My attempts to learn the Bosche continue. i regret that my lessons in Ultima Thule must soon end. The tutor, Till, is a typically maverick great teacher – early 40s, an ex-punk, he owns a seedy bar where “junkies go to die” (according to the rock star teacher), and plays bass in a seedy junkie band. His demeanour is perfectly professional but any HR shithead would take one look at his CV and reject him. i imagine he would fare badly at minimum wage data entry, the only kind of office work men like me or him could get. By the same logic he is a superb teacher. After our last class we went for a walk in the local park and i thanked him for opening a door for me thus: “you do it for money, and i pay you, but there is a human element that you can’t explain away by money. You can’t really buy it. And you need it to learn a language”. In a sense, a good teacher is akin to a good whore – the payment doesn’t cover the entirety of the exchange. And for languages as for sex, gods are involved. Teaching English is different to teaching a science, or history, or literature – you don’t need to know about much outside of your mind – it is, in a certain sense, more akin to teaching philosophy. You must know how to teach, e.g., the Present Perfect or the Unreal Conditional, but you already use the grammar, you just need to know how to present it to another; that is difficult indeed, but does not require external reference, authority. The substance will come from the students.

i don’t think i’d want to teach for more than another five years, and i’d prefer it if i didn’t have to teach 10 hours a day to pay the bills; but it is the only job i can do, the only job for which i am suited.

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