WE know that God is an Englishman, or at least speaks English. So its important that if you don’t speak English naturally you should learn. For this reason I spent many months in Nepal bearing the white man’s burden. It was with this in mind that I have for nearly two years been teaching lonesome immigrants who were not born with the tongue of Shakespeare, the wit of Milton, the rhythm of Wordsworth or the lyricism of Keats. I have travelled far to Mitcham and Raynes Park hoping that some understanding of English irregular verbs will make my students passage up the great stairway to the stars just that much easier.
So I was impressed this week when my masters in Merton asked me to take part in a survey which was to “contribute to the knowledge about the role of gender and sexuality in language teaching and learning and will be of relevance to English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher education”
Q.In which ways have Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transsexual issues arisen in your class.
Today is Wednesday, What was yesterday, What will it be tomorrow is a standard drill I start my lessons with. Where do LGBT(it is not a sandwich) issues come into such discussions. Is it the banana in the fruit bowl? Is this about my boarding school education? Is it the fact both teacher and student are both males? Is it the fact that because we are both married we are probably closet queens? Is it the fact that both our mothers were women? Is it the fact that both our wives are women?
It is tricky but next week I shall definitely ask Christian de Silva who works as a chef in Covent Garden if he has ever thought about changing sex. He will reply Tomorrow was Thursday.
Q.What do you do when you encounter homophobic,transphobic, bio phobic comments in your classroom?
Frankly if any of my students got to the level where they could tell me what day it is tomorrow in the right tense I would think that was a result. If any explained that for reasons of religion or bigotry they felt all gays should be neutered and all lesbians shaved I would suggest I could teach them no more and they move to a higher class.
And so the questions rolled on and on until frankly I lost the will not only to crack any more jokes but to live.