Thursday, September 30, 2004

The lost class

Yesterday was Bosswoman's first day back after her three week-holiday. She and I both teach on the second floor on Wednesday evenings, and we usually walk up the stairs together and chat along the way, as we did last night. Her classroom is two doors past mine, so I said goodbye to her and went in. The heater had been turned up full blast, so I turned it down, opened the window and left the door open to cool the room down a bit. Five minutes later, I saw BW go past my classroom and heard her go down the stairs. Nothing too unusual. Sometimes teachers forget things.

A few minutes later, I saw her walk past the classroom on her way back to her classroom, curiously with no additional materials. About a minute later I saw her head back towards the stairs and said, 'Are you lost'? She poked her head in the classroom and said, 'While I was on holiday, the substitute moved my class to a different room. I went to that classroom to see if my students were there, and they weren't, so I came back to see if they were here, and they aren't. So, I'm going to search for them.'

Ten minutes after that, I saw students walking by my classroom followed by BW, who was smiling and pointing at them as if to say, 'I've found them!'

I'm glad things like this don't only happen to me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


I'm totally swamped with work this week.

In addition to all of my regular classes, I also have to teach two days of an intensive course (four hours each day) and three two-hour classes for Fun Colleague who's on holiday someplace warm and sunny (I'm not sure where, but most of her holidays are to warm and sunny places). Next week will be even worse, as I'll be teaching the intensive course three times and FC will still be on holiday.

If anyone needs me, I'll be buried under the pile of textbooks.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Travelling again

Off I go to a different part of the-county-that-won't-be-named.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Decisions decisions

Our schedule for next week went up yesterday evening, and I noticed that I'm scheduled to work at 8h30 next Friday. However, I seem to be the only one who has noticed that I'm also scheduled to teach a class 7h30 - 9h.

Should I tell them about the overlap, or should I not tell them about it and see what they do next Friday?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Can't think of a title for this one

Late Monday evening, I received a text message from a good friend in the Midlands. I had just seen her when when I visited London last weekend, and she surprised me (on Saturday) by telling me she was three months pregnant (no, it was not my baby). At first, I was unsure of what to think. H is a career minded, very independent woman and she's the last person any of her friends thought would ever have kids.

However, she seemed to be adjusting to her new situation quite well. She stopped drinking the minute she found out she was expecting, she bought a book called 'What to expect when you're expecting' and read up on what was going on, she changed her diet to what was recommended, cut down on smoking (she only had one after meals as opposed to smoking like a chimney before), etc.

We spent most of the weekend talking about what it was going to be like for her when she was a mom and also trying to pick out baby names. She wasn't sure if it was going to be a boy or girl, so she called it 'Junior'. I noticed that when she walked, she held her hands on her belly like she was protecting it from something. She had already arranged for a child minder and had talked about other things that she'd have to, but was willing to, chage in her life. All in all, she was very excited and happy about this. That was Sunday. Everything changed on Monday.

She had an appointment yesterday with her gynecologist and was told that she had lost the baby, but hadn't miscarried yet. I instantly called her to show her my support. She played it up like she was okay with losing the baby, but I know that she's probably not - she just didn't want to worry me. Knowing how happy she was about being a mom, she probably went home and cried her eyes out.

H probably won't get pregnant again. Her first time was accidental, but not unwanted. It was a mistake that she had made and was prepared to live with, literally for the rest of her life.I thought she'd be a great mom and the kid would grow up in a wonderful enviornment.

I am sad about this too. H lives in England, but is not English. She has a few, but not a lot of, good friends and I'm pretty sure that there's a quite a bit of emptiness in her life (that her dog can't fulfill). I thought that being a mom would change all that for her, now we'll never know.

Yesterday, in an effort to gain more information, I SMSed her best friend. He responded by telling me that he hadn't talked to her since Monday and that he was at a funeral in Scotland.

When it rains, it pours.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Quack Quack

I've just discovered that I've been added to Scaryduck's blogroll. I'm a long time lurker and a big fan of his, so this is a big honour for me. Cheers, Mr Duck, I've repaid the favour.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Weekend break observations

I had a great time in London, as always, and have safely returned to the country-that-won't-be-named. Here are a few observations for you:

1. Budget airlines are a good thing.

2. Pub means can be quite satisfying.

3. Routemasters should not be replaced by bendibusses.

4. It seems rather odd to warn drivers about speed cameras.

5. People who talk on their mobile phones the entire bus ride from the airport to Victoria Station are more than annoying.

6. It's very expensive for a person who doesn't live in an English speaking country to visit Borders and/or Waterstones.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


Off to London I go for the second part of my bi-annual visit.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Anonymous Work Blogs Blogring

I've just set up a blogring for those of us who blog about work anonymously. Click here for more info. I know the site is very basic, but it's all I had time for right now. It'll improve with time.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Do you speak English?

I was in the office doing some administrative tasks yesterday when a couple in their 20s walked in and approached Young Secretary's desk. The man started speaking to YS in the language of the-country-that-won't-be-named about lessons for his girlfriend in that language (our school teaches several languages). Of course, YS responded to him in that language (her native language) and then the man translated that info into English for his girlfriend. YS continued on in the language of the-country-that-won't-be-named and I said, 'YS, switch to English.' She gave me a cold glare and then switched to English.

This has happened on more than one occasion in our office. Both Old Secretary and YS speak English very well (YS has been mistaken for a native speaker (by native speakers) on more than one occasion). Common sense says that if three people are speaking together and one doesn't speak the language of the other two, but all three speak English, one would switch to the language they all have in common so that they could all participate in the conversation.

