Feast of Fools

"Things just seem to keep cropping up don't they."

There's a national fortnight's holiday coming up - the charmingly named "Feast of the Sacrifice" - and I was due to spend it with B. But he's developed family committments.

If you date an arab guy, just remember his mother always comes first. So it's not very different from dating any other guy.

I had three new students, all at different levels ranging from "doesn't know the alphabet" to "good conversational fluency"...and they wanted to study together because they're friends. And they want a special class just for them, so I can teach the absolute basics to the one third who didn't master them years ago.

Not that it matters, because they didn't turn up. Actually, almost all those who want special classes never turn up.

A teenager I taught nine months ago burst into the middle of a lesson, demanding to be seen immediately. Loudly, and repeatedly. His complaint? That on his six month old certificate of course completion, we'd transliterated his name with two Rs instead of one. He's very angry about it.

Oh and apparently my teacher's qualification must be a forgery because...something something something.

Another trio of students walked in as I was packing up, wanting to "practice conversation". They asked me to tell them about England. And then they started telling me I'd be happy if I adoped Islam. Five minutes later they decided they had an appointment elsewhere, and left looking disappointed.

There's a bank branch manager with an enormous book of management theory bullshit...which he wants me to translate into simple english, and teach him. I asked him about delegation - if the ATMs are broken, which department does he call? Answer: Marketing.

But it's not all bad. Ahmed is an english teacher from Jordan, complete with picture-postcard family and deeply humanist teaching philosophy. He's been dropping in for the last few weeks, asking about grammar and talking about how teaching children in a fun, life-affirming way makes the world a sunnier place.

My largely-absent boss has been telling me for months about how he's hired a new manager to market the school to businesses...and how he'll introduce me just as soon as there's a spare moment. Today I met the new man, and it's...Ahmed the Jordanian English teacher.

There's a big new technical college opening in town, with an english language department. The department head is James, a man so British I feel Japanese by comparison. Apart from his fluency in Spanish, German and Arabic, of course - not that I'm envious, oh no.

James needs more teachers. My contract has expired. The college runs in the morning and my school opens in the afternoon. Sounds good doesn't it?

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