Putting One`s Feet Up Without A Permit

07/02/2012 11:41

Putting One`s Feet Up Without A Permit


Fifteen years as an English language teacher and you would expect some reward, wouldn’t you? In 2000, after five years of teaching, I’d amassed the princely sum of €12,000. Largely thanks to a year spent in Dalek, Pseudi Yarubeer, being bussed from work camp to work place and back again every day in a rattle trap vehicle with no suspension and a complete inability to cushion its occupants from the impact as it ran over those little hillocks the imported non-Pseudi engineers (Westerners) and labor gangs (wage slaves for peanuts from the Philippines and points Far East) had put in the roads every hundred meters or so to slow down the almost non-existent traffic, and prevent the foreseeable accidents that could never possibly be seen by anyone. Other than the drivers, who fell asleep from boredom at the sight of yellow sand; blue skies; grey tarmac, and a lack of anything else (including other vehicles) to keep them interested in their eventless progress. Only in the Muddle East do you see the individual car crash where the driver, experiencing terminal ennui, somehow contrives to miss the road in front of him completely, and skews his transportation through several hundred meters of empty desert; because he lost interest in driving and fell asleep.



 The bus never presented me with the option of sleeping, and I knew it wasn’t lulling me into heaven (breaking my back in order to get me into it - possibly). Suffering repetitive strain injury to my lumbar vertebrae, jolts from the bus that began as a jarring, and which became pained anticipation of previously experienced night time discomfort to the spine, as a consequence of the bus’s lack of shock absorbers, grew into regular wincings. As the bus jounced on, the desire to stand for twenty minutes or so, staring out at the yellow sand and blue sky, while legs and feet took their share of the punishment, increased. My germane illness in that area is called osteomyelitis, and bones crumble if there’s any strain or stress. The doctor at the hospital inside the Konk Carlid Military City, a big nose on wheels in those parts, which ran the English Language Training Centre (ELTC), told me to buy a bicycle to keep fit, because of high blood pressure. Any form of locomotion would be preferable to the bus, so off I launched myself into Dalek proper, and bought one for 300 SAR (about 60 GBP). Riding it back to the camp of the wage slaves (foreign workers) and riding out on it again the following morning to the Military City, the guards made me dismount at the main gate, and called the manager, ‘Beloved’ (Habib), to have him explain to me that I didn’t have a permit to ride a bicycle. Laughing incredulously (but good naturedly), I sold my exercise machine that same day to one of my colleagues for 150 SAR, so that he could wobble around the work camp on it, and get the shopping done for his missus. The doctor was never seen again, and only cried over the 150 SAR. Huddled down in my seat on the bus, lest the guards recognize me as their health-crazed bicycle owner, I pondered the life-expectancy of my still-beating heart. Still unbeaten, humdrum is the beat to which I’m forced marching on.



 Standing on the bus to save me from the heart attacks that the painful sudden jarrings to my back were promising, I bumped predictably along atop the sleeping (but ever wakeful) policeman of the manufactured hilly road. Not that my feet and legs weren’t used to it. If you’ve been teaching for a while, you’d know that the teacher is expected to be upright for the lesson’s whole length; bellowing at the top of his voice, and writing ferociously the entire time. `We want examples. Please write.` This is what the stud`nts ask of me mostly. `The chair is blue,` I tell them. `What color is the wall?` `Red,` they say. `How many more examples do you want?` I inquire. `Please write,` they tell me. `The wall is red,` I write. `The wall is yellow,` I say. `It isn’t,` they complain. `It is in my universe,` I reply smugly. `What color are my eyes?` I ask. `Blue,` they reply. `The eyes are a phantasmagoria of iridescent rainbows,` I write. `What does it mean?` they want to know. `Buy a dictionary,` I enthuse them. `A greater part of learning English is finding out the meaning of words by yourself without any help from your teacher,` I lie wholeheartedly, and with true strength of feeling for it.


