Sometimes a title just hits the spot. Today, I woke up, inexplicably, at 02:30. Yesterday it was at 04:30. The day before it was 04:00. I feel like a character in a Stephen King novel – so much so that I daren’t look out of the window. As I type, I can feel my fingers tapping more slowly than usual. My brain is fogged up, as if someone was trying to exterminate the cockroaches that are in there. I put the coffee pot on and when it began to gargle and splutter, I discovered that only a third of the water had come through and what was waiting to be poured out was of the same consistency as the pig’s blood in the bucket that doused Carrie. Today’s offering was never going to be very zen. Talk this week on Twitter was of a Secret DoS book – if only I had the smarts to do that. I could call it ELT – Ten Thousand Things I Hate About You. Come with me as I discover what the first ten might be…
Imagine if you lived atop the most beautiful mountain in the world; each morning you would wake up and pull open the curtains in your idyllic little log cabin and the vistas would be breathtaking. Rabbits would hop around beautifully lush fields and the sun would shine upon a whole rainbow of delights, deep down in the valley. And the chances are that you would be utterly oblivious to all of this because this is what you see every sodding day. So it is, I think, with teaching.
These days I have been counselling teachers who are struggling with their classes. Students come to me and reel off a list of complaints about teachers: the class is boring, we only ever use the book, the teacher doesn’t explain things to us. I speak to the teacher: some students have been to see me. They say that they are unhappy because X, Y and Z. Can you talk to them? The teacher feels attacked: they rarely use the book; they try to get students to find the answers to their own questions; the accusation that they are boring the students hits hard.
I am really just going through the motions. I think I know what the problem really is, but in my office I am not really allowed to speak my mind. Luckily, I am not currently in my office.
Yesterday I covered a class for an absent colleague. I was asked to focus on speaking and listening skills. I’ve been teaching for over twenty years and I still have next to no idea about how to teach speaking and listening. I’ve bought books -bloody expensive ones- on how to set about these endeavours, but the truth is that my interest wanes somewhere shortly after the introduction. It could be that today;s post is a sort of anonymous public confession. But deep down, way down in the murky depths of my inner soul, I’m kind of proud of what I did yesterday. Perhaps I just need validation?