Monday, April 26, 2010

What a funny day!

Germans mix up the word funny and fun pretty often. They often describe things as 'funny' which comes across as 'strange or ironic', when they intend to use it as 'fun' as in 'having a good time'.

This is a common German-speaking-English error that I've noticed over the last six months since I've been working as a freelance English teacher. While still a newbie in many ways, I'm starting to get the hang of it. Being a freelance English teacher has its pros and cons like any profession but having an interest in language and culture, it was a perfect fit for me at least having just come to Germany and without much knowledge of the German language. Below is a list of some pros and cons I thought of relating to this profession. There's definitely more (in both pro and con), but these are the ones that came to mind when writing the lists this morning.


* Working with interesting people from all different fields

* Getting to discuss topics related to language, culture, globalization and life!

* Flexible working schedule

* Being responsible for your own time and managing your own lessons

* The pay isn't bad when you are actually working

* Watching your students' confidence levels increase as the course progresses

* Getting to be an ambassador to your country in an indirect way--if students have a positive experience with you, they will think (more) positively about your country


* Flexible means being available when the student has time. Students also cancel a lot, so you not only have to be flexible, but also forgiving, even if they call to cancel while you're sitting on the train.

* You don't get paid for all the hours you put into preparation--and in the beginning, that's a big chunk of time.

* Depending on the company's policy, sometimes the teacher has to travel to the student's home or workplace, and travel time adds up, especially when your only choice is public transportation.

* Being freelance means you are commissioned to students for a certain period of time, say 40 teaching hours, which means when that's over you are out of work again until a new commission comes along or the student renews his contract. Luckily--since October, I've only been getting busier, so I haven't really had any "downtime" without students since I started working.

* Monthly income can fluctuate a lot (!) due to last minute cancellations or students going away on vacation, etc.

Feel free to add if you can think of any ;).
Until next post.

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