Saturday, April 04, 2009

The days ahead

The thing to remember is that I do not have a fortnight.

After ‘x’ number of years (where ‘x’ tends towards lots) where the Easter holiday was a full two weeks it is going to be hard to adjust to the fact that this so-called ‘holiday’ is only one week two days long! And, apparently I should be grateful about this as we are going back one day later than the general lot of teachers elsewhere!

I should, perhaps, not play the ‘hard-done-by’ card too enthusiastically as our term does end in June rather than July and we do have two full months of holiday – or in my case a possibly unlimited holiday!

My school still has said nothing about any extension to my contract, but has said that I will know after Easter. Perhaps that should have been written as ‘after Easter’ to give a true flavour of how unspecific it all is.

Dangerously I feel a part of the school. I am accepted as a part of the institution by teachers and students alike; sometimes to a disconcerting degree. I am producing material which is welcomed with alacrity and I am assumed to have a professional knowledge commensurate with my experience. Approaches and techniques which are second nature to an English teacher in a British comprehensive school are not so common in an institution which is dedicated to the teaching of English as a foreign language. Therefore the facile production of a list of ideas which takes me a few minutes is greeted by my colleagues as little short of miraculous.

Alas! I know from personal experience that ‘gratitude’ in educational terms is time limited and contingency specific. In other words recollection is short and then the juggernaut of the timetable washes away the remembrance of short term fixes and expedient competence becomes a half recalled, mostly forgotten vague gratitude.

I am prepared, of course, to rewrite all of the above if the school does the decent thing!

The preceding screed was actually written on Friday, but I was too late to put it on the blog page before the time had switched to Saturday.

This is actually Saturday – and the weather has at last relented and made itself amenable to my lying on the balcony listening to Radio 4 on the headphones. Bliss!

I have started reading some fairly decent short stories connected with crime on the flimsy pretext that they could be useful for some or all of my classes. My eBook reader is fully charged and waiting for me to choose to wallow in yet another rubbishy book by some low out of copyright writer.

I could of course, just as easily wallow in some of the greatest literature that has ever been produced in English that is out of copyright as well and which has been carefully been put out on the web by the good folk in Project Gutenberg – but, hey, I’m on holiday and if I want to do a bit of literary slumming then I think that I have earned it!

I have just made myself some chicken curry with left-over meat and a tin of Homepride cook-in sauce. The tin of curry sauce was snatched from the shelf of the local Carrefour where there was a little Union Flag next to the price indicating that it was a British speciality. In the event, though palatable it was a little bland for my taste and seemed more in keeping with the demands of Spanish taste rather than the spicier expectations that I had. I fear I will have to wait until I return to the Old Country before I relish a ‘real’ Indian. The discovery of an Indian restaurant near the Liceu turned out to be poor value for money and a true disappointment in terms of taste, so I am still looking for an ‘authentic’ Indian restaurant in Barcelona.

The car sort of been booked in for its first major service. My visit to the dealership merely unearthed a startled looking mechanic who, wild eyed with horror at my relentless Spanish retreated to a computer screen and told me that Monday looked OK and I was to come around on spec at the crack of dawn on Monday. We’ll see!

Now back to books to start my traditional holiday feast of literature after the fast of working days filled with school trivia and tiredness.

The quality stories are almost finished. How low shall I go into the murky undergrowth of forgotten novels of the early twentieth century?

Wait and see!
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