Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eddie Yates' Second Career

Things are extremely busy here at the Sandy McManus ranch, and for a whole range of rip-roaring reasons - 50th birthday preparations, getting the cat neutered, preparing the first draft of my Tefl novel - so I make no apologies for recycling one of my favourite postings from about five years ago. For those unfortunate youngsters out there who have no idea who the inimitable Eddie Yates ever was, I refer you to google - and the picture alongside.


I had a bit of an 'incident' with one of the other teachers a few days back. Well, more like a couple of weeks ago, actually, but I've been brooding on it, I suppose. Anyway, it goes a bit like this.

I was asked to cover an afternoon class for a fellow Tefler who had to visit the dentist, and seeing as it would mean a few extra quid in the kitty, I was happy to oblige. A few minutes before the class is due to start, my 'colleague' thrusts a tatty old copy of Hardway Intermediate into my hands, telling me to start unit so-and-so on page whatever. When I ask him for the register, he claims he's lost it.

So, I trundle up to the classroom, start getting to know the students, and we get going. It's a very nice class, quite small and rather chatty, mostly Latin types, including a handful of rather attractive South American girls. We spend a fair deal of time just talking at first, then move on to the prescribed unit, kicking off with a bit of vocabulary to pre-teach, before a reading exercise.

Then I do my usual trick of asking the students to write half a dozen questions about the text. This usually shows that the students still have problems forming the correct structures for making questions in English - either no auxiliary verb, it's in the wrong place, or they put one in when it's not needed.

Cutting a rather long and none-too-exciting story short here, we spend a good deal of time on this, as the students clearly need further instruction and practice on it, and we obviously fail to cover all the work requested by my partner-in-crime. So, having assured myself that they understand at least the concept of the present perfect simple tense (not too difficult for speakers of Latin languages, I feel) I ask them to look at the relevant grammar section at the back of the book, and see if they can get their heads round that grammatical colossus, the present perfect continuous tense. Nothing too heavy, just sort of 'take a look and see what you think'. Then it's the end of class, and we all part on good terms. Money for old rope, really.

Next day, my partner is not a happy chappie. He storms into the staff room after lunch, waving his half-finished rollie cigarette around and accusing me of having deliberately scuppered his finely-tuned lesson plan. "How can they cope alone with the present perfect continuous" he bellows "when they're only Intermediate level?"

Sitting behind a table (actually, it's the only table in our putrid squat-like staffroom), I gaze up at him, and take him in. Dressed like a dustman, with a grubby green t-shirt, baggy black trousers and a tatty flak-jacket on, he looked just like a middle-aged glue-sniffer. It was at this moment that I automatically dubbed him 'Eddie Yates'.

For those of you who don't know, Eddie Yates was a character in Coronation Street back in the 1970s, maybe 1980s too, back when the programme contained a good deal of subtle and sympathetic humour, rather than the current obsession with spite. Eddie worked as a binman, and was a lodger with Stan Ogden, the local window cleaner, and his long-suffering wife Hilda. Together, the three of them made up some of the most humorous working class zeros you could imagine.

Eddie, of course, was as idle as shit and dressed like a tramp; Stan was little better, and boasted a beer-gut the size of a small town. His wife Hilda became a well-loved legend, with her curlers, headscarf, and fag clinging to the corner of her mouth, not to mention that irritating, nagging, Lancashire accent.

So, Eddie it had to be. Not for the humour, mind, but for the attire and the idleness. Of course, I realised that the source of his ire was that he'd hoped I would teach his charges all about the present perfect continuous, thus relieving him of the onerous task. But I hadn't (you see, I focused on the students' needs - teach the students, not the materials, kidder!), and he'd wandered into the class, probably still half under the influence of the dentist's anaesthetic, and found himself in deepest do-do territory.

"It's called discovery learning" I shouted at him as he scuttled out of the staff room, in preparation for another rollie outside at the staff cancer table. Ten minutes later he wandered back in. "It's OK now" he gasped, "I've calmed down". As if that made everything all right.

There then followed a brief discussion, in which I tried to outline some of the principles, as best I could recall, of the idea of 'discovery learning'. Lovingly referred to in some quarters as 'fuck-off-and-find-out', it does actually have some pedagogical pedigree about it.

But Eddie was having none of it. His ignorance was obviously greater then my illumination. "But they're only Intermediates" he kept chuffing, like a steam train stuck on a loop line.

