torsdag, marts 09, 2006

How to find work if you're me

As many of you know, I'm an English teacher. I'm well trained, and have years of experience. I've never, never, never had problems getting work in my chosen profession in any country I've lived in. Until I moved to Denmark. The English teaching market here is not conducive to steady employment; there are dozens of tiny schools, none of which are able to commit to giving anything beyond freelance hours. I'm sure it's the same in lots of other places, actually; I've just always been lucky enough before to find a school which could give me the hours I wanted whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted. I am fully aware that those days are gone.

The problem is that, since I don't have much practice at pounding the pavement looking for work, I'm also not very good at it. I'd rather do just about anything than write cover letters. And I like being able to concentrate on studying, studying Danish, and, of course, blogging. So, the issue is purely my own. If schools want me, then they should just call me out of the blue and offer me work. I shouldn't have to actually go and look for it. Yes, with that attitude, it's no wonder that I'm not getting enough hours. Especially since, when I have applied for things here, I have generally gotten a lot of interviews, and then job offers. Making it a question of motivation. Because belief that I will stumble upon teaching isn't generally enough by itself.

Except, a few hours ago, I received a phone call from a school offering me work. A school that I actually interviewed with in October or November, but wasn't able to do the work they offered me then for scheduling reasons. I had seen that they have put ads out again, and had actually thought about sending them an e-mail...but hadn't, and probably wouldn't have. They need a teacher to start on Monday. Freelance of course, not too many hours, but that kind of thing tends to lead to other things. And they have upped the money they're offering, and will pay for me to take a taxi to the lessons. I've never gotten taxi money before, ever. It's quite exciting in an 'I'm poor enough so that taking a taxi in Denmark is exciting to me' way. Of course I said yes (I said yes even before the taxi part, actually). And I'm feeling very motivated about the class itself.

So, the question is, does this mean that I'm really not a deadbeat who can't be asked to look for more work to help her financially suffering boyfriend who has to pay more than his share of the bills because his girlfriend is a deadbeat? Might I be inspired to go forth and find more schools to give me work, 2 hours here, 2 hours there, until my schedule is fully booked? So that I soon have nothing to write about in this blog except about course material that I have used, and funny things that my students have said? (My answers: I'm not sure. I hope so. I certainly hope not!)

17 kommentarer:

Jack P Toerson sagde ...

Sounds exciting. The fact that you're thinking about it rules out deadbeat status. Good luck with it all, may all your classes not contain people like me :-).

Devil Mood sagde ...

That's good news and it doesn't MEAN anything much, you're not turning into a boring old teacher, don't worry.
It'd probably be harder to find work here in Portugal at the moment: there are thousands of unemployed teachers. Actuall I think teachers are the most ill-treated job over here.

Simple American sagde ...

Good going there. Hope this does lead to greater things. And in your situation I would definitely look for other work.

I must empathize with you in this. I have been trying to kick start a CPA firm of me, myself, and I. Problem is I got no kick also known as marketing skills. Hey, I'm an accountant. Hello. I know that to do this right I would need to spend about $10,000, but what if I spend it wrong.

The funny thing is I got a free mailing list of 100 businesses in July 2005. I mailed out 100 letters announcing to these companies how lucky they were that I had decided to enter that market and help them. I had my first call back from this mailing in February. What was uber-cool is that they gave me a reference to another customer so I had two customers in one month after several months of nothing.

Why don't you write a book Kimananda? You have great voice in your writing. Of course then you have to sell it to a publisher. Procratinate on that thought for a while.

True Blue Guy sagde ...

How could you even think you are a deadbeat when you are getting offers ? :-)

Sometimes its the calm before the storm and perhaps you should do something else creative, perhaps write a english study book ?


Neets sagde ...

:))) sorry. i know you are going thru misery. but cant help giggling at the way youve expressed your self here. It just reminded me of some old cartton that showed the character being influenced by angle and the devil in his own img. you ask questions... you express... you anwer your own questions... some serious introspection. i hope someone in denmark is listening and decides to give u the job just as you wanted it.

Helen sagde ...

I teach English in Sweden and know that feeling of trying to find a school and extra hours only too well!! Good luck with the new job - I'd be excited by taxis too!! Helen

Chloe sagde ...

great news! just think of it as more travelling opportunities. more money-more travels. and then it doesn't sound so depressing. and writing about dumb students and silly co workers is fun. i say go for it xx

kimananda sagde ...

