Category Archives: Employment

Teaching Kids Online

 

Camille OnlineMost of you already know that I became a virtual teacher sometime last year in preparation for my transition away from private and elementary classes. (See Transition Year) While the pay was so much better being in US dollars, the hours were random.  Sometimes I had 15 hours of classes, sometimes 9. That being the case, the final transition wouldn’t have been possible had not the company I work for expanded their reach to include children ages 7-14. (See Online Teaching)

I wasn’t part of the pilot program, but when the request went out in mid-June for teachers to switch platforms, I submitted my application and soon enough I was one of the first official teacher group for the junior English component.  

The setup is a bit different from the adult classes in that it uses Zoom rather than Adobe Connect.  Zoom is a bit easier to manage with drawing and writing options for all participants (both student and teacher).  There were some technical bugs to work out, however.  When enrollment reached a certain point, Zoom did some crazy stuff.  It would kick the teachers out of classroom saying they were already signed in somewhere else.  My theory is that some of the newest teachers didn’t have their own Zoom accounts yet and ended up signing in under another teacher’s name.  I took matters into my own hands and created my own free Zoom account so that when the unceremonious ousting occurred, I could sign in to my own account and teach the class without issue.

Class length for the juniors is 25 minutes and one-on-one (student/teacher).  Private classes at the adult level are 20 minutes and group classes are 45 minutes.  I believe 25 minutes is just right.  That gives the teachers 5 minutes before the start of the next class to send feedback, recommend advancement or repetition, and set up for the next class.

As the program was launched before all the classroom levels were completed, all students go through the same classes no matter their initial English level.  That is supposed to change soon though and students will be slotted into levels just like the adults.

Most of the students are from Colombia with a handful of students from Peru, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, and Mexico.  Typically students take their classes after they arrive home from school and on weekends, which means that’s my availability as well so I get the maximum number of hours permitted.  

Most of the students are delighted to be in class and we have a good time progressing through the lessons.  On the other hand, there are the reluctant learners.  They fall into two categories, those that are sullen in class and those that have parents feeding them the answers, so basically are not learning a thing.  The poopy students usually loosen up after I acknowledge their lack of enthusiasm for the class and make faces at them.  

The parents are another story altogether.  I’ve tried addressing the student, who denies anyone is giving them the answers even though I can hear it myself.  I’ve also tried addressing the parent, who denies giving the answers.  Frustrated I brought the topic up in the company group chat and requested a letter be sent out reminding parents that their interference is impeding their child’s learning.  We’ll see if that happens.

Another more recent issue is the hiring of a Latin crew of English teachers.  Reading the teacher feedbacks (Student taked his time.  Him and his father were disappointed.) makes me doubt the wiseness of hiring non-native English speakers to teach English.  It’s not that I think the company should hire U.S. citizens only because there are definitely some positions that are more suited to Spanish speakers.  For instance, sales, technical support and responding to student’s questions about grammar or course issues are certainly better done in the student’s native language.  However, as this is an online English course, parents pay the big bucks to have native English speakers teach their children.  If they wanted Spanish speaking English teachers, well, they already have that at the schools in their area.

So, I’m working 3 evenings a week and all day Saturday and Sunday.  It’s the first time in years that I actually have a “weekend” even though it is in the middle of the week.  I’ve been enjoying the days off, the teaching experience and the better income.  All is not smooth sailing, however.  Last month something happened with Telmex (the only internet provider in my town) and there was no internet for hours, right in the middle of my shift. (See Internet service back after 3-hour outage)

Then I was worried that the recent hurricanes and earthquakes might cause connection issues, but that didn’t happen, at least to me.  Quite a number of teachers were affected though.  So it’s a bit nerve-wracking being so dependant on such an unreliable service.  Well, I guess I’ll ride this wave as far as it will take me.

Meanwhile, I bought the tile for the entire second floor of the house with my earnings.

