I HATE TEACHING ENGLISH
This is my last week of being a teacher, hopefully ever. I’ve been doing this for seven years, though the whole idea of teaching things to people is deeply flawed, in my opinion. Christ I'm bored. It's not as if I am working towards any definite goal in this job, anything achievable. As fast as I teach them English they forget it, or leave the course, or die off. A new generation comes, and all the weary work to start over again, like landing on a snake in Snakes and Ladders. And back we go to fucking "Where's the Post Office?"
"This is Bill and his friend Tony. Bill plays tennis." God, how soul-destroying. No matter how many students I teach, there are always more coming along to take their place. I feel like a gerbil in an exercise wheel. I would like to do something else for a bit, but what? Join the Foreign Legion? Breed rabbits? Open a pub? A degree in social sciences makes you radically unemployable, like a facial tattoo. Having spent all this time teaching it is probably too late to rehabilitate back into society. I thought about doing some kind of postgraduate course. Perhaps the academic life might suit me. I see myself at high table, passing the port as donnish jokes were tossed about. Then I would stun the company into silence with one of my Killer Facts.
But is it good to spend so much time in universities? In The Sleepers by Walt Whitman there is a phrase, "The sick-gray faces of onanists". Another four years in higher education and that would be me. In four years time I would emerge thin and pasty, blinking like a mole. I can see myself on my release day as I stand on the pavement, shabby and pathetic. I am hunched against the biting wind, and all my possessions are next to me in a battered suitcase. Laughed at by women and splashed by the passing trucks, Hutton cuts a pitiful figure.
All alone in the big city. A group of schoolgirls pass. They look at me in disgust, and cross the road. I raise my shabby head to stare at them and piss into my trousers. Trudging aimlessly through the cold streets. The city is a bewildering place. Faces without names, where are they going? People curse as I get in the way. They want to kick me.
I make my way to the Salvation Army van to get some soup. Make it last Hutton; there'll be no more Formal Dinners in your cardboard box. But who is this? A wheezing old man is scavenging from the bins. He takes a swig of Brasso and staggers towards me. No wonder he looks familiar- it's the Dean! He left college six months ago to take up a position with a merchant bank, but having spent his entire adult life in universities he was unable even to boil an egg, and now look at him.
I am not ruling out further education, you understand. Compared with another year of stinking verbs and "grammar games" it has a lot to recommend it. But I am aware of the risks.
- posted by Harry Hutton @ 5:55 am
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