Thursday, 29 November 2012

Pip pip, how'd you do, a pint of beer please old chap

Long day today, really long, and even though it’s Thursday - and therefore for normal people almost the weekend - I’m going to be dragging myself from my bed to teach Maths (which the dear student calls Math, coming from the colonies as he does) and a little English at 10am. On the other hand, it’s a beautiful walk, and Autumn (Fall, as we used to say, and as a result our cousins from across the water have stuck with it) is well settled into the little town in which I live. About 45-55 minutes, but it’s gorgeous, and I’m going to take some music. If you have any suggestions drop them in the wee box down there. Classical preferred.
Work is getting fairly tense; we are, as my colleague explained to me, under pressure - sous pression - but apparently David Bowie impressions are not a suitable response to that phrase. Even with the high warbly bits that require elastic bands. Such is the nature of genius; it is never recognised in time. I’m obviously not saying I’m a genius. I want to make that clear, that
I’m not saying I’m a genius. I am not saying

I’m a genius.

In the meantime, under pressure in the office as our annual dinner rolls closer and apparently it is typically French for invitees to understand “Please respond to this invitation with a cheque for some money before very reasonable date” as “Please, take as long as you want to send back this invitation, with or without the cheque, because we’re all friends here and as long as we get some money from you before the end of the financial year all is sauce au jus de viande.
In the afternoons students who’ve done no preparation for an exam they knew about at the beginning of the year are suddenly realising that they’ve not done any preparation. Although I would love to tell you that this sentiment is unknown to me, it would be a lie. I wasn’t a great student when I was a young man, and the look of nervous fear and apprehension was sadly familiar to me. And as a result I have to be firm but nice to the wee ones. And cackle inwardly, because this time it’s not me in trouble. And that feeling is brilliant.
In the evening - oh yes, it never ends - I taught a fantastic oral class, which was sparsely populated this week due to various events and internships which have stolen my students - so we explored oddities of English, including where taurine comes from, the feeling one gets from running one’s fingers down a blackboard (haptodysphoria, by the way, because I know you wanted to know) and the revelation that there are neither bikinis nor rivers in Saudi Arabia. I also taught students British slang, because they are going to London soon and, being engineers, they’re already lacking in social skills. Bless them. They’re going to get slaughtered/robbed.
If you’re in London in January next year, and you see lost looking French/Indonesian/Chinese/Columbian students, please look after them. You must not rob them.

So: give me exciting new words for my students, either slang or wonderfully complex.

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