 I’m a tremendous advocate of the transparency and the OHP (I’m a poet, an` I know it). To avoid the copious amounts of chalk dust, getting in my eyes and throat, I’d spend a few minutes in the afternoon preparing classes that revolved around the stud`nts staring at the material projected onto the nearest convenient spacious flat surface, while one or other of their number struggled to complete the gap fill exercise I’d cunningly contrived. Watching out for the `trick question` that, in reality, never arises, the stud`nt is always certain there’ll be one, so I put one in to let them feel wholly vindicated.




Use these words to complete the given sentences. Sometimes no words are required, so leave blank. The answer key is at the end of this article; after the notes.


perpendicular, isn’t, Brasiliass, too, bigger, fat


Q1. The grass is and the sun is .


Q2. The teacher is and the stud`nts are .


Q3. Each morning I eat and each evening I eat .


Q4. Brasilia is the capital of and Sydney .


Q5. Robin likes to go but Crushedin likes to go .


 Often I’d leave the trainee male Pseudi nurses to study it as a group, and put my feet up on the desk. Or at least I would have; if I hadn’t been informed (a useful tip this to the ELT professional) that one should never show the soles of your feet in Yarub company: it’s a mortal insult. You’re indicating that others are dust. Actually, I spent a lot of mental energy reminding myself to keep my feet flat to the ground in Pseudi Yarubeer; only to discover later that the Pseudis don’t care. It’s the Egypt Johns, and other Yarubeans that have that weirdness to their aspect. So, always check with Wikitravel, if you’re concerned about local customs (https://wikitravel.org/en/Main_Page). On the evidence of the numbers of those displaying their feet to me in my classroom, I can only surmise. I leave it to the learnéd reader, and/or intrepid ELT traveler, who’ll verify the veracity of it for themselves.


 Sometimes the stud`nts will encourage you to sit and `relax`, so you gratefully sit, and then find that the room has shrunk to the size of your desk. The horizon has been swallowed up, by looming figures seeking ‘individual explanations tailored to particular needs’. It’s over an esoteric point of grammar they’ve been waiting to catch you unawares with for the entire semester, `Why is a comma not an apostrophe?` they implore. `Because it isn’t,` I respond tetchily. `Is your brother a sister?` They consider it: `You are a great teacher.` ‘Yes,’ I dispute. Getting to my feet as the immanent storm clouds recede to their own chairs, I further elicit: ‘And I got that way by learning to stand up in my shoes for fifty minutes at a stretch.`


 The great events of the week was my giving a lesson on listening. We’d sit in the language lab with our headphones on. Devotedly straining to comprehend the numbingly inane meanderings of the Headoff interactive video, imagine my surprise when the red London bus lurched into view. It wasn’t the bus that sits in inactive solitude outside MacDonald’s in Buttapes’ 3rd district, whimsically named `Frog Meadow`, because it was where the local French immigrants were enlisted to be the chorus for ‘Pool McCartney’s ‘We’re All Stoned Together’ (1984), ’ Win or lose, sink or swim. One thing is certain we'll never give in.’1 The kids swarm all over it, while watching the Headoff video on their I-pod supafones, and chuckling delightedly when the big red London bus loomed into view. I jest, naturally. Not many London buses on the way to Ealing in Yarubeer`s Dalek, tho’ clearly that’s where the money-laden Yarubean foreigners should be. `Blondie`, my stud`nts tell me when the Headoff lead actress appears topless. It’s a matter of some interest to them; if to no one else. Blondes are rare in Yarubeer, because of the BBQs: but they know their name.


 As the tape wears on, it becomes clear that something is troubling the soundtrack. When the room lighting is switched on, it’s observable that none of the booths provided had occupants wearing headsets to hear the taped Headoff audio material with their mouthpieces prepared to respond to the questions posed by the Headoff characters, Lyn, Ann & Paul, ‘What is the capital of Brazil?’ ‘B!’ they usually bellow in unison. Or so I was led to believe. With me there’s no one is present at any of the booths, although their caps with the Pseudi army emblem are prominently displayed at the corners. Feet sticking out from behind the last row indicate the source of the overdub. Loud snores from the stud`nts, piled up at the back of the classroom, with their feet in each others` eyes; noses, and mouths. Inveigled back into position with the promise of more Blondie, and perhaps ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ (1978):


