Hmmmm. Term’s over. Marks are in and by now distributed but….no emails about mistakes, low marks or complaints. Something is amiss me thinks or maybe just maybe the students are happy. That would be a first. I gave high marks to those who deserved them and a couple of low ones. Could it really be that for the first time every I have worked somewhere with students who accept their grades?
I think not. Now I have to wait until next term to ‘explain’ my marking.
Next term? Why does that sound strange? Probably because this will be the first time in many many years that there will be a next term. No plane tickets to book, no new job to sort out in a foreign land, no flat hunting worries. There won’t be all the usual TEFL teacher concerns that go with doing contracts that usually end. No, I’m sticking it out as a freelancer. No 8 week paid holiday but what the heck!
So, this probably means I need to start being nicer to people and thinking long-term then. I can’t use all the tricks up my sleeve in the first/second term because I’ll have the students the year after and after and maybe after that. Although I’m not quite sure on that one as I don’t make the big decisions.
Perhaps the main thing of freelancing for me has been that I’ve had to up my people skills. Being a miserable Northerner in a contract job is often acceptable, especially if you are in the North. Yet, freelancing and depending on relationships is another ball game. So, yes, it’s made me more personable. A bad thing? Not really. I get to meet, know and learn from a great deal more experts in their field. Confucius used to say that everyone is your teacher in some way and that if you want to learn you should be in the company of experts and I think that sums up freelancing very well. He didn’t mention working from 7 to 8 then nights and weekends but maybe that bit was censored.
Power to the freelancers!!