Occasionally this feeling rises its ugly head, and this time it wasn’t any different. Do you know that gap between what you know you shouldn’t do and you still do? I know that repeat students aren’t good – by repeat students I mean those who had classes with me for several years and for whatever reason stopped and years later have decided to resume their classes.
Why? Because the simple fact that they become emotionally attached to me and enjoy the lessons – as long as there isn’t any hard work on their part, after all they’re paying for those hours – that’s the investment they’re willing to make, and with the sign of any changes in the wind, they drop me down like a bag of potatoes… (even chopped liver has feelings, LOL) and then years later (they call me out of the blue and want to resume classes without any clear goals or effort on their part, except willing to pay for the classes after grumbling a little until the wind changes again).
Same thing happened with student L.A. – he had classes with me for some four or five years (by class I mean, sitting down and chit-chatting – he’s told me more than once that I’m a good conversationalist, talking with me is pleasant, or something like that). Why, thanks, I guess. After meeting at his office for those years, facing ever worsening traffic to get there I told him I couldn’t continue teaching face to face at night and he could choose another time of the day or consider having talks on the phone.
He adamantly rejected the options and stopped the classes. He would hire another teacher – native speaker, preferably. Fine.
Now… ten years later he calls me out of the blue and says he wants to have online classes. He’s convinced they’re possible. Hooray.
First class, he cancelled. Second class we talked to the wind. Third class? the same with frequent interruptions to answer his phone.
I lost it. My head started aching under pressure. Enough! After ten minutes on mute I just ended the call.
As if by magic his other call ended and he called me back saying he was still online waiting for me.
I told him the lessons weren’t working – they were a little pointless (me being kind) – he said he strongly disagreed but respected my decision.
Did I overreact like a prima donna? Tell me what you think. I don’t think so… I am hired to be a teacher not to be their “chopped-livered” friend. Woe is the man who must pay someone to lend them an ear. I’m not referring here to psychologists or psychiatrists (chuckles).
I told him, “if you were taking a post graduate course or following a Master’s Degree program you would have to comply with all the requirements or fail. Why do you think effectively learning and using a second language would be less demanding?”
“I do take my job seriously and I expect a minimum level of commitment from my students. Otherwise, go hire a native speaker bimbo just looking for some money to pay for their backpacking adventures”.
What can I see? Good riddance.