‘I had to interrupt and stop this conversation

Your voice across the line gives me a strange sensation,

I'd like to talk when I can show you my affection.’2


 After a quick burst, the heads reappear fitted to the caps, and they agree to place a tick in the appropriate box:


The bus is


red              Australian              marzipan



 One stud`nt correctly identifies that the bus is all three; it having been constructed in Canberra. `What is marzipan?` one of them wants to know. `It’s the number 32 to Mars,` I tell them. One of the great secrets of ELT is never let them catch you out, and don’t let them ask questions you don’t have an answer for. Especially not those infernally confiding, `the teacher is my personal friend` style impositions. I often tell my stud`nts that, `No, I am not your friend. I’m your teacher.` Then they have no excuse; they are not a familiar. The earnestly yearning moué no longer has any place in the language laboratory, and one can safely operate without feeling; the coldly calculating instrument of the finest of surgeons. How often I’ve been delivered of a stud`nt into my class, from the lower echelons of the language skull I’m working at, who’s without the capacity to choose accurately from the indefinite articles:




Use either a or an in order to complete the sentences. Remember, it is a before a word beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) and an before a word beginning with any other of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet.


Q1. There is banana next to the umbrella behind the television.


Q2. There is orange inside the umbrella underneath the window.


Q3. Behind the television, underneath the window, there is potato next to the banana.


Q4. Above the potato adjacent to the banana, on the windowsill, behind the television and the umbrella with the orange inside it, is grape.


Q5. Grape is green and red.


 You have to explain to your stud`nts that you’re not their friend, and most institutes insist that you tell them this from the first. To avoid the partialities of favoritism and classroom jealousies that can result in perpetual enmity, ‘You are their teacher!’ Otherwise, you start thinking you’ve a life. Here are all these people who want to be with you. Suddenly you’re a center of interest, but only insofar as you’re like Tralfalmadore Square in London with the statue of Billy Pilgrim atop: hero of Pilgrims’ language skull’s ELT journal, Humanizing Language Teaching (b. 1998), and the central figure of novelist Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, who encounters a ufonaut from the planet Tralfalmadore, who explains: ‘All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I've said before, bugs in amber.’3 All stud`nts of English language want to convince themselves that they’re pilgrims. In fact `Bill Grimage` is a name by which I’m known in many places. `Where is Bill Grimage?` `He’s the square over there by the red wall that he thinks is yellow,` they point me out. Over they come in droves in order to ask me if there are enough camels in Hyde Park? Enough? `I’ve always found it replete with as many camels as I could desire,` I announce; `one has to be careful or one has nothing else to step on.`


 I’m a believer in humor means humon. Joking with my stud`nts, respect is maintained for my role. It’s important that humanity is displayed, and lightly done. Wearing a blue sock and a pink, some of the stud`nts ridiculed my mistake, `I wanted to see who would laugh at me, and who would laugh with me,` I jerked. Some laughed. I was the teacher: not their friend.


 Walking through the desert from the wage slave labor camp to the NWLFH at the Konk Kalid, and having to stop to allow a column of wheeled tins with fully extended proboscis to pass, I was glad to leave Dalek before konking out in front of the goggle-box watching the Yarubean episodes of the Doctor Who serial, ‘Crazy Golf war II’, ‘Exterminate!’4 Stepping off the plane in Buttapes, near to the guest house, or panzió usually lodged at in Myrna Loy’s Galoshes’ street, Heavy Mettel You`re A Peon bearings were found. Buying for cash at a nearby estate agent, the first property they showed me for 4.1 millió Hungriun, a subterranean dwelling the Mad Jaw (Magyar) call alagsor, that is, `basement`, was putatively mine. It was at the local ‘Faith’ church, where they put their arms in the air to make a ‘Y’ for ‘wired’, that Lord Charles, ‘the dummy’ (sodomy), and his ventriloquist, Ray Allen, had explained that those who didn’t speak the words of their ‘vents’ had their jaws wired up, which was why the local tribe was Magyar (Mad Jaw), because they were deemed mad for attempting to jaw without aides from among the Boble leg spurts.



