April 2020: A Round Up

When January took a year to pass us by, and February and March were over before I had a chance to think, I think it’s fair to say that April has been the most bizarre, emotional and challenging month yet. Ever? 

The COVID19 pandemic has, without a doubt, changed our lives in so many ways. Many people are out of work, some are furloughed and others are working harder than ever! In many ways, I wish I was a lucky furlough-er, but I’m not. In some ways, this has been a positive…

Key events in April

  • I have started my own tutoring / teaching business – English with Claire – which is something I’ve been thinking about for a few months now.
  • I got ‘laid off’ from Kaplan, worked for a week with my old school and now do not have a contract, which is very scary!
  • I have finally started exercising again.
  • Despite all of the stress, I’ve remained pretty optimistic!
  • I am now a huge fan of K-pop boyband BTS thanks to this video

  • Teaching

Teaching this month has been absolutely bizarre, totally exhausting yet completely eye-opening. I have worked for 3 different companies and, as I mentioned above, I’ve started my own teaching business!

This month started off with me teaching from 8am until 2pm with two really wonderful classes. The first group were all Saudi Arabian men at an Elementary level. Those three hours flew by so quickly with lots of new vocabulary, fun and games and trying to keep our spirits up during the lockdown. The second class was 4 men at Upper / Advanced level and they were absolutely brilliant. They were so eager to learn and very inquisitive – I really enjoyed working with them.

I went back to my old school, BEET, for a week to teach a lovely Swiss group and once that was over I was out on my own!

It’s really scary to not have a contract or know when my next pay is coming through but setting up English with Claire has been completely exciting and is really pushing me to keep a schedule, stay focused and be grateful for the opportunity to do it. I now have 3 regular students and 2 ‘now and again’ students. They are all amazing and I’m so lucky that they have chosen me to be their teacher.

Rayawriting
Week 1, she was too shy to write anything at all. Week 3, she produced this amazing blog post with so much confidence! #Proud

There are a few people waiting for various things to happen before they start lessons, but I’m hoping when they’re ready they will chose me. I am loving working from home, making my own materials and structuring lessons based on how my students and I want.


  • Languages

Well, it’s disappointing to admit that I haven’t been working on my Chinese too much but I have learned a few new business terms such as: profit and loss, contract, salary and also an idiom to express that I’m doing my best (oh, the irony) 尽力而为

However, yesterday I finally made a proper start on learning some Arabic.

fun fact: I first wanted to learn Arabic when I was about 10 years old. I have no idea why, or where this thought came from, but it has stuck with me ever since yet I’ve never actually done anything about it. How ridiculous is that?

Over the last 2 years I’ve learned various words from my students, but they’ve been completely useless (door, window, deck, oven)! I’m hoping to be able to conquer at least some basic phrases in the next couple of weeks so that I can communicate a little better with some of my students and their parents.

مرحبا. Marhaban! Hello

Claire اسمي Ismi Claire My name is Claire

السلام عليكم As-salaam `alaikum Peace be with you

edit: As I was digging through old emails for something I found a document ‘First Arabic lesson!’ which is something I had completely forgotten about. I took an hour’s lesson back in Sheffield, but unfortunately there weren’t enough students to carry on. And that was that!


  • Health

Well, I must admit I’m still eating chocolate and crisps – it was Easter???
But the major plus is that I have finally started exercising again. Being so ill last year made me extremely thin, plus the workouts helped me tone up but now I just feel fat and gross. So, it’s time to change that.

My friend Steph has made an acro-yoga workout video and it is awesome. I’m not fit enough to do the whole thing so I’ve been doing bits of it each morning. You should definitely check it out as she’s a pro!

My skin has been terrible and I’m wearing more make up because I’m in front of the camera most days and my sleep has been quite disrupted due to the stress of… well… life.

Thankfully, somehow, I’m managing to remain positive. I’m enjoying my new business and all of the marketing I’m trying to do. I’m enjoying cooking and eating healthier food as well. Things crop up here and there that bring a bundle of stress or unhappiness, but I know I’m not alone in that at the moment. I’m definitely making a big effort to relax more and be a little calmer. (Key word, a little) I think it’s working. So I guess mentally, I’m doing really well. (What? Claire – are you there?)

This sense of calm has definitely made a difference to my creative side as I’ve been drawing, writing and colouring again, along with spending more time on the plants and, my favourite thing…


  • Reading

BREAKTHROUGH!!! Although I’ve done really well this year so far, April has been a brilliant (ish) month for reading. I started reading Harry Potter on the last day of March and I whizzed through all of the books, plus the play, in 8 days. (Then we watched the movies + Fantastic Beasts.) I had almost forgotten how much I loved those books.

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I then decided it was time to get stuck into some of the classics that I’ve never read *groan*. So I’ve also read:

  • The Woman in Black
  • Lord of the Flies
  • A Passage to India

and in all honesty, I haven’t been impressed and it’s put me in a real slump for the past week. So tomorrow, I’ll be going back to reading books that I actually want to read instead of the ones I’m supposed to read.

This month: 12 books. May’s goal: 8 books


  • Make new friends

Well, unsurprisingly this hasn’t really happened but I have met a few new people on Twitter who have been lovely and supportive. So that’s definitely a positive! And, quite possibly the loveliest three things that have happened in April are:

  1. I received an invitation to my best friend‘s wedding and I am so over-the-moon! It’s giving me so much positivity and determination at the moment.
  2. My niece now has a phone with whatsapp and she sends me the cutest messages.
  3. I’ve finally reconnected with a friend who’s been offline for a few months. We’ve had two writing sessions together and swapped loads of pictures of what has been going on. It’s so important to me to have her friendship and it’s been lovely catching up again.

  • Blog

With 8 posts this month, I’m definitely meeting my blogging targets. The only slightly disappointing this is that I’ve received less visitors this month. Perhaps my posts are boring? Or the virus is just getting everyone down?

Here are a few of my posts:

5 reasons why you need plants

10 ways to start your day

4 interesting ways to improve your English


  • Twitter

Twitter has been more awesome than ever this month! I’ve tweeted 16% less than in March, but gained more impressions and 465 followers. I’m astounded, but really pleased as I’m meeting so many fantastic people over there.

  • Save some money / Pay off as much debt as possible

Thankfully I have actually been able to do this, for the first time in over a year. I received a full paycheck, something that’s not happened since last February, and was able to pay each of my family a bit of money, and save a little bit towards Steph’s wedding trip next year! wooohoooooo!!


  • Enjoy being me

Well, I think this is something I actually am doing really well at this month. I’ve been extremely busy, but I’ve been productive and I can see results from what I’m doing. I’ve had odd-project work offered to me, which has been amazing, but I’m also working really hard at teaching, learning and sharing my knowledge.

I’m reading, writing, scrapbooking and drawing consistently and that’s something that hasn’t happened a lot over the last year and a half. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved this month and can only hope it carries on into May and the rest of the year!

Plus, with all the lovely weather we have been having my plants have gone bonkers! They are all growing, moving, changing colours and it’s amazing. I absolutely love it. I have bought a few small plants from an amazing local company called Flourish who have been delivering.

I bought a plant back in January for £1 as it was ‘dead’. It had 2 salvageable leaves on it, then in March it looked like this:

image
March

and now it looks like this!

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April

Isn’t that amazing? I now have three of these plants, Begonias, because I think they’re absolutely stunning.


So, what’s May got in store for me?

  • Hopefully more money.
  • Hopefully a few more students
  • Continued positivity and productivity
  • New adventures
  • More plants. (Yes, that’s actually a goal).

What have you got planned for May?

Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter!

 

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