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Thursday, December 09, 2004
 
THE BRITISH COUNCIL- AT LEAST IT’S NOT RUN BY A DRUNK
Just called the British Council to see if they’ll give me a job. The thought of teaching English again fills me with acute suicidal instincts, but I’m running out of money and it’s either that or sell one of my kidneys. The British Council is better than most language schools. It’s run by the UK Foreign Office: all the other places I worked at were run by drunks. They could use this in pamphlets as their "unique selling point." It would be an improvement on “Creating Opportunity for People Worldwide,” which is the current slogan.

THE BRITISH COUNCIL
At least it's not run by a drunk.

And when people ask me what I do I will no longer have to stare at the floor and mutter that I am a teacher "but I do other things as well". I can look them squarely in the eye and say, "I work for the cultural arm of the British Embassy, and if I don't get some respect around here I shall have you all shot."

The other advantage of working for the British Council is that there are no British Council inspections to put up with: they don't inspect themselves. Other schools have to be "accredited" by the BC, which means that every so often some bearded fuck with a clipboard will appear in your classroom, poking his long nose in. Usually, he wants to see your lesson plan, which I never have, lesson plans being strictly for poofs in my opinion. "Oh," he says, "You don't have a lesson plan," and writes something on his clipboard, deeply shocked by such depravity. When the class is over you get feedback, and he will express disappointment that you aren't using the phonetic alphabet. And do you want to know why I don't use the phonetic alphabet? Because my students couldn't tell the difference between a plosive, a fricative and a poke in the eye with a burnt stick. And if I tried to force them to learn it they would rise up and pelt me with fruit.

In these observations you get criticized if you open your mouth at all. However little you speak, they will tell you that Teacher Talking Time was too high. The kind of lesson the inspectors would enjoy would be for the teacher to sit in silence while the students talk gibberish to each other. Student Talking Time would be 100%, Teacher Talking Time would be zero; the best possible, literally unimprovable, lesson, according to the latest theories. If the teacher wanted to do something to earn his money, he could write things on the board in phonetic alphabets. The students could stare at it uncomprehendingly, and wonder why the teacher was writing in Klingon.

Next time I see one of their inspectors in my class I am going to grab him by the lapels and throw him out with an angry roar. "Leave us alone, you corduroy-clad arsehole. Clear off out of it." But, as I say, inside the British Council I will be safe from them. Who shall inspect the inspectors?

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