Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Twiddling thumbs

Whilst I am extremely happy at not having to teach dying languages to horrible, or even unhorrible English teens, the fickle world of EFL means, like so many on the poorly paid and tenuous EFL treadmill,  that I am forced every so often to take an obligatory extended unpaid holiday. It's great really apart from not being able to swan off to say the Caribbean, nice bits of Asia, or even France which is a mere 11 hour swim from my back garden. Yet, at the very nice school to which I am attached the paltry pennies do not roll in and the old staffers do not retire or die - some have been there since well before the turn of the century on nice (for EFL) contracts so they will not be heading off to the garden centre soon. People from another arguably more decent age of employment -  so why should they make way for an eager young upstart? I know I wouldn't.

So it is back to twiddling thumbs and finding imaginative ways of not going for a £6.50 an hour job that I am far too qualified to take on and conversely way too unqualified or experienced for.

Forklift truck driver, copy analyst (whatever that is), auditor, legal secretary, plumber and various others on offer at the local temp agency. None saying EFL teacher.

Picture the scene:

Over made-up, power-dressed, stiletto wielding temp agency hackette, biting curiously on the end of her pen as she takes 0.000025 of a second to size me up and realise that there is no finder's fee to be made from the badly smart-casually dressed epitome of a bored EFL teacher who has darkened the doorway and interrupted her coffee, anti-social media and gossip.

''Yes sir -  (may I call you Prentice - hmm,  that's one BA, two x MAs a plethora of certs and training...oooh a Certifcate of Kindness -  excellent now what else are you able to offer...? Oh, yes, er...the present perfect. ? OK, thanks so much for coming in, it's been so lovely to meet you, we'll most certainly be in touch....'

However, the local refugee club has got back in touch and offered me some voluntary teaching (we'll pay your fares) with those young kids who really do want to be here and to leave behind the Horrors of war and make a contribution to their new country that is holding its nose at them but political expediency and perhaps a smidgen of racism, won't allow them.

So the fickle finger of fate is luring me back to supply teaching which is a particular circle of hell into which I really do not wish to desperately descend despite the relatively reasonable rates.  It has happened before and although the money was good for teaching it is a form of prostitution too far at my age. The kids love it of course as it is yet another opportunity to give grief to someone, the micro-staffrooms offer no chance to mingle or break into cliques of overworked, whinging teachers drowning in management -  the supply teacher is ever the outsider until some desperate head offers you a contract as a bum in the seat to help him or her with the staffing problems brought about by the latest staff member to go on the sick. Sticking plaster is what you are but it can be OK taking it for what it is - glorified babysitting with, if you are very lucky, some lovely kids who are grateful for the sticking plaster and the possibility of being taught. Be too good you may be offered a longer-term contract and sucked into the vortex of targets, bollocks and bullshit that moved me on out of the state system and back into the less uptight and rigid and targeted-filled world of EFL where the money, security and opportunities are crap especially if you failed to get out when you were younger or faiedl to be the owner of the school raking in profits and paying disposable human resources a pittance. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

...and another thing: South bloody Thanet

...and another thing, yes, as a Little Englander of a certain age  I have lived most of my life under the heel of right wing governments of various hues of dankest blue or swivel-eyed Blairlite baby blue....(and yes, I did vote for him in '97 when he was  the bright smileyish future). Fortunately, I have had the chance to be away from the country too and could put my hands in the air and cop out limply by saying 'nuffink to do with me.'  However, these spells overseas aside from some poorly paid development work have been spent prostituting myself in loony Islamic absolute monarchies with appalling labour practices, dismal (they say uber-respectful) attitudes towards women and non-believers, so I really shouldn't be too worried, angry and pissed off as I am at the election results...especially a month on.

...but I am.

Ah well, at least being in Britain means I won't have any students or colleagues accusing me personally for the crimes of whichever fools are in charge. Years back, and long after the events, it was as if I had to take personal responsibility for the abuse meted out to say striking miners; various acts of murderous thuggishness from English footy supporters, drunken vomitous, shagful tourists in footy shirts;  as well as supine behaviour towards whichever sociopath was in the White House especially B*sh. Iraq? Yes of course- that was my fault (both times) and it got a bit sticky  being an obvious Brit when our toadying involved pointless torture and deaths just downwind from brother or sister Muslims. It can't have been easy for some of my studes or co-workers having to be taught or deal with someone who was seen to be representing a form of  'the enemy.' Whatever they did think, they kept it to themselves in class anyway. There were a few iffy moments politically but they tended to be with gobshite Americans who, for teachers, were generally among the most illiberal I have worked.