You see, that's what I really love about this job - working with such enlightened and professional people. Dress like a slob, speak like a slob, and think like one too.

Eddie Yates, welcome to your second career!


Kapitano said...

I think I feel an aphorism coming on. Something like: Those who can't teach students, teach materials.

Or: Those who can't learn, can't teach.

Or: Teachers who don't listen to teachers don't listen to students either.

Perhaps your colleague thought there really are discreet levels of English competence.

Anonymous said...

And those who neither TEACH nor LEARN content themselves with foul SLANDER, disguising the banality of their existence with the vinaigrette of SPITE. HOW SAD.

A teacher said...

I am just a tefl teacher, with no connection to Windsor English or MR Paul Lowe. I know nothing of him other than the ripostes and rejoinders he posts on sites such as this. It seems to me - a simple teacher - that he is an astute and witty man, no doubt admired by his staff and the toast of his neighbourhood. I also followed him on Twitter and found his Tweets frothy and amusing - rapier-like - not at all the pervy drivel SOME have depicted in retrospect. It is said he has the 'MARK OF GENIUS' upon him, and speaking as an honest tefler with NO CONNECTION, I can well believe this and I WISH that certain PERSONS woulkd DESIST in their attacks upon him which are SPITEFUL and undeserved AND WILL BE MET WITH UTTER OBLITERATION just as soon as he sells his autobiography A DEAL which is close to COMPLETION apparently although I have no connection at all to the man (or is he a god??) (!) or his multinational corporation.

Anonymous said...

Obviously his staff admire him and blossom under his brilliant leadership, but there is a degree of jealousy or resentment among some of the female teachers, who understand that attractive students come first, but would relish the chance to fellate him too.

Anonymous said...


The TEFL Tradesman said...

Hey, look guys - can we keep things in perspective here? I mean, I write a posting about the Eddie Yates character, and all this Paul Lowe stuff starts creeping out. Jeezuz!

Can we confine the PL comments to his blog? The Berkshire Bully has his very own website here:

May Gawd bless 'er an' all who sink in 'er . . . .

Vicki Hollett said...

Gosh, I love this blog and all the insane people who post comments here. (Does that mean I'm insane too?)

William Fliderickson said...

Paul Lowe is 'witty,'is he? Ermmm,to be honest, i would just consider him to be SHITTY!

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Ah, Vicky - as the old saying goes, "you don't have to be mad to post here, but it helps". Or something like that.

Actually a whiff of sanity would not be a bad thing here right now, but I guess I'm asking for too much. So, just wheel out the loonies, and let the show ROLL on!!

Anonymous said...

Hideous bugbear of spite and SPLEEN betraying merely your own INADEQUACY
HA HA made more friends ave we ave we
ave maria
ava gardener? No thanks just ad one
awe shucks
some shock and awe
atomic weapons establishment
That is a klaxon you fuckwit
Broadmoor siren again today
no not me please
be 4 am soon
be careful
can't touch you for it
lawful wedded

oh fuck

Seeker of SHITE said...

OUTDIMMYWITTED again by the EFFULGENT BEAM eh laddddzzzzzzzz!
I have the LONGEST defuckation in CASTLE-TOWN. Outside the railway station.On the PAVEMENT.
After two bottles of Lidl's white cider.
I made an old lady SCREAM and FAINT.
At my LONG deFUCKation
I will APPEAR outside CASTLE-TOWN library and show small boys my ARCHITRAVE.
It will become ERECT
LOOK at GOOGLE CACHE for more effulgent KNOWLEDGE
SUCCESS is when you cross the FINISHING LINE in a taxi and you are given a bunch of flowers. Like GARY GLITTER ROMAN POLANSKI BILL WYMAN AND JONATHAN KING I am FAMOUS
PUBLISHERS are going to give me MOOLAH for my memoirs
A homophone is that not??????
My EFFULGENT BEAM is well known at the local playgroup-in the bushes near the sandpit
Beat THAT dimmysaddowits in your bedsits
Gerry SADOWITZ is not as TALENTED a satirist as I
I've spent my Giro. When does the pawnbrokers' open? Can I use my child porn collection as collateral for a loan? I need LIDL's white cider!Or that FROSTY JACKS wot wot wot yoo can clean TOILET ENAMEL with while yoo is a-aving of yoor bread an dripping

Anonymous said...

