So, lately, I've been teaching a veritable ARMY of people English. I have about 44 teaching hours per week -- and don't ask me why, but one "teaching hour" means 45 minutes, so it's not quite as dramatic as it sounds, until you add in all the planning and traveling between lessons. The upshot is that I am really pretty worn out at the end of every day. I like it, though, and since my monkey has gone back to LA, I feel the need to keep myself busy.
I had a thought the other day, while I was talking to one of my students, that the reason I don't write much here lately is that my job of blabbering on and on for a living means that I no longer think, in interesting situations "oh, man! I'm SO gonna blog this!" because by the time I get around to that kind of thing, I've probably told whatever story about 20 times in the week, and everything's gotten used up in all the non-stop conversating that I am required to do in the service of my employment (and yes, I know "conversating" isn't a real word).
I guess could hold forth about my teaching experiences -- and since I am currently teaching every minute of my waking hours, I haven't got much else to report -- but I don't want to always be using my students as blog-fodder, it just seems wrong, and anyway, most of the ones I especially like know about my website, and I don't think that even those ones are on a need-to-know basis regarding all my thoughts about them, really.
So, with that in mind, here's what's of interest this week so far:
- Matt and I went out last night to see one of his students, who plays guitar and sings in a band, play some songs at a lovely little Literarni Kavarna. They played lots of bluesy/folksy numbers in Czech, and some English and American songs as well, including a very creepily jaunty "Delia's Gone", by Johnny Cash. Matt's student was deeply charming, and made brilliant rock faces while he played. We really enjoyed he and his partner's obvious joy in their music. I also loved the way English lyrics sounded in their Czech mouths. It was as if the words were less weighed down by the responsibility to mean, and more purely musical. I hope we'll have another chance to see him play -- it was lovely.
- Last night, on the anniversary of 9/11, while I was enjoying the aforementioned musical stylings, most of my students, it seems, were at home watching Fahrenheit 9/11 on Czech TV. Many of them hadn't seen it before, and reported that they'd had no idea our awesome president was as awesome as all that. Weirdly, I found myself trying to dial down their outrage by pointing out the fact that much of what's being presented there as a "documentary" is actually kind of unfortunately coercive demagoguery (yes, that is a word! I looked it up!), and even though I agree that the current U.S. administration is incompetent, shamelessly venal, morally revolting, war-mongering, and aiming its appeals squarely at the reptilian brains of people who don't want to think complicated thoughts or engage with any kind of otherness, I just couldn't let Fahrenheit 9/11 stand, uncontested, perpetrating similar sins. Strange day.
- One of my students told me, this morning, about how he first engaged the English language seriously when he reprogammed the computer game "Civilization" to speak to him in Czech after school with a friend. He told me it took them months, working everyday on it, and their English wasn't so good, so when they were finished it said things to them like "if you want something for build, go in wood and kill some trees," and "in the beginning, there was nothing, and then appeared PETR!" He also told me that the Czech equivalent of the English idiom "barking up the wrong tree" is "crying on the wrong grave." Awesome. He rules.
Plus, this is a guy I saw on TV not long ago. He's a leader of the Czech Communist Party, and I thought you all might enjoy his SPECTACULAR MULLET.