 Basement flat #2 was the second of its type at the apartment block in One Horse Coach street, Ferencvaros (Frank’s castle), where Let’s Zep Boleyn (from her head), so that they could jaw with her, was regularly heard,  ‘Run for the razor, doin' up my hair …’5 Although Led Zeppelin’s ‘Royal Orleans’ wasn’t about Anne Boleyn’s (d. 1536) husband, king Henry VIII of England, divorced for not paying for the tax on his chopping (VAT), but rather ‘The Maid Of Orleans’, Joan of Arc (d. 1431), who was the Duke of Orleans’ stake in the French throne, which was why the English king, Henry V, burned her there, it was evident that it was a ‘voice coach’. Without a penis of her own, ‘woman’s seed’ would become hoarse until voice and brain disappeared in the hatred of the coach’s misogyny.


 Commencing living a life without stud`nts, while discovering what France’s Victor Hugo had penned so much about in Les Miserables (1862), and Soupçon Boil had murdered in the song she sung from the musical about misery, `I Dreamed A Dream` (2010): `Still I dream he'd come to me, and we would live the years together.`6 Obviously the vent was taking control, and ‘Dul Laden anybody’s my guess. People are irremediably drab. Sneezed upon on trams and debating with oneself whether six oranges or two kilos? Stifling incredulous yawns as metroline #2 takes you inconceivably vast distances from Anybotty Tér to Blow-a-Loser Tér ‘neath the Blurred Danude (1866) of Viennese Johnny Insbruck II, which is a rather muddier brown for the Butt to Apes travelers, who unblinkingly yawn at your own yawning gormlessness. Then its grey statues in the rain in Statue Park where one almost has a heart attack as a statue moved, and you’d thought it wasn’t a resident.



 On those days, I’d surface from my submerged existence, but most days I’d lie athwart my bed. Aroused only by the sight of footwear passing blearily through the dim panes of my hidden abode, eventually the light seemed to refuse to enter. Remaining beneath the blankets for uncountenanced days, I told myself I was recuperating, though I was having a mental breakdown. Months of unpaid bills resulted in a visit from the workmen to cut off my electricity supply. In the muddle of Winter, standing by the stove’s gas ring, hands became warner. Finally, the flat went for a fraction of its value, and learning economics had become a lesson in how to torture teacher.


 Studying economics at ‘Ull Collage of Further Head Chuck Occasions (H.C.F.H.C.O), a part of my Briti Head Duck Occasion Council National Diploma (BSOCND) in Busyness Studies, which in the Coarse Description was, ‘The Mafia Organization In Its Environment’, year 1 and 2 module (1978-80). However, life isn’t about economics. It’s about how much greyness you can tolerate. I’d found a void had entered my soul, and economically taken root. It would be 10 more years before I’d have the euros I’d need to buy my soul back from the devil of boredom. Teaching jobs that pay $1000 a month don’t cut the ice, and hit the mustard of affording booze and burkhas. There are lots offering a tow in Newrope, and Afreecar. I was living in a flop house in ‘Ull when I got the interview I needed in 2009. The train fare to London was almost beyond my scope, but I risked it at over 100 GBP return. I spoke with Mr Carlid, an ancient Egypt John steeped in wheeled nose science detachment. The ‘lid, a generic term for those born with physical deformities that made them ‘armless in the concerned 1960s of nascent neighborhood watch teams, that is, ‘armless through their mother`s taking the thalidomide drug to ease birth, was on his way to Riyald for a nail biting salary of 12,000 SAR (about 2000 GBP) a month working for ‘Jizz’ Academy.


 Despite a tow in Newrope from Egypt John in Afreeca, the light of knowledge, visibly shining through the tow of blonde hair gracing the teacher’s incandescent brain, dimmed as the snuff cap of withering age began to settle on his Pilgrims’ pate. Soon the `lid would be nailed, and it`d be the blameworthy engine. For it`s the genius of what the Yarbians call djinn that are called upon when something`s to be achieved, like the invention of the motor car, and it`s genius that`s dispensed with first when men have what they think they want. Preferring a `lid nailed down, and a his and hearse instead of the planets among the stars of heaven, it`s always the engine.


