Friday, June 26, 2009

New Ventures

I'm not really inspired to write today but I figured I'd give an update.

It's always darkest before the dawn. For awhile I was worried about money, and I thought the last month here would be rough trying to find work. However, I was blessed to be given a lot more work by one of my schools. Vietnam National University, the Foreign Language Center, has been giving me a lot of new classes to teach. Mostly children classes in the morning, which I don't prefer, but I'll take it. I'm glad that when all other schools turned a blind eye and couldn't find any work for me, one still stood by and offered me classes. I guess it was good that I kept friendly with one of the administrators there. In addition, on the bottom of my paycheck this week I saw that I got a small bonus because the re-enroll percent for a class I taught was 67%. So I'm doing something right, and the school rewarded me. That's a good way to run a school, rather than those silly random evaluations done by the other school. And to think that I was considering quitting VNU a few months ago since they only had one class for me at the time. It just goes to show that sometimes it pays to stick it out and take your chances. It's never true that "all is lost".
I've also been given the opportunity to tutor a student who wants to study in the US. He has to pass a difficult visa interview before he can study there, and he has already failed the interview twice, so he's paying me to prepare him for his next attempt. It's a lot of pressure, and I hope he passes so that it wasn't a waste of money for him. However, he really has a lot of work to do. He makes many mistakes speaking english and he has trouble understanding me when I talk at normal speed. I've been asking him a lot of different questions in addition to the interview ones, hoping to get him more comfortable with the language. He makes a lot of the same mistakes that I've been seeing in my students for the past several months, so I know what to expect and I know how to help. However, even if I repeat a sentence a hundred times and finally gets him to pronounce and intonate it correctly, he'll forget it before the next time we talk if he doesn't practice on his own. Now we're halfway through our 3 weeks, and I'm seeing some improvement, but I really hope I can bring him up to the right level before the end.
I've made Juice part of my regular weekly schedule. The place, not the drink. Although sometimes I do drink juice there.
I go there every tuesday and friday afternoon. I've been trying a new dish every time I come. I must have had 10 different things already. I'm starting to run out of options so I may have to eat some again.
Usually I get some good writing in when I come here. But sometimes I just don't seem to be in the mood. I don't know how to describe it other than that my mind is lazy.
The workers there are very friendly, especially the guy behind the counter at the end of the day. I usually spend up to 30 minutes just chatting with him before walking out the door. He even gave me a 10% discount on my bill once. I guess it pays to make a friend sometimes.

Anyway, I have 3 weeks left in Saigon. Can you believe it? With work, exercise, and coffee shop I should get through without too much boredom. I'm getting really excited about coming back. But it will also be sad saying goodbye.


SaigonNezumi(Kevin) said...

Wow, 3 weeks you go home permanently or for vacation?

VNU FLC has a good rep. I was referred there but I was unhappy with VNU in the past when they terminated my Sociology contract.

The student who failed his interview twice, take a look at his interview form. They will specifically tell you why he failed the interview. 2 times is death kill though.

Lets try to meet for coffee before you leave.

Petros said...

I go home for good in 3 weeks, although every vietnamese person i tell seems to believe i will come back. But this was really just a one-year thing before going back to study law in the US. I might be back in this part of the world again as a lawyer, who knows.

VNU is not without its problems, but they have been treating me well lately, so I'm grateful.

I don't know how my student failed, but I can tell what his big problems are. I just wonder if he can fix them, since I'm just seeing slow improvement so far.

Yea, we should definitely meet up. What times are you free?

Anonymous said...

Have a safe trip back home. And may you do well in law school. Viet Nam will appreciate your help whether as a teacher or lawyer. Hope you'll be back...A friend. BT.

SaigonNezumi said...

Send your mobile number through my blog's contact form:

We can play SMS tag until we find a good time.