Adventures in TELF
by John Coan
There were ten sat in front of me. I could see they were eager, but were they able? And how would I cope with teaching this disparate groups of adult students, flung together from all corners of the globe. There were ten sat in front of me, my goal was to ensure there were still ten sat in front of me at the end of the course. We were going to go on quite a ride together. It's not all nounsverbsadjective in TEFL, it's about building a new culture together. So there they were: macho Italian chef Giovanni Cupello, nymphomaniac French au pair Danielle Favre, humourless German au pair Anna Schmidt, Spanish bartender Juan Cervantes, Greek shipping company employee Maximillian Papandrious, Indian housewife Jameela Ranjha, Indian Sikh Ranjeet Singh, who works for the London Underground, sporadically employed Pakistani Muslim Ali Nadim, Chinese embassy secretary Chung Su-Lee and Japanese electronics executive Taro Nagazumi.
I remember the first day well. It's common to use a different name as a teacher, to help pronunciation and learning, so I'd decided to call myself John Brown. "Good morning, everyone, I am Mr Brown," I said, confidently, chalk in hand. "No, no, no, sir," interjected Ali, "You are not being Mr Brown. I am being Mr Brown. You are being Mr White."
It was going to be a long year.