 A year later and I had €13,000. Again I stepped off the plane at Buttapes` Fairy Head 1 Air Terminal and found a flat through an estate agent. This time on the third floor of a building without a lift. ‘The exercise will do you good,’ I was cajoled. I keep the name of the street a secret in fear of stud`nt reprisals at being asked to do some work at home. Buying it was easy; living there was harder. I had to have a residence card, and before that I needed medical insurance, which I could only get if I worked in Hungry: ‘There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to, he was sane and had to.’7 Orr means ‘nose’ in Hungry, although in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 novel of WWII it’s the name of a pilot that’s sane if he doesn’t want to be killed, so he’s placed in danger of being killed by enemy air aces. ‘It never reigns, butt it’s nose,’ say the wheeled konks with their royal families of spiders hanging in the hairs sniffing after the hole ahead.


 The average salary in Buttapes amongst the ‘Hunghair’, as the Germans call that great nation, was around 30,000 HUF a month when I arrived in the Summer of ’95, which was about 100 GBP. So, who would want to work there? I discovered that I could be insured for 250,000 HUF per annum, which is way out of the reach of the average well hung nose a-wheel - and mine – slaved until exhausted by those speeders demanding humility from the human race sped past. So, the question becomes: ‘Who wants you to live here?’ The answer is no one; if you can’t afford it. An alternative answer is: richer pickings for the bigger thieves.


 Named Robin, `Hood` is what they come up with after moments or weeks; depending on their thought waves and the inclinations of the local controlling telepathic coercers.They grin: I understand. These are the Merry Men. They’ll rob me; if they can, and wish I were richer. This, of course, is the true sense of the tale. First Konk Rich, but then the Merry Men of the car hood, that is, the gangstas with the molls, who want a Konk John - but’d accept a wheel John from Egypt; if they were allowed to continue molesting unmolested. Maid Marian is the marrying kind with a sim(eon) card for her `phone, while Xmas Robin’s tyred and exhausted in the Buttapes` nose. They didn’t call the nobblers of the Magna Carta (1215) `robber barons` for nothing, which was ‘the nub and the rub’ for modern gangsta ‘rappers’, such as New York’s Run DMC, when they were ‘illing those who wouldn’t be slaves in the 80s with vampire tracks like, ‘Proud To Be Black’ (1986). Leeches are people, who don’t want to work, and they drink the blood of those who have to – or if they’re lucky – like to. The thieves have all their time to think on it too: ‘There's not a slave, in this day and age.’8



 I’m a small writer in a small way, but who’s `looking after` the big ones? Who’s the hood in the neighborhood of J.K. Rowling (1965-); the woman enslaved by Harry Potter to write about him? How long will the men stay merry? For every small fish, there’s a piranha; and for the big fish there’re shoals of piranha. I’m probably being nibbled at even now; as I sit here with my Smart Phone, a tablet of tone, proofreading the collected pieces for May I Torture You Teacher, while the snake-eyed driver of the car, Nibal, directs the occupants of his taxi’s slaved attention to the local artistic municipal features. Metallic parti-colored giant fish on traffic islands punctuate our way to Nobyu Collage. Small fry attract smaller piranha. I don’t want to be a pig, John, so why bother looking for eagles to make a pigeon, ’bye? For me writing’s fun and interesting; even entertaining. For criminals, it’s only robbery – with or without menaces. Potter’s a writer's urn, because it's her funeral; if she'll accept her role as a slave to a wordprocessor. That’s why the entertainment industry is like it is. People like to be entertaining; and the evil prey on that: but how many of the smiling faces are Merry Men’s? It’s the old story of the Rumun Emperor’s Praetorian Guard; they overthrow the Emperor, and give the throne to the infant so they can rule by proxy. Who’s going to table it to the bread heads? Shoals of cruising piranhas isn't an economy. Casting bread upon the waters (Ecc: 11.2) only encourages cannibalism. Nibal nibbles onwards in his car; looking to make a bigger catch in its 4WD pot.



