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I nothing understood.

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I’m taking a risk here because I’m going to tell you about my week, no holds barred. Lots of unladylike language….

It was a BITCH of a week, to be honest. I worked 60 hours – well I was AT WORK for 60 hours. This is A Long Week, by any standards, except perhaps in the case of a new mother, staring disbelievingly into her new very, very long, sleep-deprived life. Now we only had THREE students this week – one of whom was dubbed “the tsunami” by his colleauges. I know, I know, very many of you will be giving me the finger and snarling, “Shut up – you know NOTHING about “bitch” weeks!” But these chaps are graduates of the school of “I pay, you deliver – no argument and no compromise.” I have had to dismiss a teacher, – (probably the thing I hate doing the most), turn a blind eye to red wine liberally distributed at 10 am and continuing until the academic day has ended – (after which, I don’t really care what happens), be shouted at and threatened by a student who admitted, “I don’t like when someone say no to me”, host  – which I really mean in the true sense of the word (smiling, gracious, sociable, polite, accommodating – all that stuff) – an evening with students, guests and staff and remain serene and unflappable in the face of VAST volumes of alcohol and very dodgy karaoke on the iPad after a cordon bleu dinner, and finally swoosh about “glamorious” and confident when my new boss arrived, unannounced, to “see how things are and have a chat with the students” (who were well-oiled after a rah-rah lunch of fish and chips and copious quantities of wine). And these were the people that were there.

I was also expected to staff and organise next week when ALL the expected students needed visas. If they had all been granted, I needed four teachers; if none had been granted, I needed one. Slowly, excruciatingly slowly the information from various British embassies has come through until TODAY, FRIDAY, I was informed that ONE of the three visas had been granted. I then had to race around like a dizzy mare, trying to find one teacher to take up the reins.

I cannot work like this – herding cats, surfing mercury, stabilising jelly, is easier and less stressful.

But then the “poem” left on the information board by one of the inebriated students was:

Lessons very crazy, Teaching method good,

* (name of school) funny, I nothing understood.

At least it scans…..


8 responses »

  1. holy sh*t, Candy!
    I’ve worked as a teacher for some pretty cocky egocentric individuals and have never seen or heard of anything like that; though there were situations in which this kind of behavior started to take shape and the only thing we could do was to refuse service; meaning, ‘I’m not gonna teach you, go home’ – one of the very few times we’d say ‘screw the money’

    Hope next week is brighter for you!

    • Willy – the week from hell. The thing is, these are all very likeable people – when they get what they want. Gainsaying them is only to be undertaken by the most intrepid. Luckily there were only three of them – all the same nationality. But even then, one of them called the other a “tsunami”!

      Thanks for the support and understanding.

  2. Luke Meddings

    Candy just want to add my support – as someone who knows just how much you put into hosting your students and making their time with you relevant, enjoyable and memorable, I hate to think of you kind of at a loss like this. I’ve certainly had teaching and managing moments where I simply couldn’t cope, and it’s almost always been to do with unsocialised behaviour from troubled (or, just possibly, incredibly spoilt) individuals.

    Beyond that, matching unpredictable student numbers to available teaching staff, inevitably at short notice, is unbelievably difficult. I wonder if (with reference to Willy’s post) they would teach THAT on a Delta or similar in-service course.

    Because the difficulty in matching student numbers to available staff is one reason why teaching ELT in the UK is an uncertain career.

    I linked your post from Willy’s blog so I’m going to do the same, vice versa!

    • Hi Luke
      Many thanks for stopping by and for your support. I need to put some things in place to prevent another week like this. A big part of me keeps screaming that it iwas because of bad management on my part, but the truth of the matter is, when you are faced with paying clients (and at the moment we need every single one of them) who are essentially “unmanageable”, I honestly believe there is nothing a DoS can do. I in fact DID stand up to the man, which ended well – flowers and a distinct calming down – but I had to push extremely hard and against someone who, culturally and personally, saw me as nothing more than an irritating hindrance.
      Onwards and upwards! This week HAS to be better!


  3. Candy,

    What can I say but… sympathize… so much. REALLY wish better luck next week 😉


    • Cecilia – many thanks for stopping by and for your support! It was a pretty horrible week, mainly because I just seemed to be at work ALL THE TIME. This week is bound to be better….

  4. Hell, what a week. Hope next week is a bit less stressful for you. I have decided that unless something very exceptional comes along, I am sticking with hourly paid teaching. They cannot expect of me anything that does not come within the compass of a fifty minute lesson – no social work, no piles of admin, no staying in the building after lessons for longer than it takes to return the class file to its shelf in the office. It might be precarious but it’s better for the blood pressure.

    • Steve – so many EFL teachers think axactly the same way, more for reasons of money than blood pressure. I have to agree, though. Expecting teachers to do any more than the allotted 60 minutes (which brings in the princely sum of anything between £13 and £17 wow)is taking the proverbial, I reckon. Until hourly paid teachers are paid a decent salary, I expect no more of them. Personally, I opted for the security…..


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