Wednesday, December 01, 2010

sudden cancellations

It seems that one of the uncomfortable realities of my current job is that there are sudden cancellations. This week, I'm losing Thursday and Friday, which is good insofar as it gives me some time to relax, but double plus ungood insofar as my predicted income has taken a hit.

It's impossible to control the number of students who take TOEFL. Sometimes it's a big crop; sometimes it's meager. TOEFL is a good test to rate because the work is, I'm told, fairly steady throughout the year: it's a test taken by foreign students desirous of studying in the US, and international academic calendars vary. In other words, there will always be someone, somewhere, taking the exam at any given time. Contrast that with the SAT, which is taken primarily by American students at rigidly scheduled times throughout the year, making it the sort of test that happens in waves. With SAT rating, you're either very busy or you're stuck twiddling your thumbs. TOEFL is quite steady by comparison.

But this doesn't mean we get exactly the same number of students from month to month, which brings me back to this week's cancellations. Wednesday will be my final work day this week, which means a loss of a few hundred dollars. Since I've been having pretty good luck selling things on eBay, I think I'm going to start slapping up more art to see what happens, especially as Christmas nears. I'm sure my new town has some art supply stores, and I've still got plenty of material for making brush art. Who knows-- this might blossom into enough of a side business that I might even cut down the number of days I work for ETS.

"What about your plans to tutor?" I hear you belch loudly. Don't worry: those plans are still in motion. Right now, though, the main goal is just to get the apartment squared away before I worry about the larger projects. An uncluttered house is an uncluttered mind.* When I was teaching at Sookdae, I was usually at my best when my office desk and my dorm/studio were both neat. At the moment, I'm thinking that a spring or fall 2011 start date will be best. If I recall correctly, spring is what I had been shooting for, but there's a lot to consider: getting proper equipment, furniture, and textbooks; establishing a decent online presence; developing course materials, scrounging up students, etc. Is spring realistic for me? I'm not sure, which is why I'm hedging a bit and leaving fall as an option.

All of which leads me right back to the here and now-- facing a severely truncated work week, with the financial exigencies that such a week entails.

*One of my teachers in junior high used to have a sign that read, "A clean and organized desk is the sign of a sick mind."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My mom had that sign over her desk. I was never organized enough to get it :-)