A HATER'S GUIDE TO E.S.L. CLASSES IN, LIKE, ENGLAND OR WHEREVER
aka AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PERSON WHO WILL PAY THROUGH THEIR NOSE TO SPEND A WEEK STUDYING ENGLISH IN LONDON
Look, man, I get the appeal. I do. But really, what's the point? I see, you are forced to speak English because there's no one to speak Czech to. Oooh, you... that's it, right? Can't you just close the door to your room for a week and talk to yourself? What's the difference, really?
It's all virtue signaling. I know what's good for me and I'm willing to pay for it and you morons don't and aren't. That is why I'm in London, speaking to ACTUAL ENGLISH PEOPLE and you are stuck in your little dingy classroom surrounded by your fellow losers and none of you will ever go places, unlike me who just can't wait to post some photos of myself in a circle of ACTUAL ENGLISH PEOPLE who are definitely going to be my best buddies from now on and will elevate me to levels of social life you can't even dream of.
Let me rain on that smug little high-horse parade now. Who do you think actually teaches these classes? Lady Winthrop-Hershitdontstink, a cream-of-the crop member of the teaching profession plucked from Oxford after having intensively trained for this very occasion for the past two decades? Not unless you're willing to rob a bunch of banks to pay for a 15-minute session.
Chances are good you will be taught by Jimmy from Aberdeen. Jimmy hasn't had a job since he was fired from Burger King for taking bites out of chicken wings while serving them. He has been living in his parents' basement getting stoned on a daily basis and playing GTA with 14-year-old Russian kids.
His major qualifications for a teaching job are: a) he speaks English, or something close to it; b) he's really difficult to understand when he makes sense, which is hardly ever, and impossible to understand when stoned; and yes, that is a plus because it makes him appear really sophisticated; c) all he asks for is beer money.
Clearly Jimmy can't teach, but it doesn't matter because no one can really tell. Those that can tell play along and pretend like everything's hunky dory because who wants to get on the wrong side of these supremely cool Britons and look like a pathetic smartass from some shithole country in the East? Also, do you really want to tell your friends back home that you have basically been ripped off?
Seriously, what are you going to say when they ask, How was it? Did you learn a lot? Was it worth the money?
Will you be inclined to talk about Jimmy? (By now safely back in his parents' basement with all mentions of him scrubbed from the school's website.)
Or are you going to play it cool, saying something to the effect of, Yeah, really cool, mate, we did all these, like, phrasal verbs, you know, you really can't learn those unless you're, like, immersed in the culture, so yeah I learned like I think three of them and right now I can remember one, uh, it was, uh, give away or give out or something, and what it means is, like, when a dad, like, leads his daughter down the aisle at her wedding, so yeah, I totally don't regret shelling out a month's pay for this, no siree.
I'm pretty sure that, top-notch top-dollar classes aside, this is how the hiring process goes: Oh, your nephew Jimmy's been fired again? That's a shame. Hey, here's an idea: let's have him teach English here in our Cambridge International Business School.
Don't worry, these stupid foreigners can't tell a good teacher from a hole in the ground. It's like shooting fish in a barrel, man. All he has to do is drop his Ts and Rs and do that cool clipped stuttery speech that no one can follow and everyone is in total awe of.
Everything sounds great when said in a foreign language. The stupidest idea, the corniest pick-up line, the lamest joke, all of it suddenly sounds much more sophisticated, funny, feasible.
Look, we'll just hang an official-looking lanyard on Jimmy's neck, pin a badge to his shirt, give him a proper title like Associate Teaching Adjunct, and let him loose. He'll be fine. He'll just walk around the room asking everyone what they do for a living and what countries they have been to, nodding all the while and checking his account balance while they answer. By the time they figure out they are being duped, the money will be safely in our, I mean his, account. What are they gonna do, sue us?
Yes. Do that. Sue them. Sue those bastards.
Here's a little mind game. Suppose Czech is the lingua Franca of the world. It's the language everyone wants to learn, needs to learn, loves learning. People flock to Prague to drink in this amazing language from its very source. They post pictures of themselves siting in classrooms with ACTUAL CZECH PEOPLE, people who make, like, NO MISTAKES, like, EVER, and who, like, speak so effortlessly it makes your head spin.
Now suppose your best friend Lojza, a ne'er-do-well lazy-ass sad sack who hasn't worked a day in his life, decides to try out this job thing that he's been hearing so much about. Suppose his cousin hooks him up with a friend who runs a language school in Prague.
Suppose a whole bunch of gullible foreigners gather in a classroom in Prague, eager to hear the sweet sounds of their absolute favorite language. Imagine Lojza strolling into the room, greeting everyone by name, asking about everyone's travel plans, dropping smart-ass one-liners about wine, girls, football, Prague, what have you, and milking his Moravian accent for what it's worth.
Now, obviously, Lojza didn't bother to prepare. Why would he? He's Czech. That gives him enough of a cultural cachet to just wing it in class. The female students are immediately smitten. Their knees buckle under the weight of Lojza's sex appeal. Oh, doesn't he sound just like a prince? The males take notice and start laughing a little too hard to win Lojza's affection.
Lojza himself is having a blast. This is new to him. His friends back home won't listen to him as he hasn't had anything interesting to say since his pubic hair started coming in. This is the one place where he gets to let out all the stuff that's been sloshing around his head that no one really wants to hear.
These people do, believe it or not. They laugh at his jokes. They nod whenever he mentions "cultural differences." Their mouths hang open when he talks about the time he gave the finger to a local cop from behind a fence at 3 in the morning twelve years ago and almost got caught, he thinks.
The question is, will the students be able to tell how badly Lojza sucks as a teacher? Will someone get up the nerve to call him out on his basic incompetence? Or will they just keep their mouths shut, pay up and never come back? Would the school care if they never came back? Not really. Plenty more fish in the sea, right?
Lojza may be an embarrasment and he may be wasting everyone's time. But he's also commendably cheap and wholly replaceable.
PT Barnum put it best: There's a sucker born every minute.
Welcome on board, Lojza. I mean, Jimmy.