The Corona Plan

I’m #CoronaBroke

Being freelance seems to mean that you either have time or money, but never (or only seldom) both.

Now, with Corona raising it’s ugly head, I’m lucky to have good weather and the kids at home all the time. However, a lot of my work has been cancelled (and I expect the rest to cancel pretty soon) so that I once again have free time but no money.

Make the most of the opportunity

I suppose it’s reasonable to expect that I’ll be sick — or caring for sick people — at some point in the near future. But, until then, I’d like to feel like I’m managing my own time productively. Partly for the sense of moving forward, partly for the structure it’ll bring to my day, and partly because I want to think I’m the kind of person who doesn’t need a job to be a “contributing member to society” or “productive.”

So, towards that end, I’ve started brainstorming things I can do to feel productive, as a teacher and as an entrepreneur.

The Teaching To-Do List

I’ll make a longer, more detailed list of things to do on my teaching blog, but mostly I’m aware that I’ll be able to use this time to make materials. I’ve been making what I think are great materials at the last minute, but I do kinda know what’s necessary and I’d like to get that going.

So, I’ll have that to do.

What to do with my entrepreneurial energy?

I’m not going to lie: things have basically stalled with my amazing vocab review worksheet website. But, I still use and love it, so I think that other teachers will, too. (One day…)

To that end, there are a few things I can start working on now:

  1. Interview the one teacher who used it, and talk about why she stopped.
  2. Make a survey to send teachers asking what they actually need. (Maybe I should have done that before, but you live and learn)
  3. Begin making tools to make it easier to automate the “localization” of the worksheets, so that I can look for early adopters from a broader range of teachers…
  4. Integrate Stripe. Less because I expect a rush on the site but instead because I would like to establish early that it’s a thing that gets paid for and that people can have a temporary free trial, but that I plan to make money with it.

Time to get to it!

Enough writing here. I have work to do!

It grows!

Just a simple idea…

So, I invited some of the people who tried dynamic-efl.com (my worksheet making site) a while ago to return to the site and see if things appeared more streamlined, clearer. And what was the response?

“Toby, I tried to login, but I’ve forgotten my password. Doesn’t your site have one of those password-reset functions?”

Of course it doesn’t. Grr.

No problem, it should be pretty straight-forward to code and it needs to get done at some point, I suppose.

It still isn’t done.

Save the email addresses

It turns out that the way I had been creating users, I managed to accidentally forget to save their email addresses. Oops. So, even if the “email me a link to create a new password” function existed, it wouldn’t help.

I’ve fixed that.

Then, once I was working with the email addresses, it seemed logical to add them to the mailchimp list I’d been thinking about starting.

I got that done.

Of course, to avoid adding bad email addresses to the mailchimp list and getting flagged, it seemed logical to first add the addresses after they’ve been verified. But that required me to code up an email-verification system. No biggie, but that meant learning how to send email through django.

I got that done. (Interestingly, I can send it through gmail, which I find convenient.)

Since that was done, it seemed as good a time as any to add an ‘account_locked‘ flag to the Teacher model, which would throw up a message on several of the relevant pages saying “your account is locked…”

I got that done.

accountlocked

Then, it seemed ridiculous to have a ‘your account is locked’ message if the account wasn’t, actually, functionally locked. Once I dug out where exactly the downloads happened, it should be pretty simple to have it first check if the account is locked or not.

I got that done.

There still isn’t a password reset

It’s next on my list of things to do, but this sort of experience is pretty standard for me in my own coding. I think everyone imagines that ‘real coders,’ have a plan and sit down and build something logical from start to finish.

(Though there is comic evidence to suggest that isn’t true. I got this via “Coding explained in 25 profound comics,” which is worth a visit on its own.)

coding

So, perhaps this is just par the course for the coding experience. Either way, it’s part of why my next project will be to write a drop-in user management module for future django projects.

I’m enjoying this and learning to appreciate a lot about website administration. But I would not be upset if I only had to learn all this once.

If you’ll excuse me now…

…I’m off to write a password reset function.