Common sense is definitely lacking where I work.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A conversation with Bossman yesterday:

BM: You're going to have to start working on Saturdays again.
MrT: Why?
BM: New Girl and Pompous Ponce already are, so I need you now.
MrT: I don't want to.
BM: You have to.
MrT: I really don't want to.
BM: You're doing it.
MrT: Okay, starting when?
BM: This Saturday.
MrT: Right. When do you want the list of weekends I've already booked tickets out of town?
BM: What?
MrT: You don't actually think I've been sitting waiting for you to make me work on Saturdays again, do you?
BM: I guess not. Email the list to me.
MrT: Okay, but perhaps I should tell you now that the first weekend is this weekend?
BM: Oh. .

Monday, September 13, 2004

Helpful tip #28

If you get into the shower with your glasses on, they might get wet. Not that that's ever happened to me, of course (especially not at 6h30 this morning).

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Political Compass

In case you were wondering, my political compass results:
Economic Left/Right: -5.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.18
put me at about the same place on the chart as Neslon Mandela. Perhaps I'm doing something right?

Where do your results put you?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three years on

Three years ago, at about this time, I turned the channel to CNN and saw smoke coming from buildings. Thinking they had changed the channel number on which CNN broadcast, I turned up the sound to hear what was happening in the movie in front of me. It was only then that I realised it wasn't a movie and I actually was watching CNN. A city I loved and had visited many times was under attack. It got worse as the attacks spread to the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. I took detailed notes that still exist on a different website.

I spent the next few days glued to the TV trying to get all the information I could. I was relieved to hear that a couple of good friends who lived in NYC were safe and unhurt.

The memories of what I witnessed (via TV) on 11 September 2001 have not even begun to fade. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Santorini Photos online

My Santorini photos are now online. Here is a sample of what you'll see.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Gmail anyone?

I have six Gmail invitations. Who wants one? Leave your email addy in your comment and I'll send them tomorrow.

Control freak?

We frequently have to teach one-to-one four-hour intensive lessons at our school. New Asshole has had to teach a few lately and has been quite unhappy about it. He came into the office while I was talking to Old Secretary yesterday and expressed his dissatisfaction. He also told us what he was going to do about it. Here's how the conversation went:

New Asshole: I've had it with these long one-to-one classes.
MrT: They're a fact of life around here. We get them all the time and they'll continue to come in no matter what you think.
NA: Well, I'm not going to teach four hour one-to-ones anymore. Only two hour ones.
MrT: We all have to do it. That's not going to change just because you want it to.
NA: I'm not. I'm going to put my foot down about it.
OS: What do you mean?
NA: I'm going to tell Bossman that I won't do them anymore and if he doesn't do what I want, I'm going to walk out and go back to England.
OS and I tried to hold back our laughter as we looked at each other in disbelief while he was leaving the room.

No wonder why he's worked for seven schools in his five years of teaching.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A Hads moment

I've had a bit of a Hads moment today. I made a post at 7h, but it never showed up. It was on my Blogger list as a post that had been made, but never actually appeared on the blog despite my republishing the entire thing (as a last attempt). So, I've just deleted it and will try it again in the morning once I'm sure this thing works.

Has anyone else had problems with Blogger today?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Advice required

A July 2004 graduate of the school I currently work for, and former student of mine, was hired for the summer (July & August) as a temporary full time teacher of the language of the country-that-won't-be-named. She did a brilliant job and now substitutes when her schedule permits it. She'll be substituting this Friday for the teacher who that teaches the language class I currently take (to improve my skills in the language of this country), which is why I'm making this post. I'm considering skipping class that day (I started the course after she left, so she doesn't know I'm in it).


We get on very well, but I feel that it might be a bit awkward for her. Not only was I her teacher for two years, but I was also her mentor when she worked here. Yes, we taught different languages, but I mainly helped her with classroom management advice, strategies and things of that nature. I feel that she might think that I'd be there to evaluate her and would be spying for Bossman (I wouldn't).

What do you think? Should I go to class that day or skip it?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The 7th floor

I teach several in-company classes at one of the largest companies in my city, and my Thursday class consists of three very nice ladies.

Last Thursday at 16h, the fire alarm started going off. After security confirmed (via the tannoy) that it was a test, we continued on with the lesson. However, they were also testing building evacuation procedures (but not evacuating anybody), so the bloody alarm kept going off every two minutes followed by instructions on what to do, making teaching/learning impossible.

At 16h05, one of the ladies said, 'I'll take care of this,' excused herself, got up and left the room. She came back in two minutes later, said 'Problem solved,' and we continued on with the lesson.

At the end of the lesson, I found out that she had called down to security and told them to do the test later. Apparently, all calls from the 7th (top) floor are to be obeyed immediately. By everybody.

Teaching the CEO's executive secretary is a good thing.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Update on my new colleagues

New Girl is lovely. She's from one of the Scottish Isles and has the accent to match (she's just about mastered saying her name without rolling her r's). She's very polite, fun and respectful. She can stay forever as far as I'm concerned.

New Asshole is annoying as heck. He's from the Winchester area and is the same age as me, but when I first saw him I said to myself, 'Who's that old man'? His hair is competely grey and he looks about 45 or so. He's quite sarcastic and thinks that you're jumping down his throat whenever you say anything. He got bent out of shape yesterday when I asked him if he had a coursebook I needed and yelled at me for accusing him of taking it (which I hadn't). I hope he's not around for long.