because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Friday, 4 November 2011

Teaching, learning, the universe.


Right now I'm dating as many women as I am men. If by dating you understand I mean not really, because being paid to sit in a room with a stranger to correct their pronunciation of the 'th' sound isn't an actual date. Also, remember THE WELTS! THE UGLY RED WELTS!

My job is to date. Kind of. This is the bit where I explain the awesomeness of my work through its variedness. Oh! There I go again, making up words like I'm godamn Billy Shaksepeare. Except I can't spell Shakepseare. Shakspear. SHAKESPEARE.

There we go.

I fanny about with registers and lesson plans and student books and AMIN-Y STUFF for two hours of my day, teach a couple of classes of kids for a couple more because that is, after all, what I'm actually employed to do, and then normally I have a kiddie conversation class one-on-one and finish my (six hour! SIX. AND THIS IS A FULL-TIME CONTRACT!) day off by heading upstairs to the grown-up department for a Big Person Class.

People that have enough money- either by extreme good fortune or sheer determination to save up- to pay nearly two grand to learn another language are by nature very interesting people. Before I go into the lesson I read the bio in their course book: "Flaminia is 49, was born in Rome, and has 87 parrots as well as a love of wartime opera." "Giovanni is a physicist who has worked for NASA and Interpol, has three children, a wooden leg, and speaks Hebrew, Welsh, Catalan Spanish and some Turkish." "If Laura sees this student she will cream her pants at his beauty and be unable to effectively demonstrate the use of possessive pronouns because she will be distracted by the curve of his lip when he concentrates on a particularly hard grammar point."

Or something.

Because I work these adult conversation classes only once or twice a day, whereas my colleagues know most of the students on a personal level I frequently teach strangers whom I have never met before. Hence, then, the dating. I introduce myself, we do a vocabulary quiz, I check some homework, teach a grammar point (urm. That isn't how my dates normally go. Except the grammar bit.) and then spend 20 minutes finding out about this persons life in a way not dissimilar to speed-dating. And herein lies my point.

I have one. I promise.

Because the time goes by so much more enjoyably when there is common ground to be found I HAVE TO FIND THE COMMON GROUND. This is a skill, I am coming to learn, and it isn't easy. The skill of getting people to divulge personal information until you find something appealing enough to say THAT. Let's talk about THAT. No, I don't want to know about your lice collection or the specifics of lacrosse or about your toupee-making class. Oh, it's your passion? Well your passion sucks.

Yeah. I went there. But that isn't my point.

LAURA. CONCENTRATE.

I absolutely believe in the universe sending me 'dates' that help me to figure out my own life. Had a week deliberating over whether to apply for graduate school or a real job? Here is a man whose son is moving from his job in a non-profit in Uganda to pursue his PhD in Brighton! TALK. FIND OUT THINGS. Been telling your mother that you want to adopt children as soon as the government will let you because you feel like you were born to be a mother yourself? This woman works for the Rome adoption agency and will happily talk statistics and strategies to becoming the most eligible candidate! DISCUSS. Concerned that in lieu of actual romance you are treating your job as your love life? Here! Discuss how Ryan Gosling is the new feminist icon for an hour! OR BE SENT TO THE COMPUTER ROOM TO USE THE NEW PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS YOU TO TALK ABOUT OPRAH WINFREY BECAUSE WHEN ISN'T OPRAH APPLICABLE TO LIFE.

It's like the universe hears what I need and provides it for me so that I can figure my own shit out. And in my experience, those are the best dates. The ones where you walk away feeling like a robust exchange of views and opinions has genuinely contributed to a paradigm shift about your relationship with the world. The universe like, totally wants me to be happy. THANKS UNIVERSE.

Or my sub-conscious is absolutely driving these classes to be all about me. Which is equally as probable.
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