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Sep 29, 2020 10:27 AM
Margaret in Medallion
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"I wonder if I should put out an ad for students on my website. It gets a fair number of hits, and it's the best evidence I have that I'm qualified to teach runecasting."

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"Makes sense to me. All I've got is I guess I could ask my various rich people if they have smart grandkids and who's objective about their grandkids."

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"I'll set that up then. What are super rich people like, as people? Or is all they have in common being rich?"

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"They have, like, class markers, nice cars and maid service and stuff, but it doesn't seem to be a personality trait."

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"That makes sense. And I guess if they did have something in common it wouldn't be obvious whether it was a cause of being rich or an effect. Or something about the specific type of rich person who goes looking for magic healing, for that matter."

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"Yeah, or a network effect from my services mostly being advertised by word of mouth."

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"Or that."

 

Once Margaret goes back home (with a parting cheek-kiss for Bella that she's still shyly delighted about) she can add an announcement to the bottom of each page on her website saying she's looking for students and to email for more details.

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Emails trickle in: does she mean apprentices, this querent thinks that's a classier word if you're magic. Does she teach jewelrymaking or just magic? Is magic dangerous? Students of what age? In what region? They've heard magic is dangerous. What's she charging? Does her school have a website? What are her disability accommodations like? Isn't magic dangerous? What's the time commitment? Can she post a syllabus? What's the admissions process? Also, about the supposed dangers of magic...

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Anyone who asks about the danger is likely to be a better student than the people who didn't, honestly. She makes all the banner ads link to a new FAQ page.

She's taking students, only a few for now because magic is very dangerous. Doing the exact same thing someone else has done before is only moderately dangerous if you're very careful; she doesn't want any students who don't think they can be very careful or don't think they can stick to doing things she says are safe or who aren't comfortable with a certain level of risk even then. 

Students should be at least eighteen (it's very hypocritical, she admits to herself, but the lawyer was very insistent) and native speakers of English; they can be from anywhere and assistance getting to lessons will be provided but they'll be during North American daytime hours. Time commitment and syllabus can be adjusted somewhat to student interest, but she actually gets all her jewelry from this awesome artist (link) and can't teach that. The curriculum will focus on learning specific spells she knows how to cast, starting with simpler and safer ones; developing new spells is much more dangerous. Disability accomodations can be worked out on an individual basis; it might not be possible to accommodate everything but she'll do her best.

Tuition is . . . ugh, figuring out what to charge for things doesn't get easier. She asks Bella if she thinks they should charge per hour or per spell and how much, and also does she want to see any of the more promising emails or nah.

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(The native speaking of English requirement is RACIST. Will she take monsters? The blind/the deaf/the aquatic?)

Bella thinks it is customary to charge by the session or semester or other large chunk like that. "I'll look at them if you want but if they're just preliminary probes to see what we're about that's different from, like, an admissions essay."

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"Yeah, I don't know that anyone's at the point of definitely wanting to come yet. There are people asking if we can accommodate blindness or deafness, and if I knew they were serious I'd ask if you can heal those but if they're just curious I'm not sure what to tell them."

She looks up a bunch of private tutors for things other than magic and picks a per-session price point in the middle of that range, on the theory that they're teaching a rarer skill but haven't as much teaching experience as most tutors. 

People who speak English as a second language are also fine as long as their first language isn't both French and Spanish, because magic requires saying things in not-your-first-language and this school can only work in French and Spanish right now. Monsters are welcome; aquatic should be doable if the aquatic person in question has figured out a way to write and can speak with their mouth out of water. (She considers mentioning that if this is too inconvenient she can make arbitrary medallions but can't come up with a way to say that that doesn't sound like extortion so she doesn't.)

Margaret's tadpoles experience the passage of time in various ways. A couple more die; the control group and several others turn into frogs, but one pair seems to be stuck as perma-tadpoles. To the extent that she can demonstrate them capable of remembering anything, she doesn't seem to have messed with any of their ability to learn. This is both promising enough and slow enough that she orders a bunch of fruit flies, keeps a breeding population of unmagicked ones and tries to immortalize the rest.

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"Someone who until recently was blind or deaf is probably still at a marked disadvantage."

Why can't Hispanophones work in French and vice versa? Raaaaacist. Why do they have to be able to speak out of water, what's wrong with speaking underwater.

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"I wouldn't have expected that, but I guess it makes sense."

Hispanophones can work in French and vice versa, as long as they also speak English so they can have conversations with the teachers. They just have to have either French or Spanish as a non-native language to cast in.

Margaret takes a plastic bucket full of water to the garage and tests with her dragon-magic-detecting ring whether letting someone else incant underwater is a bad idea.

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Apparently letting someone splutter and fail to get their whole incantation out is a bad idea. Applicability to aquatic species unclear.

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Presumably aquatic people already know how to enunciate properly underwater, but Margaret would need more practice than she's willing to draw diagrams to figure out how to do it herself without gills. Has the aquatic person in question, or anyone else for that matter, unambiguously expressed interest?

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The aquatic hasn't but some others have gone beyond probing preliminary inquiries.

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Then possibly those people should have face-to-face conversations with her and Bella. 

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"This is nervewracking," complains Bella, as their first such meeting approaches. "Where'd you say we were meeting -"

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"This library is supposed to have private study rooms somewhere, we're looking for room three--I would say something reassuring but I'm as nervous as you are." She triple-checks the time and time zone in her email and tries to remind herself that most people are not going to immediately do something awful.

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"Room three," says Bella, pointing.

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"Great." She gives Bella's hand a quick squeeze. "Let's do this."

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Squeeze. They go in. Bella arranges various noteforms around her in what she hopes is a professional looking manner.

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There's a college-aged guy in a polo shirt waiting for them. "Um, hello. I'm Michael. You guys are the, uh, teachers?"

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"We're the school founders, I'm not sure we're teachers till we start teaching. Nice to meet you, Michael."

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"Nice to meet you too. So, I'm just going to get right into it. How dangerous is this?"

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