Thursday, May 14, 2009

The short-lived Indian British English school I

“There is something classy about the English: the accent, mannerisms – not like those common yanks. England has tradition, those Americans just copy everything... I had some applications from Americans…Well qualified a lot of them, but straight in the rubbish. I am not going to employ any of them. We British should stick together,” said Sanjeet a very posh British Indian, who was opening a new school specializing in British English. They wrote on the advert that they needed someone with an teaching certificate and an M.A. – which I didn’t have - but the advert clearly said only those with British English need apply, and this was the first ad I had ever seen like that so I just had to come along.

“Indeed,” I replied conflicted: I liked the Britain is great bit, but wanted to tell him off for being an elitist snob.

“I can tell if someone has had a good education. It doesn’t matter if he/she has no teaching experience. It is…that knowledge of the grammar and the influence from good teachers, that schooling in how to learn…I know they will put up a good show. They will do themselves proud.”

I walked out of the door feelings mean, unsociable having just given him a handshake, the guy at least deserved a few bars of God save the Queen or England’s green and pleasant land. I chalked up the interview to experience and went for some kindergarten ones elsewhere.

The next week, after promising to get my teaching certificate and masters sent out from England I had taken up my position as principal teacher of the British culture and Heritage English Program, preparing the children of the rich for the playing fields of Eton.

Even though I possibly couldn’t last in the school without a teaching certificate I wanted to do the job just because it was the first place I had come across as unashamedly British. The walls of the school were covered with posters for England’s finest public and private schools, while the sounds of St. Somebody’s Hallowed School Choir playing in the background.

“Wonderful, isn’t it. Stirs the soul,” said Sanjeet. “I want you to encourage them to come in here to use the tapes and watch the videos.”

He continued, “Bet you miss all that, eh? - School, discipline, and the uniform...”

“Absolutely, mate,” I said while thinking of my comprehensive.

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