Friday, November 26, 2010

The day before

The blissful silence of a class doing an examination – or at least as near to silence as a group of Spanish pupils get! They ask the most amazingly nit picking questions of the examination itself and are always driven by an almost overwhelming sense of injustice about what they don’t know.

It is not unusual to hear pupils say to a teacher when they have been told that something is wrong and have therefore been denied the mark, “But, I studied!” as if the mere effort of “learning” should be its own reward no matter the accuracy of that learning!

In English teaching you sometimes have to say that the sentence is wrong because it simply isn’t English. Sometimes the work that we are given by weaker pupils looks as though it has been composed by throwing fridge magnet words at the fridge and then writing down the results.

Although English is a remarkably flexible language in many ways or In many ways English is a remarkable flexible language or Remarkably flexible in many ways is English or English, a remarkably flexible language in many ways and so on, the kids manage to find a combination which even I cannot make work – even going back to the structures and spelling in the time of Chaucer!

As some lessons start at 8.15 am the school has a “breakfast” at 10.45 am when the students are given a baguette of some sort. The staff too are given a baguette which I usually ignore but today the offering was a pizza which was delicious. Unfortunately I also have a library duty which meant that I had to rush the savouring of the delicacy – but at least the taste remains!

I am now about to start a whole sequence of lessons which will take me to lunchtime. Then one lesson after lunch and a well deserved escape to complete the packing for my trip. I am relying on there being a decent branch of Tesco in High Wickham to stock my wardrobe with cut price clothing which seems to be in short supply in Catalonia.

Revisiting a store like Tesco makes one realize how far short the other supermarkets in Catalonia fall short of what we Brits have come to expect from a one-stop store. Catalonia has a whole selection of massive supermarket chains but they do not seem to me to have the same emphasis on quality and range that one expects from Tesco, especially.

The tragedy is that I have one piece of luggage and that is always smaller than one expects when it comes to buying things that you can’t get here, or which are far more expensive than an “own brand” equivalent.

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