Class Warfare

The end of another working week. The Dramatis Personae, with their various dramas and tramas, after three weeks all settled into a routine.

There's the low-level young manager who's trying to be the wise old guru. This consists in giving long, ponderous lectures, full of patronising platitudes, to people who know the subject far better than him.

I think we've all worked out how to deal with this 'freely given expert guidence' - stare out of the window until he's talked himself out, and never offer an opinon - because then you'll get another lecture on why you're wrong.

Then there's the highly strung one who focuses all her virtiolic hate on one colleague at a time. For a fortnight it was the manager - she decided he's a binge-drinking repressed homosexual with an absusive father, and probably a sociopath.

Now she's moved on and is ranting about, erm, me. Though I think everyone's stopped listening.

There's the displaced intellectual, with embryonic PhD and 'real career' that's going through a dry spell. The one who sees teaching any subject as a way to teach the high culture that interests him, not what a class of lower-intermediate teenagers from other countries are capable of understanding.

Not without another decade of language study and a college degree before they start.

We've got the plain speaker who bounces between "What you don't understand is that language changes all the time" and "You can't say that! It's not correct English! I don't care that it's common, it's just wrong, wrong, wrong".

And the one who drives for 90 minutes (which he hates) to teach a class (which he hates) on a subject (which he hates) because there's no other jobs around (which he...isn't happy about).

Plus of course the lady who's been teaching for decades. The same dozen lessons, with the same diagrams and 'learning games', endlessly cycled. Also, the only one with the sense to keep out of office politics.

As is traditional, there's the nervous youngster who's already mastered the most important teaching skills without realising it - presenting relevant information in terms the students can understand, and never trying to bullshit or bully them.

Oh yeah, and there's me. Mr laid-back. The one who talks to students outside of class, and possibly the only one who knows how little they think of the school. And the one who yesterday risked showing 20 Germans an episode of 'Allo 'Allo. They said the acting was terrible, but the plot was funny.

Next week...all change. New classes, new colleagues, new site and a whole new smorgasbord of quirks, conflicts and coping strategies.

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