Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Goodbye Mr Chips

There have been grumbles from some over my absence from this blog over the last week; the truth is I have rarely had the time to sit down and do anything, and when the time was there the motivation had escaped me completely. My disillusion with my new job has arrived, not unsurprisingly, a couple of months after I have begun. I am overworked and because of this the quality of the classes I give has diminished. It does not help either that too many of the students I have this week are much too weak for comfort. And some of them are not that smart either, in the sense that they are making mistakes that should be easily diagnosable to them given that the mistakes hold for French too. It sounds crass and mean-spirited of me to talk about my students in this way though I have been exemplary thus far in holding my cool. I can understand how daunting it can be for mild-mannered middle-aged professionals to take a week off work to take twenty hours of one-on-one classes, only to make piddling progress in those five days. But even when the will is there it is difficult to move anyone beyond faux-elementary level when their understanding of the Present Continuous is so ropey and their inability to use their commonsense to decipher the simplest of crossword puzzles is so stark.

That many of my students have few English speakers they come into contact with regularly other than me compounds things further. A friend of mine suggested that bringing them out for a drink might help; an insane suggestion - why should I suffer further pain in my spare time when it is impossible enough when I am on the payroll and nominally motivated? One class whose invitations I have accepted on one or two occasions has now produced individual invitations to events I have not the slightest interest in honouring and which I even feel resentful at being forced to make a decision on. That is surely my problem: I am far too selfish to be a teacher, I really care only for myself and the only students of mine that really benefit from my teaching are the stronger ones. If classes drag and my resolution wavers then the poor weaker students are damned, inadvertently.

I spend far too much of my midweek either on the Metro or preparing to travel somewhere. I have even lost interest in playing my Saturday morning football, being far more attracted by a second morning lie-in. And nothing gets done, the laundry basket remains full, the flat is not hoovered, bank appointments are let slip, I continue wearing the same industrially-worn loafers to work because I have no time to waste trying on newer models. It's not all doom and gloom though, I can assure you.


alabalanitsa said...

I see...I really see now...:o))))