 I teach busyness English sometimes. My qualification is from 1980 in Busyness Studies, so it’s necessary to know the latest buzz word jargon aligned with the computer age’s take on counting buttons to see if  it’ll fly. You get the odd stud`nt, Mr Odd, who’ll ask about examinations, and I usually explain that there are no such; unless one wants to complete the test system on the CD Rom given with the material as a curiosity for the geek-minded among us. My experience is that they don’t want to learn Busyness English; they want a cheap BMA and they want you to write it for them. Like most ESP, Busyness English is about the knowledge and usage of terms; like `stocks and shares`. You explain the meaning of the words, so that the stud`nt is able to place them into sentence structures that they know will make sense to others. It’s the same as medical English ESP. You explain the word `scalpel` and then they know they’re asking the nurse for the right tool when they’re at surgery as a guest performer in New York. ESP Busyness isn’t about teaching Busyness therefore. Many stud`nts come to a Busyness English teacher expecting to be given a Busyness programme in English. I’ve often had to do far more work with what are normally individual stud`nt classes than the learners themselves in providing a Busyness programme that isn’t on the agenda – or even the map – of the language skull I’m working for; just to keep things ticking over and not lose a job I hadn’t contracted for.



 I’ve had stud`nts of English language, who were at medical Universe City, although I wasn't there teaching them, take a course at the place I worked to ask me questions about the operation and functionality of `the eye English`. Previously unaware that Lillian Glish, the Hollywood actress, who starred in W. D. ‘Forty’ Gruffit’s Porn Of A Nation (1912), was being ‘eyed’, I went out and bought a three-dimensional model for ten quid, and took it apart under their noses to show them the labeled sections before reassembling it again. It`s not the role of an ESP teacher to cut their eyes up and label them; just as it`s the function of the medical Universe City to explain that it isn't the role of the stud`nt to blind their teacher and put them in a wheelchair. Cutting their eyes up and labeling them is the sort of thing teachers are asked by medical stud`nts in English classes to countenance on a regular basis. It`s because ancient Egypt John religion had a science of the eye in which the parts were numbered in terms of edibility, because the evil killed beauty. Wadjet is Egypt John`s goddess of the eye, because the wombs of women are men’s jet printer, which they don’t want to escape, `Watch it!` As beauty disappears from view, the eyes of humans are effectively devoured. US novelist William S. Burroughs had a theory about heroin addicts, who became so as spiders crawled into their eyes, and lived there poised to ejaculate and boy son some pupilled heroine: ‘… my contention is that evil is quite literally a virus parasite occupying a certain brain area which we may term the RIGHT center. The mark of a basic shit is that he has to be right. And right here we must make a diagnostic distinction between the hard-core virus-occupied shit and a plain, ordinary, mean no-good son of a bitch. Some of these sons of bitches don't cause any trouble at all, just want to be left alone.’9  It’s the irregular extra-curricular activities that keep you employed by the shits . You get tagged as a `good Joe`, and can pick up your usual cheque at the end of the month.


 Giving an unpaid seminar to colleagues on the subject of realia, examples included  an eye with optic nerve plastic kit; some erasers in a box shaped like hot dogs; hamburgers, and fruit. Focusing on the theme, as it were. There was an ice-cream pencil sharpener; a knife and fork, and a pair of plastic shoes that had pencil sharpeners in the heel. The last was for kids and was made by the Walt Disney (1901-66) Company (b. 1923). In the shop you could buy individual or shoe pairs, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would buy a pair when they could buy one. With stud`nts of Lillian Glish, the bod’ of 1912, it'd remind them they'd need a foot, that is, 12”. One only needs one pencil sharpener. I’ve never seen anyone using two at once. Then I saw two children fighting over who got which shoe after opening the plastic packaging. The left hand (and foot) is haraam, that is ‘forbidden’, in Yarubean culture. It's for hygiene reasons to do with which hand wipe the bum. Curiously, all of the single shoe pencil sharpeners were right shoes. Disney, being a typically American company, were selling two shoes for the price of one. However, these savvy Yarubean kids, brought up on tales of djinn wafting babes to Astiffen on magic carpets, wanted a foot, because futanarian women got to fuck their own race, and they were prepared to go at each other’s throats for that.



