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Friday reflections

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Not teaching so much these days – for two reaons: one legit and one a bit worrying. The legit one is because I really am too busy with other stuff. The head office has imposed – suddenly and without much forethought, it has to be said – a brand new CRM programme on us. We are trying to process 170 junior students and prepare our summer school with a system that none of us has had any training in and which clearly doesn’t do what it is supposed to do and things are becoming nightmarish – thank God we won’t be working with these clowns much longer.

Second reason more of a worry – I just don’t much like teaching any more. I love the students, I believe in what we are doing and in our product, but I just cannot get myself to feel any kind of desire to get into a classroom. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly – and this is an ongoing concern – is what I/we deliver good enough? I read lesson plans from highly regarded people, I scour course books, I watch my teachers teach (to rave reviews from their students) and yet I remain unconvinced that any of it is better than just merely average. What it should be, I’m not sure; how to change it, I’m even less sure; why I feel this way, I know not. Two weeks ago I taught a Turkish oil man: a very fluent, charming, knowledgeable man. I taught him nothing – and I mean that (perhaps reactivated the passive voice and a few phrasal verbs). Yet he said I was the best teacher he had ever had. WHY? What on earth had he had before? Which cretin had been his teacher befor me? I remain astonished.

Secondly, I’m tired, just bone tired of it all. I cannot get energised or enthusiastic about teaching the Present Perfect or the 3rd conditional. I don’t care if they get it wrong, they don’t care if they get it wrong as long as we understand each other. My French student this week tells me he has “moules (phonetic spelling) that makes enormous galleries” in his garden.  I know what he means and frankly, when a colleague said, “Moules? Moules? Moules don’t live in GARDENS! What are you talking about?” I actually wanted to slap her and say, “MOLES, you fool! MOLES – stop being so obtuse!” And I KNEW what he meant by “galleries” because I live in the world, not in splendid British isolation sneering at “Johnny Foreigner” translating from his own inferior language. BUT, the point is, what now do I teach him? The correct pronunciation? The correct vocab? To what end? Will he ever need these words again, will he in fact learn the words at all, or will he just use them today because he is in England and among intransigent English teachers?

More later……


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