Please form an orderly queue

Hard at work!

Hard at work!

I have spent most of today in the belief that it is Saturday, not even a call from a tutoring agency made me question that, I just thought they must be working hard. Hmm. Of course it is in fact Friday and so you find me here.

A good week this week. First off, an interview with another language school in Bonn. They were very keen; I baulked a bit at the prospect of an 8 day training course (transport costs to be reimbursed only when I had started work) not least because it meant cancelling 4 lessons with an existing student. However, the rate of pay was ok and at the moment, I need the work so decided to look upon it as a calculated risk.

As a freelancer I can of course cancel lessons – I don’t tend to share the fact that I’m training with another company; that might be pushing my luck a bit – the student is offered a substitute or the period of absence and then normal service resumes when I’m back. My student decided he didn’t want a substitute and so my missed lessons are simply added to the end of the training period. On the downside, the student is on holiday the week before so it’s a gap of 6 lessons rather than 4. Oh well, can’t be helped!

On Tuesday I handed over my deposit and first month’s rent on my new flat. My landlady / flatmate is very nice so I think we will get on well sharing and she may even become a friend. Let’s hope so, I now feel very poor in other ways.

On Wednesday I started the rewrites on “Lost Son” in earnest and I’m quite pleased with my progress. All haste to finish it yesterday seems to have evaporated. I put it down to not sitting in an office for 8 hours a day. I have time not to write. This is very important because with this type of writing – historical fiction – especially with a dual narrative, it is essential to fend off impatience. Considering how long it took me to get “Healed” to the proofing and editing stage, I am ahead of myself by years so I can afford to take my time and really enjoy it.

On Wednesday evening I spent an hour with my private student which was great fun, he’s a nice guy and interesting to speak to which makes what is essentially a conversation class quite effortless. We did a bit of grammar work as well but it’s quite a change from some of my less keen students in England (school-age – lots of them were just fab too) from whom I had to coax any words at all.

What made my day, though, was a job offer from a language school in Italy. I couldn’t accept, having only just got to Germany and being rather keen on staying, but it felt like such a complement and it is so nice to feel wanted. It seems like after 11 years of that awful job in London, I do have skills that people value. I have signed up to a TEFL website in the hope of finding summer work – summer camp stuff ie 2-4 weeks in Italy, England or Ireland but I’m not keen to take a long contract at this moment. It occurred to me as I came home from teaching on Tuesday that, financial insecurity aside, freelance work does rather suit me. It’s one of the things I always liked about private tutoring in England – that I got to pick my students and the travelling from one to another. I am not ruling out working in Italy at all but for now I want my German to be at least as good as my Italian but I think about moving on.

On Thursday I had an interview with another language school at 9am. Now, I have this habit of wildly over-estimating how long it will take me to get anywhere. For a 9am interview, I was up at 6am, on the bus to Bad Godesburg at 6.55am and, yes you guessed it, in Bonn city centre at 7.30am. As it turns out, one does not need 2 hours to travel 4km. I could have gone there and back (twice) in that time, on foot. Even better, after wandering around for quite a while (not even the cafes were open) I got to the school to find the gate across the door. It was 8.45am by this time so I waited, and waited… At 9am I had had enough and was preparing to leave a note to say that I had kept the appointment but found the school locked up. For some reason I reached through the grill and pressed the door bell – presumably just in case – and the door opened immediately. It turns out that the grill was to stop people “moving into” the door way (just as I had planned to do on my near-homeless night in Bonn). It was a good interview – very interesting but unfortunately not one that resulted in being signed up. They said they had no immediate need for more teachers but would be in touch when something came up. Not a brush off – something to look forward to. I had a lesson that evening but, having discovered I didn’t live a day away, I went home in between. More writing done and then a dash out for the bus and a rather nice lesson followed by more running as I aimed to get the train to Mehlem that would get me back in time to get the last bus to Liessem before the dreaded night bus took over. I got home to another enquiry from another language school – again in Southern Italy. I explained my situation – in Italian and got a nice e-mail this morning wishing me well.

It’s all very friendly. I think I might just have found my career – alongside the writing one of course. So, all is good.

I must get back to my novel now. Earlier I had decided that the second narrative, that runs through the novel like a series of monologues, began too early and began to take apart the mss to reorder them. All ok until I found something in the main narrative that related directly to the monologue that came after. Everything had to resume its original position – I may still rejig things but I have to finish the first edit before I start messing around with the structure.

I’ll leave you now – have a great weekend!

Julia

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About afewwordsinpencil

An English writer of novels and theatrical pieces. My first novel, "And I Shall Be Healed" (Quickbeam Press) follows the experiences of a young army chaplain on the Western Front 1916-7. This and some theatre writings are available on the usual websites.
This entry was posted in CELTA / TEFL, Living in Germany, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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