This time last year, Mr Lowe promised that the first volume of his autobiography would be published before Christmas, but my local bookshops failed to stock it.

It's a crucial volume for our understanding of how he ended up defecating in Castle Town because it shows how his assistant forced him to become a criminal against his nature. I am desperate to lay my hands on a copy, but I can't find it anywhere on Amazon. Has anyone got a spare copy they could sell me?

Anonymous said...

ah yes but you see that WE who COUNT simply delete all this shite
leaving nothing but clear blue water
Sorryyeee try harder mr Glaister

Because that is your name is it not??????????????

Adrain Glaister obscure and unmarried tefl tutor and failed text book author, who got if I remember right a grade c in his trinity cert only after much referral from the powers that be meaning myself fuckwit

ADRIAN I know where you live



Now fuck OFF

William Fuckrickson said...

Aye.Paul Lowe is slowly frying his fugging brain-cells. A career as a childrens' telly presenter beckons...He ticks the "Gary Glitter" and "Michael Jackson" boxes and he"ll soon be able to tick the 'drugs casualty' box on the "CBEEBIES" job application form!

At work I absent-mindedly flicked through TV channels in a deserted boardroom:judging by what I glimpsed I am now 100% sure that CBEEBIES is where drugs casualties and general loonies end up- if they don't end up on the pavement outside Brixton Underground station. The kids' programme "Show Me Show Me" is a definite case in point here...

I was amazed to see one of the presenters, a Chinese lady, talking to a line of stuffed toys: a teddy bear with an evil glint in its eye that would have given Aleister Crowley the shits;a rag doll that looked ripe for violent sexual assault by fugging Chuckie, and a stuffed something which looked like a multi-coloured pool of vomit with arms and legs. And a smiley face on it. Ohhhh, fuckkk!

Eyes glazed and grinning psychotically, the Chinese lady jumped up and down in front of these stuffed engines of Shaitan, and waved her hands about like an excited flid, while gibbering "show me! show me!" in a mongy-sounding voice. By the brain-fried look on her face, I thought that those stuffed toys had better "show her! show her!" or she might spazz out and get "mediaeval" on their toxic smoke-producing-when-incinerated asses! I had a vision of her tearing the stuffed toys to shreds and leaving the studio looking like the aftermath of a Toys R Us" tribute to the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or Ruggero Deodato's "Cannibal Holocaust!" Yikes! Disturbing!

After having (fruitlessly) lookled on other channels for porn/ news about Amy Winehouse's new titty-implants and having been unsuccessful (fuggit!) I flicked back to CBEEBIES to see the Chinese acid-casualty looney standing behind a very camp speed-freak in a fluffy pink jersy who was gibbering incoherently. She stood in the background and gurned like a kid imitating a Mong/someone off their tits on Ecstasy.

Hell, yes! Kiddies' telly presenter is just the job for Paul Lowe after he's spent a few more months on his medication, washed down with cheap, methylated spirits-based alcohol! I bet that Pained Paul can gurn and hold lengthy conversations with inanimate objects for fuggin' Czechoslovakia!

All is not lost, Paulie, me boy! A career change and a job on CBEEBIES'd give that nice man Sandy McAnus a rest!
Just keep your willie in your trousers and don't talk about your 'long defecation' or your jolly naughty Gary Glitter botty pranks with kiddies, Paul and you will be fine!
Keep fryin" them brain cells, Paul!!

Anonymous said...

San'--Like the blog but to perk it up a little, why not let others send you a post now and again and offer their thoughts?

Must it always be about San' 'n' Ollie?

I vote for Mr. Lowe, a day in the life... curious...

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Yes, I see that a goodly number of other Tefl bloggers have been throwing open their cyber-doors to guests of all manner of type. So you think I should do the same, eh?

And I imagine you'd be first in the queue, right, dear Anon? OK, send me your draft of 'A Day in the Life of a Tefl Pariah', and I'll see what I can do.

The only criteria to follow is that it can't be better than anything I've written. Which might be quite difficult, I s'pose.

Anyway, crack open that bottle of Tesco's Rioja and git writing, whoever you are. I have a feeling this could be our old mate Shaunie up to his tricks again, but I'm up for it!

Shaun Ryder said...

Not me, lad. I just watches an' waits. Mostly 'opin' the Doc'll pop 'is shifty noggin round the door. I misses 'im, see.

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