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Prepper Me

Revolucionaria

So awhile ago, I came across a website looking for writers.  I clicked the link to investigate.  It turned out to be a Prepper site.  You know… the end is nigh, prepare now to survive and so on.  I thought to myself, well, maybe I could write stuff like that.  After all, I did complete the A to Z Why La Yacata is the best place to survive whatever disaster series.  So I asked my blogging group.  Did they think I could write Prepper stuff?  And yep, the ladies convinced me that I definitely could.  So I applied.

Several days later, I received a response.  I was super excited.  After several emails back and forth, my trial topic posts were Cooking with Cast Iron Cookware and The Medicinal Use of Garlic which I was subsequently paid for and were published on the site.  Go ahead and check them out!  I’m pretty proud of them!

Bare OrganicsMe- I got accepted to write for that Preppersite. Son- Does that mean we have to move to a military compound- Me- No, but we need to get those zombie deterrents up.

Then I submitted several other topic ideas, including Lessons Learned from Mexico’s Recent Earthquakes, and received positive replies from the post coordinator, but no dockets to write any articles on the topics I submitted.

Well, I guess I’m not a Prepper after all.

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Transition year

mototeacher

If you recall, a few months ago, I outlined my busy work schedule (Juggling all the eggs in one basket) and wondered if really these things were worth the effort I was putting into them.  I decided shortly thereafter that they were not.  Thus began the transition year.

The first to go was my Saturday classes. (See Saturday classes)  Some days I had been pulling in a whopping $600 pesos, but more often, I had a single class.  $50 for a 6 hour day was not profitable.  So when my student finished the book we were working with, I told his mother that I was going to take a break from teaching on Saturdays.  She and her 8-year-old son were disappointed, but I consoled them that I may start up again in the Spring.  The uncle, who had been my student but gave his hour to the nephew, sent me an email demanding to know why I wasn’t going to teach English anymore.  I explained that I was still teaching English, just not on Saturday mornings.  I had too many other obligations and I needed more time to do things like laundry and shopping.  He wasn’t happy.  Oh well.  Can’t please everyone.

I still taught online Saturday afternoons, but I wanted to transition to my new place in Sunflower Valley (See A Room of Her Own).  It took over a month, but I finally was able to make the little house my base of operations rather than the school.  Having a kitchen made the afternoons easier.  There’s a little store across the street, so whipping up a light meal for a hungry teenager boy was more manageable.

Then I started dropping my afternoon private classes one by one.  The first to go was in mid-November.  We finished our book and that was that.  She begged and pleaded that I not abandon her.  I told her that I’d start teaching in the spring but that if she really wanted classes, she’d have to come to my little place in Sunflower Valley.  She said she would. We would see.  That freed up 2 hours a week.

Then in December, right before Las Posadas, I dropped the other 3.  All of them said that yes, it would be a good idea that I took a break, but that they didn’t want to lose their classes.  Maybe I could drop everyone else, and just teach them?  When I said that I really was planning an extended break, like maybe until Semana Santa, their eyes went wide and said, well, they’d be waiting here for me to return and give them classes again. That freed up 2 afternoons per week.

I didn’t start teaching afternoon classes after Semana Santa. Instead, I began going through my things at the school, readying it for my final transition.  I reviewed the supplementary books I had made for each grade level for errors and changes.  I also checked that there were assessments and exams and grade sheets for each unit of all 6 levels.  I would be leaving the entire system in place for whoever takes my place.

Finally, in July, I told the owners that for health reasons I would not be returning the following school year.  It’s not that I hated my job at the school.  After all, I had designed the entire ESL program myself.  I was getting some results, not as much as I would have liked, but some.  I had my own classroom, which is a rare perk in the schools around here.  Yet, at $65 USD per week, it was not in my best interest to continue. The health problem wasn’t invented.  I’m really working myself to death at this rate.  

I interviewed and recommended 2 teachers, one for first, second and third grade, and the other for fourth, fifth and sixth grade.  Yep, two teachers were needed to replace me.  I agreed to do a training session with them in August before everyone returns to classes.

