Tuesday, October 03, 2006

English Teacher X's Advice Column

I don't really get that many emails; the odd seasoned veteran offering his seal of approval for the site, occasionally, but more often a newbie asking for advice. I got the following email in August:

* * *

Hello X

long time reader first time caller...

Just wanted to say you insired me for a
mediocre life to wanna teach in Moscow!

My friend equally took inspiration, but his
spin on the colour wheel put both feet in Kiev.


if you wanna laugh at an amateur!

I arrive in 2 weeks... wish me luck!
I will email you if I need any age advice
and please comment on my site some time!

(signed, new fish)

* * *

I offered some vague congratulations, and I think maybe my usual warning that however bad he thought it was going to be, it would likely be worse, and then got the following in the middle of September

* * *

so here I am in Moscow....

it is different than I expect and also what I excpetd
- the russian paradox.

I am getting into teaching but I think now that I am here
I understand you that little bit better...

tell me your ideas and opinions of private students - what would you charge in dollars and roubles nadn in what situations.

Tell me a little about your experiences...

English Teacher Newbie

* * *

I wrote back and told him some reasonable prices to charge (and under what circumstances.)

I got this email yesterday:

* * *

Yo X

What is the go with the weirdass back to front
indirect way that things are done in achools??!
I swear that drunk off her head - my grandmother
could organise a better shopping list thatn these
twits can organise a business...

I used to read your blog and laugh and enjoy the ho\umour -
but it aint funny when it is in my face on a daily basis
and I can't do shit about it.

... and women - faark they are odd here. you speak very plainly
and directly and they still don't get it, half of em cant get
outta their own way and the other half dunno what the way is...

suffice it to say (I) put on some bold moves on the weekend and
was frustrated badly by the target.

Please send me some age wisdom, or an ak47 please....

I think you said it or i read it somewhere - the first stage is
wonderment of all that is going on in a new contry, the second is
acceoptance and anger - at the way things work, the third is acceptance....

I am hangin for the third man - geez I am farkin angry and frustrased!

Advice please!

* * *

Didn't have much advice to give him, except some sort of Zen claptrap about "rid yourself of all expectations and hope, and you will probably be pleasantly surprised." And failing that, I suggested he get a hooker.


Anonymous said...

so you're the one who suggested a hooker?! lol! this sounds just like my good ol' e-mail friend . . .I hope he has . . . um . . . had some release . . . lol.


Matt said...

You might also have suggested that he work on his grammar and spelling since he is going to teach English to others.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"You might also have suggested that he work on his grammar and spelling since he is going to teach English to others."

Like that matters.

Jason said...

No shit! I always tell my students here in Germany that it is more important to be interesting than grammatically correct!