“How I Write”

 Today we have the incredibly talented Michael K Freundt guest blogging for us. Michael is one of our super talented English teachers. Cambridge University educated, Michael, teaches ESL and creative writing at Eurekly.

Book a lesson with Michael here: https://eurekly.com/user/michael.freundt.1

Check out Michael’s blog here: michaelkfreundt.wordpress.com

How I write.

A story starts with a jump.

When something makes me jump, a line in a book, a caption in a magazine, a phrase overheard, a tone of voice, a dream; a beginning. Short form stories are more personal than long form. I write most days but it can be on my notes page on my phone when I wake up at 3.46 am; on my iPad as I’m watching the news with a G&T at 6; on my desktop after staring at the screen for god-knows how long. Sometimes I’ll experiment. One of my current projects, a short story, I’m writing as a woman. I’ve tried this a few times but this time the woman is very unlikable, in fact she’s awful; the challenge is to make sure the reader understands that she’s awful. The reader has not to be on her side, yet is, in a way. That’s tricky, and more so as it’s in the first person. I test myself like this sometimes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

At a New Year’s Eve party a friend told me a little anecdote about his piano lessons as a boy. I now don’t remember exactly what he told me because I turned it into a story and now, in my head, that story, Prelude, has become the reality of the anecdote. It’s no longer John’s anecdote, it’s Michael’s story.

I’m writing when my partner catches me talking to myself. I’m writing when I don’t answer him because I don’t hear him because I’m wondering what Robert will say when he sees his dead mother. “What? Sorry.” is a common phrase of mine at home.

I spew it onto the screen. I try not to worry about where does this fit or what can I do with this or how do I spell …, I just let it out. I usually write chronologically, but not always.

I’m always aware that I have to trust myself, my imagination, my ideas, my abilities. It’s no good second guessing; I’d get nowhere. What comes pouring out in the white heart of creation I have to trust that it’s right, correct, apt, necessary, true. It’s later when the white-heat is down to warm, in the cool light of next morning that decisions have to be made.

I write on an online publishing platform (Tablo); while the piece is labeled ‘draft’ no-one can read it. I have four or five projects going at once; two novels, three short stories, I think. One of them is dormant until I come across a really fail-safe murder plan. Once it’s finished I ‘publish’ it on Tablo and anyone can read it. I also have the option of posting it to iBooks where it is for sale. Regularly I email my notes, from my phone or iPad, to myself and cut and paste them onto the respective Tablo page. I have an iMac and don’t have Word; Tablo has all the editing tools I need.

When I’m trying to go to sleep at night it’s important to think about only one thing, not 247 things. That’s why counting sheep works. It’s one thing. I also concentrate on one thing: what Robert might do when he sees his dead mother, or any other character or snippet. These stories, half in my head, half on my screen, over time develop their own reality and they always get to a point where it’s imperative that I write them down; I have to write them down because they are the closest thing to the truth I know. If I don’t write them down they just sit there taking up space. Getting in the way. Writing them down is like getting rid of them.

But writing them down has its own responsibilities. I must think of the reader. I must get the process right. The process: my story, my descriptions, my ideas, my images being transported accurately, truthfully from my imagination to the reader’s imagination via little dark marks on a pale background, with no loss of information.

How I Write

 

Once it’s in the imagination of the reader, it isn’t mine anymore, and it means whatever the reader thinks it means. I have no say in it once it’s there, in your head. If you read the short story linked above, what was John’s anecdote, became my story, becomes your reading experience; and if you seek me out and ask me what did I mean by something, I won’t answer. It’s not my place to answer: it’s not mine, it’s yours now. It’s now you that has to trust your abilities.

Is Eurekly Private Online Tutoring Right For You?

Learning new things can be a challenge, and it can be especially daunting when you are trying to do so on you own without professional guidance. As a student or a working professional you are probably already tight on time and super busy juggling lots of responsibilities, so it is more important than ever to use your use what time you have as wisely and effectively as possible.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure how to broach learning something new then perhaps private tutoring is the solution for you. Ask yourself these 4 simple questions to determine if a private tutor is right for you.

1. Do I have the time to learn things on your own?

Often there are simply not enough hours in a day to accomplish everything on our to-do list. That’s why time management and prioritization is essential. A good tutor can help you manage not only your time better but help you digest new information more succinctly and thoroughly. They are the ones who will spend the time collecting resources and lay out the best possible lesson plans for you so you can focus on what you want to learn. Having a private tutor is like taking the highway instead of winding back country roads to your learning destination.

2. Am I my own best cheerleader?  Do I hold myself accountable?

Sometimes, we all need a cheerleader to encourage us to move forward. It is hard to accomplish everything we set out to do on our own. We often get distracted and discouraged by the tasks of everyday life. It can be enormously helpful having someone to encourage us to move forwards as well as hold us accountable for the goals we set forth.  Having a set meeting time can make learning goals real and concrete. In general, students tend to prioritize items that they need to answer to another person first. Also when we need to convey new information to someone, we learn it more thoroughly.

