Day 2

When I left Portsmoth, I promised myself I wouldn't stay out late at night, I wouldn't get myself a reputation by flirting with straight men, and I wouldn't drink alcohol.

This is the third night, counting that of my arrival on Sunday, that someone else has got me drunk.

Tonight it was Donna S - a comrade from Portsmouth with 2.5 year old daughter Daisy in tow, up for the day trawling London's art galleries. She bought us pasta and wine in resteraunt, and we talked about art, and men. And language teaching, and men. And politics, and men.

All of which was highly welcome.

I pick up bits and pieces of what's happening in the world outside, just from headlines in newspapers, and the occasional half article surruntitiously read over someone's shoulder on the underground.

"The Metro" lead with how the police shooting of Jean Charles Demenezes was justified because, although he wasn't a terrorist, he could have been, and if he had been, he might have killed hundreds. By the same reasoning, I can kill you because one day you might kill me instead.

On the other hand, "TheLondonPaper" lead with "Iraq: 1000 Soldiers Home by Christmas" - suggesting a different aspect of the War on Terror, namely the actual war, is winding down, and the government is sure the public are behind a withdrawal. Which they have been for two years, but nevermind.

And the saga of "Madeline" drags on. Four months ago, three year old Madeline McCann disappeared from a family holiday in Portugal. For three solid months, the British gutter press blamed the Portugese police for the complete lack of progress in the investigation - not because there was no evidence, but because the police weren't briefing journalists. No, don't try to work it out.

Then the headlines briefly decided her parents had killed her, because they hadn't broken down in tears on camera, before speculating that she'd been kidnapped by slave traders. Today, the line is that she was drugged - because her grandmother says she must have been.

Precisely how a single missing child - probably dead on the day she disappeared - could make headlines almost every day for this long, I don't know. Maybe losing two wars and an approaching revolution in Burma aren't interesting enough.

But apart from all that, I spent the day being introduced to "MFP" - Meaning, Form (=Grammar) and Phonology, the three major aspects of language which, we are told, any good lesson must include in some proportion. That, and "How to Write a Lesson Plan" which, loathe as I am to admit it, is not always a bureaucratic waste of time.

Oh, and I got to teach my first class, for twenty minutes. There was Miguel (a talkative Spanish fellow), Melanie (a French lady who didn't need lessons in English), Salvador (a young Mexican man who needed lots of lessons), Clement (an unfeasibly gorgeous French lad), and others. So there was me, trying not to use any difficult words, long sentences, complex tense formations or metaphors, to a class half of who were well below the level I was teaching, and half well above.

And I get to do the same thing for twice as long on Wednesday. Hopefully this time without being nervous, stammering, forgetting what I want to say, confusing the students with too much explanation, or jabbering away too fast in broken sentences trying to get a simple meaning across without resorting to bad translations from the student's native tongue.

1 comment:

  1. It seems to me you're just doing fine, dear Kapitano! It's quite curious reading these texts of yours dealing with matters I've dealt with myself so many years ago...
    As to the McCann saga - this is the first time ever I write about it on the bloggosphere -, I share your opinion entirely. It seems, dear Kapitano, there's something quite wrong in the media world after all: we both are completely different persons, you living in the UK, I living in Portugal, receiving information from different sources, and yet, bypassing all the nonsense in and around this creepy story, we do come to rather similar conclusions! My point is media don't get to convince us anymore. They're not competent enough, not even the so-called «quality press» (either British or Portuguese)... Besides the dark destiny of that child, that is what scares me the most...
    I'm really glad you can keep us posted about your pedagogical adventures in London! Thank you!