As an independent teacher i was free to set my own schedule and move around to teach in many different places. i taught at community centers, public cafeterias, kindergartens and at large companies. i felt happy because i was able to teach in the most effective way in each situation and i was not limited by a boss or any rules. i was able to do whatever worked and in this way i gained a lot of experience. i was very happy and proud that my number of students slowly began to increase.
My next goal was to establish a home base, a headquarters, a place where i could call my own and provide the chance for my students to study in a more private atmosphere. i felt that it would help make my teaching seem more professional. i had always assumed that people taught at coffee shops and public places simply because there was no other choice and that not having their own private classroom was because they were not doing well enough to afford one. i never thought that it was a good thing to teach in public places but rather a last resort.
i had the idea (and finally the money) to rent out a small single room apartment to be used for teaching.
Some of my students may remember this. It was very small maybe a single 8 tatami sized room and meant to be a living space for a single person, but i furnished it with a table and a shelf. It must have been strange for students because it felt like you were going to an apartment to visit someone, but actually it was a mini classroom.
So at this time i had two apartments, one was for me to live, and one was for teaching. The “classroom” was simple, quiet and clean. It was difficult because all the money i was making now had to be used to pay rent for this new space, including of course, water and electricity. i was working really hard but still just barely able to survive. i knew that when my students increased in the future things would finally be ok.
There was no space because the room was so small, i had to be very careful with my timing of classes because i didn’t want students waiting outside for a lesson to finish before they could have their lesson. i asked students not to knock on the door and to always open and close it quietly. I realized that my neighbours would hear people coming and going all day long, so i was careful not to disturb anyone.
After some time i learned that the person living beside the classroom was related to the landlord and began complaining about me even though i was very quiet and respectful. The next door lady was just very nosy and bossy, i think she didn’t like the idea that i was using the room for teaching and not for living even tough there were no real problems. She was the kind of person who would watch everything around the building from her window, noticing every car, every person, so it became a little stressful for me. i always wondered how my students felt and was always thankful that they put up with the situation and continued to study with me.
Now that i had a place to teach, i didn’t have to move around the city so much, i could have a tighter schedule and teach more students. My situation was tough but slowly improving.