Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ah yes, the English teaching

I forgot to let you know how that interview type thing went.

Well I got there in good time, found the place no problem, found the room no problem. Only there was an almighty row going on inside. I strategically placed myself at a distance where I couldn't hear enough to understand what was being said, but I could hear if life-threatening behaviour was in progress and I could intervene.

At the appointed hour, the smiling face of my interviewer breezed through the door, the give-away stiffness of the lips only barely detectable. All handshakes and 'how are you's with both of the combatants and it was into the interview room. The contrast in behaviour about the fulcrum of a split second was dizzying. It reminded me very much of another story ...

Sharing a room with other researchers and postgrads meant sharing at least one end of phone conversations too. So imagine the day a few years ago. Six people, one phone. The sunlight streaming through the window. All heads down and working hard. (A rare occurrence it has to be said.) The phone rings. The nearest person picks up and passes it over to our female Greek postgrad. The Greek conversation starts pretty lively, passes through warm to heated quite quickly, and then develops into what sounds like the biggest, most almighty row any of us have ever heard. Work stops, eyes make flicking contact behind her back, one person decides to leave the room, while the rest of us try and work out wtf might be going on.

We consider, between us, World War Three, the jealous discovery of adulterous behaviour, or somethign serious like forgetting to tape the latest episode of The Young Ones.

After a full fifteen minutes of apopleptic behaviour, she puts the phone down. Dust is visibly settling as a silence slowly develops into something cloying and tangible. She sits down and starts reading. Calm, relaxed and at ease with the world. Apparently. Someone ventures the question. "Are you OK?" "Sorry?" "Are you OK? You know, the phone call?" "Sorry, I don't understand." Well it sounded pretty serious. Is anything wrong?" "Wrong? No not really. That was [boyfriend]. We were just deciding what to have for dinner tonight. Why?"

Whenever she got a call after that, instead of one person walking out, we all went for a coffee.

Right, where was I? Ah yes, the English. Well we had a chat, I heard a bit about it, but had one of my intuitive feelings about the whole thing. So I think I kept the option open. I'll go down to deliver a 30 minute trial lesson at some point, and then look at it again in the new year in the glorious light of other opportunities. Whatever they might be...

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