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Guess Who’s a Working Stiff

Ok, without the purple hair or orange worm.

That’s right. Me. Now when people ask me the inevitable question “what do you do?” I can tell them I teach English to adults at a trade school. Maybe now they will stop assuming I’m unemployed when I say I’m a freelancer.

But let me back up.

I’ve been wanting a part time job that takes me out of the house and force me to interact with real people since we moved to the Netherlands. While my business has brought me some income and taught me a lot, it doesn’t really help me meet people or improve my Dutch. So when an advertisement seeking a native English speaker came across my desk, I felt I had to apply. To my surprise and despite my lack of classroom teaching experience (or teaching credentials), I got an interview and then a job teaching in the evenings twice a week (3 teaching hours).

I’m a Teacher?

So a bit about this gig. Leeuwenborgh Opleidingen is a “technical high school” where students prepare for a trade (an MBO) rather than to go to University. English is taught because the language is so commonly used in the Netherlands and, in some cases, can be necessary for people to obtain jobs in their chosen field.

The classes I’ll be teaching are evening courses for the ‘techieck’ department, which provides training in technology, electronics, that sort of thing. Most of my students will be adults who are returning to school to improve their skills, change jobs, or because their workplace wants them to specifically learn English. I’m hoping they’ll be pretty self-motivated (and maybe a bit easier to teach than 15-18 year olds).

Native English speakers are valuable because of our life-long experience with the language; so much so that apparently my weak Dutch ability and lack of classroom experience isn’t a problem. It’s really going to be a steep learning curve for both myself and the people I’m teaching. Hopefully the weekly language teacher meetings will help me bridge that gap faster.

Starting up my Dutch lessons again will probably help too.

Heading through the front door.

Employee Red Tape

This is, of course, the first time I’ve had to deal with the hiring process in the Netherlands. As a teacher, I am required to have a background check run. Plus I need to show that I have health insurance (or sign up), decide if I want to sign up for workers comp, and figure out my travel expenses. I’ll be taxed at the regular Dutch rate for my tiny amount of income, but I will get a 13th month and holiday bonus; so that’s a plus.

The background check is called (I think) Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag and so far has been very easy to deal with. My new employer filled out most of the form, I added in my personal information and then took the form to the Gemeente so they can send it along to whatever agency checks to see if I’m a masked vigilante, etc. The cost is only 30,05 euros. Now I’m from out of the country, so there may be some trouble getting approval, but I’ll cross that bridge in 4 week if I need to.

Tax-wise, apparently I fall unevenly into a category of people who work two jobs and therefore need to pay more taxes on their second job. (I know, seems unfair.) However…my other job is my business. I’ll have to talk to my accountant of what effect these three hours of employment are going to have on my taxes come the end of the year. Not much I imagine.

Besides that the rest of the paperwork is slowly falling into place and I’m exploring the textbook and program I’ll be using to teach with. Since I’m suppose to start next week, I do hope the school gets my teaching schedule to me soon. I’d like more than a day’s notice to prepare if possible. Wish me luck! And if you have teaching experience, feel free to share it below.

One Response to “Guess Who’s a Working Stiff”

  1. Jules says:

    Veel success! Je kan het doen!

    I have only ever taught students in a lab setting (not very useful, sorry). But yeesh, taxes…I’m so glad that my boyfriend does mine :-)