Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Teaching Online Catastrophe

Since we moved to France, we've been living on my salary. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten as many classes as I had hoped.
I needed to earn more money, so I applied to a company called VIPkids. This company teaches English to Chinese children as young as 4 years old. It's a one-on-one lesson for half an hour and they have a lesson the teacher goes over with great animation and props, like hand puppets or magnetic letters.

I've done all the training and preparation and have been waiting to be booked for a class. Today, around noon, I got a message saying a last-minute class had been scheduled with a student named Ci Jei.
I practiced the class. I carefully placed the props around my desk and I tested my headphones and the internet link.
I've been sick since last week with a sinus infection, so I placed a glass of water nearby when I saw that I needed to sing a hello song, the alphabet song and a goodbye song, but I knew my singing voice wasn't the important thing. I needed to be energetic and animated.
I signed onto the class promptly at 2:30. Before me was a mother holding her young son (Ci Jei, I'm assuming) and an older son.
Ci Jei wanted nothing to do with this. He started crying almost immediately, so I picked up my fake microphone and started singing the hello song. He ran out the door and slammed it behind him.
I knew I needed to persevere, so the older brother hopped in to take over. As I was introducing the alphabet, I felt my nose start to run. I reached over and grabbed my tissue that I left nearby to wipe off a white board.
Oh, no. It wasn't a runny nose, it was a bloody nose. A red stream trickled down my upper lip and I
No, this isn't me but gettyimages photo of a woman with a
bloody nose. 
kept swiping at it with the now very bloody tissue. I kept saying sorry, so much so, that later when I was teaching the parts of the face, I pointed to my nose and the boy said, "Sorry."
No, it's a nose, not a sorry.
The nose bleed must have continued for 15 minutes. I finally excused myself, tore the head phones off and ran into the nearby bathroom for a roll of toilet paper. Then I returned and continued to teach the class to the big brother.
The way to get more classes is to earn stars from the families that I teach. I'm pretty certain that this mother with her crying son was traumatized by the copious amounts of blood flowing from my nose.
At least if I start with such a dire beginning, it has to get better, right?


Delana@dujour said...

OMG! That is so funny, Paulita. I hope you and your sorry are feeling better soon. Same for the Chinese kid!

Paulita said...

I know. I should always be ready for life to happen to me.

Anonymous said...

I feel naughty for laughing but you tell the story well. I hope your new student rallies around.

Paulita said...

Francetaste, If I didn't want to laugh at myself, I wouldn't tell the story, right? Thanks for reading

Emily Taylor said...

I love the detail of a boy forever thinking a nose is called sorry in English. Oof. I hope you'll have better luck next time.

John and Lynn Phillips said...

Hahaha oh my... But it was fun for us!!

Paulita said...

Emily, Yes, will he be confused if he ever comes to study here!
John and Lynn, Glad someone benefited from my trauma!

antipeggi said...

Oh my! I started teaching English through iTutor when I moved to Ireland, this year, too. I have had kids fall asleep, scream NO continuously for 25 minutes, and had my audio connection fail the entire session so it is just me saying, "Hello? Can you hear me?" But, I have also had kids come alight during the session, adults say I am the best teacher they have had, and genuinely enjoyed my time. Like any job, it is ups and downs but you definitely have the right attitude! If you want a wee break in Ireland, you are welcome to stay with us ;) Diana - Tracie's friend

Erin Adams said...

Comedy gold! Good for you for not crying and ending the session!

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