thursdays. They’re going to maintain a consistent 6 PM close throughout the week. So it seems that our home away from home is no longer and then we need to find a new one. I am certainly not looking forward to that.

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

Pre-fall punches

I knew, when I started teaching ESL, that the income was not going to be consistent. What I did not realize is just how inconsistent it would be. The English Center, while more consistent of late, continues to cut into my ability to plan my schedule In a way that actually makes me money. I think this month will be the first month where I actually make much less money than I have before. It is certainly a huge change from June 2019 when I actually made a profit.

I know it will ultimately be OK but it is nerve-racking not having some sort of income stability. In addition, I’m actually working less hours. In fact, this may be the least amount of hours I work in a week. I think I’m working about 14 teaching hours a week between English Center and VIPKid, leaving about three hours for my own private teaching. Things were looking up in the beginning of the week when I gave a trial lesson to a woman who wanted English lessons for her sons. She lives in Ireland so I did think it was kind of odd that she wanted English lessons as she lives in English speaking country, but agreed to give a half an hour trial lesson to the three of them. At the end of the lesson, it was agreed that the younger one probably didn’t have the focus for online ESL lessons but the older one did and would do well. We set up for lessons over two weeks. I sent them an email with my policies and on Saturday evening they got back to me saying that they weren’t going to continue with lessons. I’m not sure if it was a money issue or a timing issue or they found someone in Ireland to teach the kids. Or if my new pay in advance policy scared them off. But I have found that after the Felix debacle that’s what I am going to have to do from now on.

The opening up of my schedule allowed me to open up a few more slots for VIPKid that I am not sure are going to book. With the way things are going, I stand to make much less money with VIP kid than ever before. So it’s not becoming a feasible source of income anymore. Luckily, there is still the conversation playground sometime in October and I do have some classes that I need to finish up, with current and pending students at the English center. So there is teaching work until at least December, just how much remains to be seen.

I do have some faith that things will turn around and I will get some work. To that end, I have decided to try and broaden my horizons by figuring out how to certify in translation and perhaps in teaching Greek or French as well. I’ll have to have a conversation with Lexis Amsterdam, for whom I’ve done some work in the past in English, about actually teaching in Greek. But more specifically how to certify in teaching in Greek.

I also assisted another VIPKid teacher by talking about how to go digital via Manycam and gave a little bit of a presentation to some teachers online. It was a meetup and quite casual but I don’t really like being the focus of attention even for 10 minutes. Still it went well and people seemed to enjoy it. I was not as pleased with my performance however.

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

Plentiful Pipeline

This week, dear reader, taught me about resilience and the ability to fake it till you make it. It was an eventful week, on a couple of different fronts. I don’t much talk about personal things that don’t relate to teaching or writing on this blog, with the exception of maybe showing some pictures of where I go on vacation. But this week, the drama was not centered around me, but around my neighbor. I was falling asleep on Wednesday evening this week, when there was a knock on my door. It was not, however, a dark and stormy night. It was just dark.

I opened the door to find my next-door neighbor Geraldine literally gushing. With blood. It appeared that she had cut herself pretty badly. I took a look and realized that she had probably cut her tendon. I know the signs, having experienced a similar (though less complicated), injury myself. And so it proved. The Dutch healthcare system is pretty good, but you really do need to advocate for yourself on a level that is a bit different from America. Here in the Netherlands, you have to know your body really well and if you want to get anything like a referral, you really need to know why you need it. In emergency medicine, you don’t go to the emergency room. You call your doctor first and they make you an appointment at the ER. We did this but I noticed the process was quite long. It took a good 25 minutes to actually talk to the doctors office so that she could get us the appointment at the ER. Once we went there it was the same as the US. We waited, and waited, and waited. And then I waited by myself. And then, of course, Geraldine came and we waited some more. Long story short, it was 3 1/2 hours to get diagnosed and get a cast and go home to go to bed only to be back at the ER at eight o’clock Thursday morning. At another hospital across the city. Geraldine managed to get the hospital to let her stay for the day and it was a good thing because her surgery happened at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I felt a little guilty leaving her but I couldn’t actually cancel teaching. Here’s where it gets interesting. I am a pretty decent teacher on three hours of sleep. You see, I was panicking because I hadn’t finished lesson for Thursday thinking that I would wake up in the morning on Thursday and get it done. But I was not expecting to have to wake up and go to the hospital. So my timing was off. I did get up and I did manage to finish the lesson and I think I gave a pretty good one. As a bonus, my first aid skills were praised by hospital staff which was great. So if this teaching thing doesn’t work out I can always go to medical school. Or the military.

In teaching news, the Conversation Playground contacted me for doing a week of Boot Camp in October, but as ever I’m not sure that that will turn into anything but it’s good to keep hope alive. In addition, word-of-mouth seems to be working for me a little bit which was unexpected. The mom of the boy that I teach Greek to told one of the mothers of his classmates that I also teach English and we have a trial lesson next week. You’ll, of course, know more when I know more. It seems that they have a little bit of English but not nearly enough as they have just moved to Ireland from Germany. Another VIPKid waits in the wings, to finish his last 20 lessons, with VIPKid, and I don’t expect to see him until his winter break as his school schedule is busy. Once those are done, he becomes a private student. With no Felix or Anton on the schedule, I can offer weekday lessons to current students. I have also setup a Preply profile and plan on doing their on boarding process this week. I am struggling with creating content to teach verb tenses and their use to my TEC student as well. SHe confuses their use and I am struggling to figure out how to help with that. I think I am going to have to find someone to consult.

The writing group has morphed once again, from a dinner group, to a board game group. We have played some obscure games like Sheriff of Nottingham and Dixit, to name a few, and we are shortly to morph once again to a Advanced Dungeons and Dragons group. This is to be at a friend’s house. He lives in Haarlem and has a tendency to start the games at 9:00 pm. This is going to be a bit of an issue for me as it still takes me about an hour to get to him. And back. Since I teach on Sundays ,I might need to convince him to start a bit earlier. We’ll have to see how that goes.

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