Pacifist Peas #ESOL

In my first ever post on this blog, I talked about how I teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). I mentioned a then-recent student who, when I would say “I’ve got an ear-ache”, would say it back to me as, “I vee be gooser you-near-eck”. ESOL teachers get this kind of random nonsense a lot; it’s our job, after all. But I got another one yesterday which will surely live long in the memory.

A student comes up to me after class and says, “Sir*, can you please tell us more about pacifist peas in the next class?”

“Pacifist peas?”
“Yes, pacifist peas”
“Erm… what?”
“Pacifist peas, Sir”
“What are pacifist peas?”
“Pacifist peas. Y’know… pacifist peas
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re saying. Can you say it again, please?”
“Pacifist peas”
“Pacifist peas?”
(nods) “Pacifist peas”
(incredulously) “You don’t know what pacifist peas are!? You’re a teacher!”
“I’m really sorry, but I think it’s the way you’re saying it. Can you say it more slowly?”
“Okay, Sir. Pacifist. Peas**”
“I’m really not getting this mate”
“Sir!? Verbs, nouns, prepositions…”

My brain starts ticking over.

“Ahh! Parts of speech!
“Yes! Pacifist peas”
“Say ‘speech'”
“Iss peas”

Cue a long heart-to-heart with me trying to reassure him that his English isn’t that bad and making mistakes is a vital part of the learning process. And look, look how many mistakes you’ve made; you’ll be fluent in no time(!)

So what does this tale tell us? Firstly, that teaching ESOL can be good banter. Secondly, that all language is context-dependent. In summary: I would definitely recommend a career in ESOL to anyone who has the following unique mix of traits: loves helping people, is up for a laugh, wants to travel the world, is fascinated by language and communication, profoundly enjoys poverty.

*I teach a lot of Asian guys, and they tend to be very deferential even when you act all cool-teacher and say, “Call me ‘Bry’!”. Their answer is, of course, “Okay, Sir”. The best I can get out of a lot of these guys is, “Mr Bryan”, which is always a laugh. Of course, you never force students to do anything they aren’t comfortable with. You tell them that in England it is normal for adult learners to address their teacher by their first name, but that whatever makes them happy will make me happy. Sage nod, “Yes, Sir”.

**Once you’ve read the punchline, the perceptive among you might think I’m lying. After all, he should surely have said, “Pasif. Iss-peas”, when he spoke slowly, but actually he kind of slurred so it really did sound like, “Pacifist …ehhhs… peas”. So that’s the third thing this tale tells us: BRYAN NEVER LIES! x-(

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Erm… “Hi”, I guess… (a.k.a. GIVE ME A WRITING JOB, NOW!!)

[this post contains explicit, sweary language]

Let’s get to the point: I’m a frustrated failing writer wannabe. A know-it-all letter published in The Simpsons Comic aged eleven regarding Homer Simpson’s weight, and a diatribe in The Metro which was so highly redacted that it made me look like an idiot, are the peak of my success thus far. I dream for the day when some sympathetic newspaper editor will either publish my drivellings and pay me for it, or else offer me a seven-figure cash settlement to never send him any of my deranged and borderline threatening ramblings ever again.

I am a highly versatile scribbler: screenplays, sitcoms, poetry, film reviews, articles, comedy sketches, songs; comedy, drama, horror, satire; academic or prole-ish. There is no genre or topic or register which I can’t splunk off over.

Also, I’m tired of teaching English to foreigners. I might just crack if I have to correct even a single further piece of mangled English. Recent pleasures have included ten minutes of saying “I’ve got an ear ache” only to have it “parroted” back at me as, “I vee be gooser you-near-eck”. Honestly. Apparently there’s “no such thing as bad students, only bad teachers”. Yeah, well FUCK YOU, Danny Norrington-Davies, try teaching English to Afghan tribesmen, you smug fuck!

So, read my stuff. Enjoy my stuff. Repost my stuff as if it were your own, and get a highly lucrative contract out of it. FOR THAT IS SOD’S HOLY LAW.

Disclaimer: This post contains an essential seed of truth wrapped up in a jocular fleshy fruitlike substance and should not in any way be construed as being a 100% accurate representation of the views or sentiments of Bryan Ashley James Parry or his non-existant associates and friends.

All resemblances to persons living or dead are entirely intentional but have been done in the best-hearted jolly-good-ribbing,-chap spirit of satirific fun and no offence is meant to be taken… however, as Jimmy Carr says, “Offence is taken, not given” and you HAVE NO RIGHT TO NOT BE OFFENDED. Grow a thicker skin, imaginary critics of mine!

(And Danny was actually a great teacher. I wish I could be like him… but with hair :’~( )

© 2013 Bryan Ashley James Parry