Well, at least cooler than most. Sure, I am only a teacher of English, but I am a teacher of English in a foreign country, and that has to count for something, right? And, it’s not even a country where English is a common language (though it is becoming more so because of folks like me) so I find myself having to communicate in my native tongue with people who don’t speak it. Believe you me, it is not as easy as it sounds, especially outside of the classroom. But, it’s fun and exciting and everyday is a new adventure, which is something that I look for in a job.
Another bonus: my students buy me drinks on occasion. Last Tuesday was one such occasion because the students were throwing a party at a local club/pub and they invited me along. Well, it was cool that they invited me, but what was even better was that they bought me drinks and talked with me–in English! Now, you may be saying that I must live a lonely lonely existence to get excited over a free drink (or five) and some conversation in my native tongue, and you would not necessarily be wrong, but what makes this special is that they don’t speak English in class, so to hear them speaking it outside of class was quite nice for me. And of course, the free drinks were nice too because those are always nice.
A third reason why my job is cool is because I get a free place to live. Sure, I don’t get paid much money, but free accommodation is always great, even if it is a slum hole, which it is not. It is, in fact, quite nice and I have no complaints about it. But the coolest thing about my job is that my bosses and colleagues are considerate and often throw parties just for the hell of it. Today was not one of those days where there was a party just for the hell of it, but it was one of those days where there was consideration. To stop being vague:
My birthday is tomorrow. I wanted to plan an event for today (because that’s how it’s done in the CZ; you plan your own party and bring your own cake and booze–they bring some too, but you are the main on responsible for these things) but due to lack of time and cash I was unable to. Then I got a call from my boss telling me to go to the secretary’s office (I figured it was for an update on the trip to Berlin that I am taking this weekend to get my permanent visa) and as I walked in the door, there they were singing happy birthday. It was so sweet (sickeningly so) that I could feel my face go hot with blushing. They then told me they thought I could use some cheering up and gave me a couple bottles of beer (always a good birthday/Christmas present for me in case you are ever wondering what you should get me) and a department made Diplom–guess what that is.
Anyway, the Diplom goes like this, it will not be as funny to you as it is to us, but maybe you can appreciate the sentiment. If I had a scanner I would scan it and post it, but I don’t so this is the best I can do:
For Mr. (Insert my name here)
For having mastered the key strategies for survival at the English Department of the Technical University of Liberec.
Particular note is taken of Mr. (my name)’s remarkable ability to speedily and successfully locate the obscure teaching rooms to which he has been assigned.
The ease with which he is able to engage with the inherent non-communicative mindset of the indigenous population under his tuition is of inestimable worth.
The Diplom is dated, stamped with the official seal of the department, and signed by my boss. A very nice thought, and one that is sure to keep me smiling for months.