The owner asked if I would consider staying and teaching at least 2 groups or at least the phonics classes since the main focus is pronunciation there.  Nothing doing.  I would, however, make a book for the sixth-grade group for the new teacher to use.  And if I got around to it, make a recording for the phonics books.

My first schedule with my newest online job came out the week after we finished classes.  Twenty-six hours paid in US dollars.  So provided I have a full schedule each week (and with online work nothing is a given) I’ll nearly triple my income for half the work and less than half the time.  

Hasta la vista baby!

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On Becoming an Ultimate Bundles Affiliate

eek (3)Back in May, Herbal Academy sent me an email saying that the Herbal Materia Medica Course that I liked so much would be featured in an Ultimate Bundle packet.  If you remember, I LOVED the Herbal Materia Medica Course.  It really helped me focus my interest in local herbs as medicine and inspired several blog posts. (Hibiscus Tea, Cilantro Tea, Tamarindo, Garlic, Matali Tea)

The email from Herbal Academy suggested I sign up for the Ultimate Bundle Affiliate program so that I could feature this bundle on my blog.  So I did. (See Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle).  I thought I’d make the bundle available and be done with it.  

Little did I know that the Ultimate Bundle group offers several of these bundle packages per year.  I soon realized that these would be excellent items to offer my readers!  I did pass on featuring a bundle or two.  They couldn’t really be classified into one of the categories I typically write about.  However, there were some that did fit.  

For instance, I often write about my most recent income generating failure.  Enter The Ultimate Work At Home Bundle.  I also am a proponent of natural alternatives for health issues.  Let me present the Gut Health Super Bundle.  

 

Then there’s the Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle which came out just at the end of my transition year.  Perfect!

In August, you can bet I’ll be featuring the Parenting Super Bundle.  I aim to be a Super Parent after all!

The best part of this affiliate program is the work I don’t have to do.  I don’t have to find images.  I don’t have to code links. I don’t have to figure out how to add the buy now button.  Why not?  Because it’s done for me. I can pick and choose from a whole slew of banners, buttons, and images for each bundle.  

How about promotion?  Studies say that the average person must be presented with something an average of 7 times before buying.  Well, I post to my blog.  Then my blog posts to Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google + and my email followers.  That’s pretty much all the promotion I do.  I’m not one of those pushy types.  If you want it, great, if not, that’s ok too.  

So how has it been going?  In the two months since I’ve become an affiliate, I’ve made $30 USD.  No, it’s not a lot of money, but it sure is less work than some of my other business ventures recently. (See Failing as an Online Book Reviewer).  I’m not in the business of blogging to get rich.  Really my goal is to cover my blogging expenses like domain names and hosting and if there is a little left over, maybe splurge on something fun. (Failing at your own business-Blogging)  With such modest goals, I’ve found being an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles to be a great fit for me!

Not convinced yet? Here are some more successful Ultimate Bundle affiliates stories for you.

*Become an Ultimate Bundles Affiliate – Earn Money from Your Blog

*Ultimate Bundles: Love or Leave? 2017 Affiliate Program Review

*HOW TO MAKE MONEY AS AN ULTIMATE BUNDLE AFFILIATE

*THE ONE AFFILIATE PROGRAM YOU SHOULD LOOK INTO RIGHT NOW

Does it sound like something that would work for you and your blog?  

Sign up to be an affiliate here.

Here are the upcoming bundles for 2017.  Do any work for your niche?

AUGUST 9-14: Parenting Super Bundle

AUGUST 23-28: Ultimate Fitness Bundle

SEPTEMBER 20-25: Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

OCTOBER 4-9: The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit

OCTOBER 16-17: Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Flash Sale

NOVEMBER 1-5: Indie Travel Super Bundle

DECEMBER 27-JANUARY 2: Ultimate Healthy Recipe Bundle

Sign up to be an affiliate here.

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