And now, I work (when there is work!) in a college with a large EU intake smack in the middle of UKIP's only council. Our historically corrupt local body is now led by the ex-Tory father of 12, bankrupt - the estimable healthy looking Chris Wells. An opportuistic Tory defector to the rancid kippers after losing his seat a year or two back. This charming man defaulted on his already discounted school fees. His local Tory party, the story goes, bailed him out rather than have one of their brothers on the councils as a bankrupt, he paid them back by defecting to the kippers when he lost his council seat. Subsequently, he has had the bailiffs at the door helping themselves to make good the shortfall to the council tax he hadn't been paying. Just the sort of man you want in local power....(sighs)

Monday, 11 May 2015

The all new Muppet Show

Yes, life is good - a new swivel-eyed loony and rabid right Conservative government exemplified by Michael Gove at Justice. Our version of democracy is as ever a weird and odd thing. 76% of folk voted against all the oncoming bullshit and bollocks. Shy Tories eh (sighs). There were some tortured discussions at work where most were not shy about their politics - anyone but Farage obviously,  even if it meant holding your nose, closing your eyes voting for the slightly less swivel eyed former UKIP treasurer carpetbagging for the Blues. However, there are some old school lefties who, like me,  could not physically put an X next to a Tory least of all one who claimed his link to Thanet is that he has a yacht in Ramsgate harbour. The slimy toad possibly with small man syndrome did actually make me nearly spill my drink in Ramsgate by canvassing me for a vote. Needless to say I laughed.

Image result for thanet muppets
The new look Thanet District Council
Although little Enoch lost,  the council is the only one in the country to go Kipper. Not sure how sophisticated it makes the electorate - reject the UKIP candidate but vote in a Kipper council. Maybe it's me the unsophisticated one?  However, there maybe an unintended consequence from this vote. You are a prospective student / group leader planning to come over to one of the 700 odd language schools in the UK. Thanet has several in Ramsgate, Margate, Broadstairs bringing in millions to the local economy to host families, local cafes, restaurants, shops.  You do your research into the area - notice that  a racist Little Englander party similar to some of the nasties you have in your own country runs the local council. In fact it is the only one in Little England run by these objectionable fools. These fearful English nationalists/racists  have a strong voice in what is an economically  depressed area. Would you still be keen to take your trade to such a fearful, angry, unhappy place?  Where else could we take them / the money - hmm....Brighton looks nice...

Monday, 3 November 2014

Life outside the brothel

I always asked folk not to ask me what it's like being back - leave it til November I would tell them. It is as if I am expected to have some kind of breakdown and zoom off back to the over-paying, foolish and sleepy end of the world again. Reasonable supposition I suppose as it was known that I did quite enjoy the hot weather, warm water, great beaches, over-priced beer and bar-life and all the trimmings of being a semi-detached  expat. (Why not western migrant worker?) I enjoy the kind of expat theatre that is just not on offer in rain swept, intelligence empty, Mail friendly, UKIP voting Thanet. And, at more irrational times you get the unhealthy thought that there may be something to be said about living in a theocratic dictatorship when fucking Farage is due to become your MP. That's very worrying on two counts and then you brush it away as, at least, the Muppets of UKIP can be voted out. Though some brother expats have a cheery admiration for the rancid Kippers - they are those for whom Little England totems such Marks and Spencer (the Daily Mail of shops?), Marmite and a Sunday roast are the acme of advanced civilization.

Still, the work here, though poorly paid  which has always been the default setting outside the Gulf brothel,  is amusing. It a short and pleasant walk from home rather than a Mad Max life and death struggle with loony signal shy, speeding tailgaters in blacked out SUVs.  Now I am only teaching intelligent adults, all on the IELTS 7 and above scale aside from the Gulf men of course who seem destined never to get beyond the 3.5 they left Saudi with. Shame their more motivated and interesting sisters are not allowed out. Doubtless, they would be unable to control themselves and  morph into lust filled jezebels and feckless harlots were they to ever be allowed out by the fear inducing father or Big Brother. A dose of shame would be hoist upon their families and the dodgy daughter would unable to marry their already DNA shy first cousin. Possibly.

Nonetheless, I do feel for these uprooted guys with none of the bluster and arrogance and even charm they have back home.  The news reporting of all things Arab and Islam cannot make them comfortable especially since the actions of Brother Isis are nowt to shout too loudly about which is of course why it's much easier to talk about football so long as its only the brands which are Barcefuckinglona and Bloody Real and then filtered down to the star player of each side.  So talking about the celebration of devils, ghosts and women in sexy witch costumes is way beyond the comprehension of the Gulfies.  Though Guy Fawkes, or at least its, anti-catholic origins, do spark some recognition all of which makes me regret not learning Arabic if only to find out what they say about their time in Kent and its devil worshipping not always sober men and women, children dressed as demons and  a pagan fire lust. Cultural diversity and understanding across the nations - 'tis a wonderful thing

Fish