Sunday, January 18, 2009

Built Like a British Council Bulldog [again]

Well, it's been a busy old week for me, what with all the kerfuffle going on at this blog. Oh, I do enjoy a scrap, I do! Anyway, so I make no excuses for offloading one from the old TeflTrade archives on you again. This offering, by the way, is one of my personal favourites, and one of yours too, judging by some of the comments added. You are more than welcome, of course, to add to the pile of bile by clicking on the 'Comments' button.

Just to get myself back into the habit of throwing abuse at deserving TEFL causes, I've decided to resurrect one of my favourite postings from the sadly defunct TeflTrade (RIP) archives. I do hope you enjoy reading this one - I certainly had a lot of fun writing it!

Built like a British Council Bulldog

I mentioned in an earlier posting that I had once worked for the British Council. That wasn't entirely accurate, though, as in fact I've worked for them twice, in quite different parts of the world. There was, however, one constant factor in all this, and that was the fact that in both cases my immediate boss was a woman - a real, larger-than-life, British Council woman (or bulldog, if you prefer).

Now, I'm no misogynist, but I am now entirely sure that BC woman represents a specific sub-species of humanity. Probably bred in some obscure village on the East coast of Britain, where the winds howl and prowl menacingly, and the temperature never rises much above 10centigrade, they dedicate themselves from an early age to the twin tasks of promoting themselves abroad at the BC's expense, and hounding young EFL teachers off to an early departure from their chosen post of foreign residence.

They come in one size only, which is large, although extra large is an option I have heard of, but never actually witnessed myself. As for character, sweet is not an available option either. They tend to be grim, with the sense of humour obviously removed at an early age, all in order to facilitate their main task of pushing teachers about and generally getting on everybody's wick.

Their character is often reflected in their facial features, as large bloodshot eyes (all the better to see you with, my dear) stare out of pudgy, sweaty faces, and a mouth the size of an elephant's arse spits saliva at you over wonky yellow teeth (all the better to ...) - teeth that even the most determined of NHS dentists would balk at fixing.

On occasions you might just about notice the lips adorned with a smidgeon of red stuff. This is either lipstick, which has been applied in a half-hearted attempt to remind herself that she is a female, after all; or red wine, for which she may well have a secret passion that none would dare to accuse her of. Yes, alcohol and BC woman often appear together in the least likely of places - but then again, hush now, my child (rumours, mere rumours)...

We should, however, feel more than a touch of empathy for poor BC woman, who has quite probably been very unlucky where romance has been concerned. Due to this absence of affection and tenderness, which is in all probability a matter of fate, and in no way related to her monstrous appearance and character, she has developed a hide to match that of an aged rhinoceros. So never, ever, even consider contradicting her - to do so could well place your life in jeopardy.

She has also developed, owing to a lack of maternal direction and impulses, an ambition that far exceeds her grasp and ability. Not for her the patter of tiny feet, but more the scurrying of adult trotters, as wave after wave of predictably (if not predictable) male EFL teachers rushes to avoid her presence. Remember, she measures her success in the number of male hides she can stack under her ample desk.

For it is only in her presence, especially on a Friday morning, that you will see and feel the full force of her ambitions and frustrations thrust upon you. The BC bulldog cometh! Woof-woof! Gnaw-gnash! Flee-e-e-ee...!!

Just think - if Genghis Khan had possessed a battalion of these gals, he would have reached the west coast of Ireland in no time at all.

First Published: Saturday, 17 September 2005

A Selection of Comments made on the original posting...

A visitor' left this comment on 21 Sep 05
I worked for the BC for 9 years and I am not a weirdo :) In my humble opinion, BC bosses come in 4 varieties: 1: a bunch of East End barrow-boys, ruthless and cruel, with a proven knack of "flogging courses". Can be heard in meetings with external clients saying "I've got a lav-ley English course for you mate, I can throw in a couple of free course books and SAC access for the same price, innit?". This variety comes in the male version, and the fat BC woman version. Recruitment states that they must speak with SE London accents.2: Gay. Camp queen of BC teaching centre, also incredibly ruthless, and spends most of the time in the office slagging off teachers for being ugly, straight, and/or useless.3: Thin female vamp type. Can't manage but shagged someone at Spring Gardens.4: Straight male, nice person. Usually resigns after a couple of postings as they always get posted to Saudi.

'A visitor' left this comment on 18 Sep 05
The guy who was in charge at the BC in Recife was just like you described (but a guy!). Then he moved on and a friend of mine took over, she was OK actually, but then she started to get the urge to wear tweed, and sensible shoes and...well, she left the BC and the last I heard she was back to her old self living it up in Spain. All the teachers I've ever met that work for the BC are really weird, insular and frightened beasties who rarely venture forth from the BC premises. When they do scuttle from the school to their digs it's always in a pack and they beat off the locals with big sticks. Thank God I never worked for them.

'A visitor' left this comment on 18 Sep 05
Spookily accurate, Sandy. Makes me shiver.

'A visitor' left this comment on 18 Sep 05

I know that woman! It really is the BC woman. I was once co-ordinated by one in a small Eastern European country. She used to tell me that she lived the life of a monk. (Trying not to touch her willy?) BC woman takes these contracts to add to her experience for later on, even as she's getting old. I wonder where BC women go to retire, or do they just keep working until the bitter end, in their tweed uniform from M&S? There's another type of TEFL career woman who's almost identical to BC woman, except she doesn't work for BC. She can be a mean bitch: "Well, I didn't have a fridge for the two years I lived in Ulan Baator, so I don't know why you're complaining about yours being broken - you can live without it." Or: "I see you have a ten-minute gap in your timetable for today (from 9 til 10), so I want you to help me with something ." I feel an ill chill even remembering the type.


Anonymous said...

Well, I do remember there was one right little BC slapper in Kazakhstan who had a great time there, shagging her students and then blogging about it. I wonder what happened to her?

Alex Case said...

Is it that time of year again? Like the first snowdrops appearing though the winter snow, comes Sandy's BC Bulldog post, up for the third time...

Is a classic though. As Homer Simpson likes to say, "It's funny because it's true!"

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Ooh, you're a hard man to please, Mr Case. Anyway, if I can't recycle my own stuff, who can? You're too picky - you only nicked the good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha very good indeed. I knew someone like that. MS (surprise surprise)Lisa Cairns was exactly as you describe. No kids, short, fat, no ability and a real pain in the ass to teachers - always bursting into class with some inanity. Unemployed on the East Coast last time I heard

The TEFL Tradesman said...

My God, I do believe I know that 'person'! The name certainly rings a bell - American, worked for BC in Moscow?

No, no, ... tell me I'm wrong - pleeeeez!!

Anonymous said...

No she worked in summer schools in England. Living in Kent I think (UK)

Friends of Sandy M. said...

Oh, you mean the one who used to be DOS at the East London School of English? I think we have a file on her...