There are those days when you feel a little bit unsure of what to do, where to go… . And I’m not even talking about going to the doctor and undergoing medical tests, things that I dread just based on the fear that some bad diagnosis will happen. Well, traditionally men don’t like going to the doctor because they feel they can’t get sick as they’re the breadwinners of the family, the strong sex, etc. in this day and age? Come on! Men don’t like going to the doctor, at least in my case, because we’re afraid they’ll find out something horrible and you start feeling all the symptoms before you even have the diagnosis. Talk about reasoning with your unreasonable mind. But I digress…
Uncertainty comes to teaching as well, more so when you’re self-employed. You know the drill: no student, no pay. And it’s not like when you’re working for a company / school and they will provide you with the students and if they’re generous enough they’ll give you some training and teaching material such as textbooks. They’re also required by law (at least in Brazil) to give you paid holidays and a 13th annual salary (a sort of Christmas bonus) in addition to contributions to your government’s social security pension fund.
My wife and friends quite often remind me of how lucky I am because I don’t have a boss, which is true (although in some ways my students ARE my bosses). But the solo teaching career requires some constant care such as:
1. Attention to trends in teaching, textbooks
2. Attendance to teachers’ conferences and seminars
3. Prospecting for new students while at the same time keeping the back door shut in order to keep your current students.
4. Self-motivation – you can’t slack off and stop preparing lessons, or stop showing up on time.
5. Billing is never the most pleasurable of activities but necessary. On the other hand, there are always a few smart asses who “always forget” to pay their teacher in the time agreed and you must kindly ask them if there was any problem with their payment because you couldn’t locate their deposit in your bank statement.
Hey, life is uncertain by nature, so what I must do is to continue doing what I enjoy and enjoy what I have to do.