The school divided at the end of the school year. I choose to follow one of the owners although the other owner offered me a general position, nothing concrete mind you, just if I would be interested I should come and see her. She was relocating to an area outside of town, which would require quite a stretch of main road driving on my part. After the death of my mother-in-law in a moto accident, I didn’t feel safe enough to drive myself such a distance on open roads, so really didn’t consider the job offer seriously. Besides, she worked all year to discredit my teaching, so I could expect more of the same if I went to work for her.
But then there was a quandary. The other owner was still waiting for the permit from SEP (Secretary of Education) to open the school and come August we had no students to teach, although the permit arrived days before the beginning of the school year. I had attempted to organize a summer school program with English, music, computers and cooking classes, but with the drama of the two owners, parents didn’t want to be seen as supporting one or the other and did not send their children.
So I was out a job for the school year. I had a few other offers from different schools, but there was always something that just didn’t quite fit. One was too far and I wasn’t sure that my now aging moto could go the distance. One was owned by persons that I had worked for before and would not work for again, no matter what the pay. One was only part-time, the cost for travel and time and the amount of pay didn’t make it worth the effort. So this school year, I started out at home with my son in the day and teaching private classes when he went to school in the afternoons.
But again, when people learned that I was available during the day for classes, my days started to fill up. I don’t teach classes every morning, but I do have classes every day except Sunday. Each day’s schedule is different and I have to organize my bag and my thoughts to keep up. I love my calendar planner! I’d be lost without it.
I asked the school owner, who now had a building but no students if I could use the building on Saturdays. She has let me the building rent-free and I have begun trying to recruit other teachers who might want some extra income, to offer classes on Saturdays. It hasn’t been wildly successful, either with the teachers or students, but I haven’t given up yet. Most of the teachers tell me to let them know if there are students and then they will come in. They don’t understand that this is a self-marketing type of position, not a school. Yes, the owner helps with some advertising since we use her logo on our flyers and newspaper ads, but I have to go out and find my students, tell them what I offer and convince them to come to the school on Saturdays when they could be laying about watching TV. Quite a challenge I assure you.
I also have branched out and added piano to my list of courses. I don’t have a formal degree in music, however, I studied piano more than 10 years, so feel confident enough to teach the basics.
I have also continued to better the language games I have developed over the years, so much so that I hope this next year to have a set of games that I can offer to teachers and schools and earn a bit on the side.
I also tried to organize a Christmas Activity program for students over the 3-week break, but again, it was not to be. Parents didn’t want to take the time to bring their kids or pay the $50 pesos per day or just didn’t hear about it as we had very limited budget for marketing. Students didn’t want to be bothered and preferred the boob tube to whatever we might have to offer. Half of the teachers were of the attitude that I should let them know when there was a group and did very little to try and get students. It’s hard to fight cultural apathy even with my enthusiasm for teaching. But I keep on plugging in the hopes of something wonderful down the line.
See Also: Learning and Teaching Year 1, Learning and Teaching Year 2, Learning and Teaching Year 3, Learning and Teaching Year 4, Learning and Teaching Year 5, and Authentic Teaching and Learning and me