It’s a small world

Today’s shift started off very slow. I was getting a lot of free trial users from Saudi Arabia. Most of them quit the chat before the webcam’s even started recording. I did manage to snag a fellow from Brazil. I didn’t get a chance to see how he looked like because he turned off his webcam. I’ve had a few students turn off their webcams while I was tutoring them in the past (some of them do it because of religious reasons, why others do it for other reasons). It feels really weird exposing yourself on the webcam to some unknown stranger from the other side of the world, while they are hidden in the shadows, kind of creepy actually. God know’s what they could be doing on the other end of the line 😈

Anyways, I found it very difficult to connect with him even though we had 30 minutes to chat. Everything was very superficial and I found the topics we discussed to be quite boring. Whenever I was ready to try and transition the topic into something else he would go on and on about that topic but he spoke extremely slow and would often have pauses and I wasn’t sure if he was done talking or just pausing for a second to think. Having that webcam footage on his end would have definitely helped for providing feedback to me. That 30 minutes felt like an hour to me. I was fighting very hard not to close my eyes and snooze off -_-

After I was done with him, I again experienced another string of free trial users who would either abandon the session before it began or would quit like 1-2 minutes during the chat. Some of them just do it abruptly without even saying goodbye or anything. I had one girl just say she was busy and then cut the call short after 2 minutes of talking. I found that quite rude and retarded. I mean why would you come on Cambly to receive tutoring if your already busy doing something else? I guess common sense and courtesy goes out the window in some of these countries.

I also find it funny that sometimes free trial users join Cambly and are requesting tutors and then as soon as the webcam pops up, they jump up and freak out and then all you see is the camera suddenly shift towards the side or ceiling and the call ends lol. I experienced this with my last student for the night. She was just sitting there with her phone on the bed, and then when she realized I was waving to her and trying to communicate with her she just jumped out to the side of the bed like a leopard or something. The call obviously ended after that. Two minutes later, I see her on the dashboard requesting a tutor yet again and I pick up the call. This time she appears to be ready for her lessons. During our introduction, it was quickly discovered that she is living in Toronto right now. I got super excited and felt a surge of energy rush through my body. I immediately connected with her even though her command of English was next to nil. It was later discovered that she is an adrenaline junky, doing crazy shit like jumping off air planes and cliffs, or wake boarding in the ocean. She even tried to persuade me into trying skydiving and telling me how safe it was. No thanks, I like being able to live until a 100 thanks. The craziest shit I’ve ever done was either hop on a plane to Europe by myself to two countries where I didn’t speak the local language or going on that death defying ride called Peak 2 Peak in Whistler riding that gondola across Whistler mountain to Black Comb mountain having my legs shake like crazy like someone having a seizure. Unfortunately she was a free user and her 5 minutes ended shortly as I bid her farewell. Unbeknownst to me while I was typing out a message to send her to try and get her to subscribe to Cambly and be a repeat student, she requested a tutor yet again on the dashboard. I quickly picked up the call, and then when she heard my voice, she started cracking up hysterically for a good 15 seconds or so. Apparently I charmed her into signing up to a be a paid user right after our session. That’s got to be a new record for me 🙂

She mentioned during our next 15 minutes together that she lives downtown and was in fact only a few streets from where I live at the moment and that she was single 😉 I know what your thinking… but I’m a professional and I take my work seriously so as tempting as the idea sounds, I’m going to have to resist these temptations. Man it sucks having ethics and principles 😦

Did you guys ever experience a student hinting to you about wanting something more?


2 thoughts on “It’s a small world

  1. I’ve never had that experience despite teaching in a few different countries! You get some lovely friendly students in EFL and I generally did go and ‘hang out’ with students of the same gender or in a group, but never with the opposite gender. Just wanted to be professional, as you say.

    By the way, I am a British teacher who just stumbled on your blog via Dave’s ESL – I’ve never done online tutoring and I’ve found your description of it very entertaining! If only it was a bit better paid!

    Something you said made me think about some of my old colleagues who were ABCs teaching EFL in China. They experienced some of the racism you mentioned with the employer initially not wanting to pay them the full rate for a ‘native speaker’ (if you aren’t aware native speakers in China get paid way more than local teachers – a source of resentment sometimes but that’s another topic). Ridiculous of course but there is this idea – mostly by students’ parents/grandparents -that Americans/Brits should be white, and if not then they must be a ‘fake foreigner’.

    They eventually got paid the full rate after proving how useful they were to the school (by having classes sharing their knowledge of the US education system, TOEFL and such – very popular and a good source of revenue for the owner of course!). This was a private language school by the way, which I’m sure you’ll have heard has its good and bad points. They are businesses first and foremost and I generally found the manager to be amenable if you could appeal to her ‘business-sense’. Not sure if that is any use at all but I just thought I’d share that little experience with you. Keep up the blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome to the blog and congratulations on being the first person to comment here!

      Now back to the topic. I’ve heard from several people about students hitting on the teachers in a classroom setting but that wasn’t isolated to teaching EFL students. I even heard rumours from my classmates when I was doing my undergrad that one of our T.A’s had cheated with one of my professors who was set to be married soon. I came across their facebook page last year and noticed they were married and my T.A. had a child with him.

      It’s unfortunate that the pay is quite low, only $10.20 USD per an hour assuming you can even get a student to tutor for an entire hour.

      As for the school’s only hiring a certain ethnic race, what can you do? You can only control yourself. I’m going to try and apply for some more teaching gigs in China and see if I can eventually get a teaching job there.

      Thanks for the support and I hope you come back often!


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