 At the end of the presentation, Jizz management carefully snaffled every bought item . Mumbling inaudibilities, he disappeared off into his office upstairs. Like I say, don’t expect to get paid more for additional ESP programmes you’re unofficially obliged to deliver as a wage slave. No one will expect anything less of you than to spend weeks preparing material for a one month Busyness course on `Creative Report Writing Skills`, `Running a Meeting`, `Leadership and Team Building`, and `Making a Presentation`, which were components of a company-styled Soft Skills Training Programme provided at Oxfudge Internal Nepotism, Khartoum, Sudan. Note that it’s an entire Busyness course; not ESP. Accreditation for such programmes is given in the OIN, K, S brochure as being provided by the Unstitute of Professional Managers and Equine (UPME) which, according to their website, provides Busyness courses leading to BMA opportunities for those who reach the level required. However, I was employed as a language teacher; not a provider of English Busyness course programmes. OIN, K, S even published brochures defining me as a `busyness expert`, and this is what you learn to expect in ELT overseas: beware. You are both undervalued in terms of salary and overburdened as well as overvalued; in terms of what is expected of you, and what they publicize you as being able to do. It’s a not very fine line between teaching the word for `scalpel`, and telling the surgeon where to make the incision, while holding onto his wrist as he does so.



 It’s what youngsters just out of Universe City are expected to do throughout the world. Meeting one who, not even out of Universe City, had been recruited for a Muddle East position, and a role in Riyald’s Higher Institute for Prosthetics Fabrication, he was required to train stud`nts in machinery operation using technical instruction manuals in English - and he wasn’t even 18. Just had a nice English sounding voice: to them. Actually, he had a broad West Yorkshire accent, and I should know; I’m from North Yorkshire. His advantage was that he was young; so malleable. Don’t be fooled by `institutes` offering `training`, before dropping you in at the deep end of the swimming pool.8 All they do is tell you what they want from you, and often it has little to do with ELT.



 Working with a teacher whose popularity was legendary amongst the stud`nts, one fine morning during exam time I discovered why. Walking into the exam he was invigilating with his class, they were sitting in splendor amidst one of the richest feasts it has ever been my amazement to witness; coffee jugs; sweetmeats; sandwiches; cakes; juices, etc. The stud`nts busily chewing and drinking all through their exam. This teacher was also much beloved of management, but where’s the ELT training course that teaches that? Perhaps it’s included in the DOLTE now? I don’t know. Another of the teachers followed the institution’s instructions to the letter: no food or drink allowed in the classroom. He lasted about as long as a cup of tea he wouldn’t let them be seen with; management kicked him out after `complaints` that he was running things in a `military style` and wouldn’t let them use the bathroom until after the lesson was over: so it goes. I hung on for twelve months, which is as long as it takes a stud`nt at Jizzy Ra to get his diploma (so I saw through a whole intake) – and all for the pitiful remuneration of €13,000 annual net.


 Staying on a monthly basis at the Azidzia three star hotel, a mile or so up the street from the Jizz, it had twin beds, and a prison sentence in the offing; if even the presence of a woman had been smelt in there. I was there for a few hours, before I detected the sound of the little man with the hammer that seems to follow me about everywhere. Does anyone else notice that? It doesn’t matter where I am in the world; after a few hours I begin to hear the little man with the hammer somewhere close by in some room making desperate alterations to the contents that’ll take at least all of the time I’m due to be staying there for their completion to be assured. Consequently, my usual modus operandi is to rush pack everything in the last fifteen minutes I have before leaving for the airport; in the hope I can smuggle myself out without the little man with the hammer sneaking off with me in the luggage and planning fresh outbreaks that’ll keep me awake into the wee small hours of the dawning at my next port of call. If I ever find him, I’ll hit him with his own hammer: I promise you.