3. Do I like working with other people?

Studies show that more people learn better in groups than sitting alone at their desk. If you are one of those people that does not thrive on going it alone, then private tutoring might be the best option for you to learn something new. It can be enormously helpful having live discussions with a person passionate and knowledgeable about your subject of interest. And unlike a large classroom, you have the floor and can ask all the questions you want without having to compete for the teachers attention. Having someone’s undivided attention is an incredibly powerful learning tool.

 

  1. Can I afford it?

At Eurekly, we belief that education should within everyone’s reach. We have a wide range of teachers offering free or low-cost trial lessons. Many of our teachers also provide support through smaller blocks of time that can be more affordable. Additionally some tutors offer discounted lesson bundles. At Eurekly, you won’t pay anything until your lesson is completed, so feel free to search and contact tutors within your budget. Our tutors are way more affordable, useful and flexible than you may realize. And if you don’t find the perfect fit, let us know, we are committed to finding the right tutor for you.

 

5 Tips To Become A Successful, Well-Paid Online Tutor

5 Tips To Become A Successful, Well-Paid Online Tutor

Top online tutors on Eurekly can make up to $10,000- $15,000 dollars a month and you can too! Yup, you read that correctly! You can make more money as an online teacher than you did in the classroom (or in your other jobs) and on top of that, you get to be your own boss and have ultimate flexibility. You decide your hours and what and where you teach. So if you want to teach watching the sun come up in Thailand, you can. Sound too good to be true? Well, it is not, but you have to take real action and focus if you want to be top tier.  Here are 5 concrete tips to set you on the road to online teaching success:

Create an engaging profile.

The first thing a prospective student will notice about your profile is your picture. Make sure it is a good one. That means do not upload pictures sideways or post dark, blurry and confusing images. Choose a photograph that makes you look friendly and approachable and ideally professional looking ie: not pictures from your Tinder profile!

Secondly, write an honest and interesting bio. Keep it real and informative. It shouldn’t be overly formal like a resume but rather a personal way to introduce yourself to prospective students. Don’t be afraid to share your unique experiences. If you struggled as a kid because you were dyslexic, mention it. Go on and explain how that experience turned you into a super passionate and empathetic tutor for dyslexic children.

Make sure to list all your credentials and include positive experiences with former students. Add a couple of personal tidbits about yourself. You want to make yourself seem relatable. In the virtual world, students have the choice to choose their teachers, so look at yourself and your bio through the eyes of a prospective student. Would you want to spend time every week with the person in the profile you just created?

Make Yourself Available.

When a student reaches out to you, respond! The faster the better. In the digital world, on-demand contact pays off. And once you do make contact, don’t be afraid to ask questions and to find out exactly what the student is looking for in a tutor and lessons plan. Every conversation with a student is a learning experience that offers you an opportunity to refine how your present yourself and your skills. Connecting with students before your first lesson is the best way to make sure that first lesson is a great one!

 

  1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.

Before you even have your first online student you must decide what you are teaching and with what tools. It is important to lay the foundation for your online classes. Just like in the classroom, a teacher needs to prepare for lessons.


Connect with your student before the lesson and ask them a few questions so you know what their goals are and what level to begin teaching. Collecting information from students in advance will help you prepare appropriate questions and materials. It will also show students that you’re interested in what they have to say, which will help spur a lively discussion.

Tell students what to expect.  Inform them of topics or questions the lesson might cover, how they should prepare, and what they might be expected to do. Be as concrete and specific as possible. When students have time to prepare, they are often more invested in the discussion and willing to participate.

4. Be Passionate and Engaging

Online learners are active learners! They have determined that sitting in the back of a classroom listening to a teacher lecture is not the best way for them to reach their learning goals. Your online student has decided instead to invest in a teacher (You) that they can personally connect with, a mentor of sorts. So do your best to connect with them in a meaningful and engaging manner. Don’t be afraid to joke and laugh with them.  Ask lots of questions and work to create a dialogue rather than a lecture. Finally, make sure that each lesson has a clear takeaway.

Remember: You are their guide on their learning journey, not an instructor shouting out next steps.

  1. Get Feedback & Great Reviews!

Don’t be afraid to ask your students for their honest feedback. Any criticism should be accepted with appreciation. They are giving you information that you can use to become an even better teacher.  Make sure to let your students know if they give negative feedback or are dissatisfied with a lesson to bring it up with you first. You want to make sure that you address all their concerns before they rate their experience publically.

Ask all your students for a testimonial and to evaluate their experience with you and your lessons. But remember, people are busy so don’t take it personally if not all your students follow through. Consider instead, sending the student a reminder to write a review and let them know how much you appreciate them taking the time to do so.

If you follow these specific tips you can build a highly lucrative and rewarding student base from scratch in 1-2 years solely on Eurekly. Remember, it’s karma, we are all in this together. When we help others to be successful, our success multiplies as well!