Hi, Jack, I'm not sure what you mean by people like you. For some reason I think that people like you are people who like to argue over the finer points of things. In which case, I love people like you in all my classes. People like I think people like you are fall into two categories,

1) people who really don't know what they're talking about...these people tend to start arguments with me over grammatical issues...I truly like grammar, am quite good at it, and have fun arguing about it, especially when I win. This makes class fun.

2) people who know what they're talking about. They're fun to spar with and I can learn a lot from them. They make class even more fun.

So, you are welcome to join one of my classes anytime! ;-)

Ms. Mood, thank you for not thinking I'm a boring old teacher. :-) And, I'm sure you're right about the Portugal scene...but consider that my last few years in Lisbon, I had a great steady job. Think effectivo contract, think 14 month salary, think guaranteed minimum hours, the works. Yep, those days are certainly gone!

Mr. American, thank you for your kind words. I can't imagine writing a book, but I have been procrastination over the though of trying to sell some magazine articles for ages! And I'm enjoying seeing the slow but steady building of your firm. It gives me a great model to follow!

Blue, that is another idea I've thought of, an English book. One of my ideas was a text based around baseball (marketed I suppose at the English teaching market in baseball loving places like Japan or parts of South America). I haven't though of it in a while, but it is a good idea!

Neets, thanks for visiting, and feel free to giggle all you want. My life is far from misery, though it may sound that way sometimes...if I have a choice between sounding miserable and sounding whiny and spoiled, I'll chose misery anyday! ;-)

Helen, do you work in Gothenburg? Because then I wonder if you work for the same place I do...I don't want to name names, but my school is actually based in Stockholm, and they have some big contracts in Gothenburg as well.

Chloe, more money-more travels is actually quite key, as I plan to be away for July and August doing studying and travelling things. But I'm not sure about dumb students as the subject for blogging. I'll have to think about it some more! :-)

Maddy sagde ...

...not a deadbeat - a bright
engaging fun insightful mind-
boyfriend loves you and wants
you to be vibrant and alive
with life - i say - sit back
in that taxi - and what is
yours will come to you-

like Chloe's idea - a caricature
of your students - maybe launch
a new comic-star!

kimananda sagde ...

Hi Madelyn, thanks! I've relayed your comment to Thor, and am supposed to relay his comment back. He said, 'Huh?!' But, I think you're right! :-)

al-Ferengi sagde ...

Well, congratulations on your newfound sources of employment :D
(Monday I have a job interview, I just had to get that off my chest ... )

al-Ferengi sagde ...

Oh, and: You're not a deadbeat :-) Every work field has it's own employment-work-etc culture, and it varies from country to country :)

kimananda sagde ...

So, Ms. Scorpio, what you're saying is that it is part of the work ethic in Denmark for English teachers to be deadbeats? ;-)

And, good luck with the interview! :-)

Sangroncito sagde ...

My experience with Danes is that virtually all of them speak excellent English from a very young age....what kind of students do you teach and at what level are they at?

kimananda sagde ...

Yes, generally most Danes have some conversational ability in English by the time they finish school...makes sense, as they hear the language a lot in the media, and start taking English at the age of, I think it's 9 now (it was 10 or 11 a few years ago). However, a lot of them don't, and those that do often don't feel comfortable using the language that they do have. Added to that is that a lot of Danes can carry a conversation on a basic level, but lack English for specific situations, like in business. And there is almost always a big gap between speaking and writing level. So, there is a need for English training here.

I teach adults, mostly in business settings at this point. I haven't had too many beginners, but I also haven't had too many truly advanced students. I'd put most of them in the intermediate ranges somewhere.

al-Ferengi sagde ...

Haha, no, I was implying, that in some areas a certain way of handling things are asumed to be polite, levelheadde and showing work ethics, and the exact same thing is seen as selfentitled couchpotato-ness in other areas. For example, in Germany you need to camp in front of a factory, in order to get a job, in Denmark you enroll in a firm like Manpower, which is then called by the factories, when they need help. (That is a very gross exaggeration and simplification, of course) So a German is supposed to give you thge hairy eyeball and go "WHAT, do you really believe, they call YOU?"
And strangely, in denmark, for jobs, which are HIGHLY sought, such as journalism or high profile cultural jobs, it is considered annoying, when you call everyday and show at the place, where then again (also a gross simplification and exaggeration) if your name is not Danish, it works better, if you show at work places, where you intend apply for work, photos also should work wonders, I hear.

But maybe I really am just saying that it is part of the work ethic in Denmark for English teachers to look like deadbeats? ;o)))))))))))))))))))

-greetings, your utter school deadbeat :D

al-Ferengi sagde ...

ps: I got the job, I am utterly happy :DDDDDDDD