Saturday, May 1, 2010

work update

Part of the reason I haven't been writing very much here lately is that my workload has increased dramatically over the last few weeks. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry, whose Language Centre I work for, has given me a lot more contracts, including a long-distance one at 70 kms away from home. On Thursday and Friday, I drive out to a tin can producing plant and teach English to a number of groups. It takes over an hour to get there, but it's a beautiful drive through the countryside and I get paid for the kilometres driven (thank goodness, what with gas being 1.34€ or $1.85 CAD per litre!). In addition to the tin can place, I still am teaching a number of hours at the CCI. On Monday and Thursday I start at 8am and finish at 8pm, so it makes for somewhat tiring days!

In addition to the CCI work, I have started working for an English school in Paris for their clients in Angers (who happen to be in the same building as the CCI, coincidentally!). They have hired me as an "auto-entrepreneur" (self-employed) worker, so I have to bill them and then declare my earnings every three months so that I can pay my deductions. Since I haven't had to pay my deductions yet I have no idea how much I will actually be making, but now that I've officially declared myself self-employed, in addition to salaried, I can try and drum up some of my own business. Which leads me to my last work lead...

My yoga teacher actually has a doctorate in English Studies and he also teaches English. He has declared himself self-employed, and when I mentioned that I had done the same, he suggested that we work on something together. Selling English classes by yourself can be a lot of work, but with two people it makes it more manageable and less daunting. We are putting together a brochure that explains all of our services (individual classes, group classes, workshops and translations) and we will put on a series of workshops throughout the year, starting with a four-day workshop in July. I will likely have very little work through the summer, so this will be a way to tide me over until September.

It's funny how I have fallen into this line of work and I'm still surprised at how much I enjoy it. The only down side for me is the uncertainty of the work and how much I will or won't work in a month. My students can cancel their classes and then that means I don't get paid, which can be a serious blow if somebody cancels 6 hours in one week! The flexibility, however, is great because I can pretty much give my availability and they have to work around it, allowing me the time to go to the farmhouse or do other things, like auditions. I have yet to earn a "real living" from teaching, but I think it might come with a bit more time.

Alright, nose to the grindstone for me!


  1. Oh wow, does that remind me of teaching ESL in Japan. I taught many kinds of groups on top of my gig at the YMCA. There was a bunch of machinists who smoked; the Rotary Club who introduced me to their mistresses who ran a karaoke club (taught them too over many cocktails); some farmers who I doubt had any use for English; and also some kids who were under the age of two! Throw in a few groups of teenagers who tried to stalk me and I've taught it all! At least there is flexibility in being self-employed. It's the feast or famine aspect that can be hard to bear over time. Glad to hear your horizons are expanding.

  2. Ha! Kate, that's so funny and it's exactly what it's turning out to be here (minus the mistresses and cocktails). It's great to be able to accept the work, but then trying to find the time to prepare for all the classes is another thing, especially when classes start early and end late. At least it's keeping things interesting!