Friday, 1 October 2010

Joining the Leisured Classes

I have bugger-all to do at the moment. The new term begins on Monday the fourth, but as things stand, it hardly involves me. After two bumper years when students from Saudi Arabia descended on us in heavily-perfumed droves, the department has reverted to normality and only fifty students have booked places this term, which means that in all probability about sixteen will actually show up on Day One. Unless at least as many more come trickling in through October, there will only be one group and I will not be teaching it. I was scheduled to teach on the MA in TEFL, but that has gone by the wayside too, as again there will only be one group, and Johnny-Come-Latelies like me don’t get to muscle in. I still have my Algerian pilots twice a week, but they won't net me enough to live on if things don’t look up a bit before Christmas.

But are we down-hearted? Well, not yet. Popping over twice a week instead of dragging my arse there every day is quite a pleasant prospect in the short term. Even teaching Algerian group C is something I can do with equanimity in the circumstances. I’m going to Greece for a week on the 13th of this month to bash a few teachers into shape, and again in November to do the same thing. I’m reasonably confident that enough students will join us during the term to necessitate the setting up of a second group. I do hope so, because otherwise not only will I be forced to look for work in some crappy language school (and all language schools are crappy – there are no exceptions) but I won’t have anything to write about. Where will there be Divas, Hassans, Nouris and Larbis? If things don’t improve by new year, I shall probably decamp to Greece for a few weeks and look for things to amuse or infuriate me over there.

Meanwhile, I am a gentleman of leisure. I got up absurdly late this morning – six fifteen – and am sitting here in my bathrobe, the umpteenth cafetiere of tarry black coffee to hand, at ten to ten. On non-work days, my levée usually takes about six hours. I have only three days of teaching in the next two weeks. I ought to be worrying, I suppose, but it is such a mechaieh not to be in the unvarying routine of train-teach-train-cook-bed for a while that I can’t find it in me to be too concerned.

But what can I bloody write about???


Anonymous said...

Well.... You can write about crappy language schools and why they are so!
Also, three reasons why teachers must be "bashed into shape" if they're going to work in a crappy school! That'll help me tremendously...


Nik_TheGreek said...

I had the impression that with the recession, even if formally over, more people went back to school, to learn something new and improve their situation.
Maybe that is not the case for English but for more practical lessons...

Vilges Suola said...

Ansa, I was thinking about the pay here as much as anything else. They pay as little as a tenner an hour in some cases, while expecting teachers with diplomas to apply.

Nik, the Saudi government has stopped providing scholarships, so that's the reason we are reduced to one group.

Rob said...

But it would be interesting to hear your thoughts about what a language school would have to be like for everybody (students, teachers, owners) to think it was great. Realistically.
Can such an institution exist?

Vilges Suola said...

I don't suppose it can. It'd make ME happy if it paid a wage commensurate with one's qualifications and experience. I think I am worth more than 15 quid an hour, which is about the going rate.


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