 The staff of the hotel were a bit robotic and glum; mainly from Pokistern I guessed. Most of the foreign taxi drivers were from Bangalot, Hydershe’sbad and Bombmum, etc., which is why they’d come. Spiritually they were all Egypt John’s taxis, that is, attacks on sight, which is what the evil devourers of beauty do. They didn’t like Riyald, whoever she was, so they only took you to see the bag ladies. `Money,` they’d say, and rub thumb and forefinger together. It was March when I left, and the Pseudi Winter was coming to a close. It'd been about as warm as a typically English Summer, so I’d needed the extra blanket and an electric fan heater from the local supermarket. Also surplus to excess baggage was the electrically heated water jug. I gathered the entirety together with some couple of dozen or so spare oranges I had in the fridge, and handed them over to the reception. It was the least I could do; so I was glad to do it. I left 100 SAR on the room table and left. The staff still looked glum, but they were pleased I was leaving. I was the one that used the prayer mat provided in the room for sopping up excess water as I defrosted the fridge.


 So, abiding in Buttapes awaiting permission to live. What if refused? Is it a sentence? Is it a fatwah on Wadjet or Epson? On my passport it says: `Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.` It’s an exhortation that’s made me a rabbit in a hutch; more times than I like to admit so far. If you’re in ELT, you’re pretty much defenseless. In a few days your bones are picked clean, and they’re wondering what to do with you. I had a job waiting for Koo in Kuwait, and she’d finished with me before I arrived. I taught one class, before being told I was surplus to requirements and could go: I minded. American porn actress, Koo Stark, had said she'd wait forever for Print Sandy of England to make her his Wadjet. Kuwait had offered a year’s contract, and I’d turned down other offers. That was in 2004, and I had to wait another six years to buy somewhere to sleep. ELT is more often than not a rat’s maze for any other than the dilettante. It’s not about professionalism: it’s about who can afford to waste their time. I hate to say it, but who on Earth is going to work for $1000 a month if they’re professionals? Most jobs in Eastern Newrope’s ‘Hungair’ as well as a toe from Afreecar are clearly meant for holiday workers, or wet-behind-the-ears’ skull leavers; looking to tie bikers to a rear bumper. These are all that should be interested and, until ELT’s a valued and comparably paid profession, there’ll be no professionals. Writing, teaching, and sounding professional isn’t ever going to be enough; if all you’re ever going to be paid in are brass coat buttons for the uniform.




1 McCartney, Paul ‘We All Stand Together’, Paul McCartney And The Frog Chorus, Parlophone, 1984.

2 Lee, Jack ‘Hanging On The Telephone’, Blondie, Parallel Lines, Record Plant, 1984.

3 Vonnegut, Kurt Slaughterhouse-Five, Delacorte, 1969, p.86.

4 Skelton, Roy as Dalek (voices) in Genesis Of The Daleks, Season 12, Serial 4, BBC1, March 8 - April 12, 1975.

5 Bonham, John, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant ‘Royal Orleans’, Led Zeppelin, Presence, Swan Song, 1976.

6 Boublil, Alain, and Claude-Michel Schönberg (English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer) `I Dreamed A Dream`, Susan Boyle I Dreamed A Dream, Syco, 2010.

7 Heller, Joseph Catch 22, Simon & Schuster, 1961, Chapter 5, p. 46.

8 Brown, Andre, Darryl McDaniels, and Daryl Simmons, ‘Proud To Be Black’, Run DMC, Raising Hell, Profile, 1986.

9 Burroughs, William S., The Place Of Dead Roads, Viking Press, 1983, p. 155.

10 The shock when this actually happens is murderous. I carefully read 6” before stepping in at the end of one public swimming pool. It was 6’ 6", but the first number had been erased over time by the abrasive soles of the feet of the myriads of visitors. I hit my head going down, and was unconscious before my feet hit bottom. Fortunately people float, and I was found being blown around by the wind on the surface. I was 15.


Answer Key


perpendicular, isn’t, Brasiliass, too, bigger, fat


Q1. The grass is perpendicular and the sun is bigger.


Q2. The teacher is fat and the stud`nts are too.


Q3. Each morning I eat and each evening I eat.


Q4. Brasilia is the capital of Brasiliass and Sydney isn`t.


Q5. Robin likes to go but Crushedin likes tug – 'Oh!'