- I am plagued by a crackpot kind of animism. When I consider rearranging my little displays of vases, bowls, candle holders, pebbles and what-not, at the back of my mind there twitter such batty thoughts as ‘I wonder if these two bowls will get on? Is this vase fed up of being in the bathroom? If I break up this grouping, will they miss one another?’
- I don’t understand romantic love, or jealousy. I understand lust and I understand companionship, but why anyone wants an exclusive relationship with one other person is a mystery to me. ‘I need to share my life with someone,’ Alonso, a Brazilian boyfriend, told me back in the Eocene. My response was that you open the front door in the morning and there they all are, the people you are forced to share your life with. The best bit of each day is getting home and closing the door behind you. This was not the required response, I gathered. Later, when Alonso had struck up another relationship, he asked me ‘what does ‘swamped’ mean?’ Now, I wonder who could have employed that word in his presence?
- I’ve been a teacher for nearly thirty years but I experience stage-fright before almost every lesson, now even more than in the past. At the moment I have some of the nicest students I have ever taught, but I still wake up on Wednesday mornings feeling intensely relieved that this is the day when I do not have to face a class. I have evolved a teaching persona over the years, a split-off version of myself that leads people to think me a good deal more lively and sociable than I really am, and the persona is beginning to annoy me, like a tulpa that has taken on a life of its own.
- In the past, the term ‘workaholic’ has been applied to me. No more of that, πα, πα, πα, πα, πα. I ate, breathed and slept English Language Teaching for twenty of the past twenty five years, training teachers, midwifing research projects and teaching teens, and enough’s enough. I do sufficient to get by, and if I could, I’d jack it in tomorrow. There might be another way to teach the present perfect continuous, but if there is I don’t give a stuff. However...
- ...I really enjoy teaching presentation skills. This is partly because overseas students get so nervous about presentations that you have them firmly by the balls, and they will apply themselves with a diligence that few other areas will elicit. Also in lessons, where the presentations are dry-runs and they don’t have to be serious, the students often come up with some very entertaining stuff. Last month my Russian group came up with a Dragons’ Den style pitch to request funding for a new brand of
vodka, one guaranteed to have a very positive effect on male potency. It came in a vessel shaped like the Artemision Bronze and the booze was dispensed through his knob. Kazakh
- That snazzy viagra-vodka pitch aside, does anyone really, honestly like or need Powerpoint? Is not its ubiquity in universities due simply to peer pressure? In the coming weeks, I am going to have to evaluate dozens of Powerpoint presentations and as always, I will emerge from the darkened classroom unable to blink my eyes in unison after watching dazzling pictures fade in and out and captions skidding around the screen. Powerpoint is for a generation with a short attention span. It's just a bombastic overhead projector with an ego. So there.
- I'm typing this lying on the bed with the laptop on the bedside table and I've got a crick in the neck and aching legs as a result, so this is where I am forced to finish.