minus one, plus one

I inherited my ESL class from Mrs Next Door. When she had her second son, she decided she’d rather use her one free evening a week for something else, so she asked me if I wanted to take over her class. She had four students, but one of them was newly pregnant, and never did show up to my class. Understandable; the class started at 8:30 p.m. When I was pregnant, I was out cold long before then.

So I had three students. On a good day. Sore throats, trips to Italy, parent-teacher conferences, husbands out of town, school vacations… there were a lot of reasons we didn’t meet very often. So last week, after not-quite-a-year, I told them I had to give the class up. With three students I made €15 an hour, which wasn’t really worth the lesson-planning and occasional emergency-babysitting calls. I said I felt really bad about leaving them in the lurch (then took a few minutes to teach them the phrase “leave in the lurch,” its meanings and uses), and they said oh no, of course not, it’s fine, we understand. They also elicited the number of students I would like to teach (at least 6) and said they’d ask around.

So that’s actually nice. I was afraid they were rolling their eyes at what a crappy teacher I am, and trying to think of a non-insulting excuse to drop the class, but they are actually going to try to round up enough students to get me to come back. How flattering.

That’s the minus one. Wednesday – um, yesterday, I guess – at the Sniglet’s soccer practice one of the moms asked me if I’d want to start a little English playgroup for her four-year-old and some other kids. I said sure, because… um. Because I’m not a student anymore, and it’s time I started working to earn money, and with the kids in school and the living in a suburb, (and, frankly, my very patchy skills) finding a job-job is going to be well nigh impossible, so my only real option is a lot of freelance this-and-that. Teaching, proofreading, translation, Very Simple web design… etc.

But four-year-olds. Ooo. So I’ve been mooning around trying to think of ways to entertain a passel of pre-schoolers without talking to them in their own language. Should be fun!

(Ahem. That was sarcasm. My brother has a real talent with little kids, he always has. I… don’t. I like my own kids a lot, but I don’t really know how to talk to other people’s. They don’t know a thing about global warming or literature, and they’re all fans of the wrong football team.)

Song du jour of the day: Wouldn’t It Be Good, by Nik Kershaw.


4 responses to “minus one, plus one

  • vicki

    Nonsense. You can do this and it will be fun. Do themes- animals, places, jobs, weather, food- each week a different theme. Bring props. You’ll be great at it.

  • Michelle de Seattle

    The little kid I babysit learns a lot of songs at school. You can’t go wrong with Beatles songs….

    except “Hey Jude”

  • Michelle de Seattle

    Wheels on the bus, as sung by Madonna….

  • Hula Doula

    Sounds like you’ll have your hands full! Good luck there.
    I think the facinating part of all of this is that children have a wonderful way of communicating even though they don’t speak the same language. We found that out when we went to Europe the last two years. My husband’s niece only speaks Finnish. Talk about fun. My 3 year old and my 9 year old played and played with her. Play is an international language.
    PS Thank you for stopping by

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