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!