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My Roomate Ernie The Stupidest Man To Ever Have Been Given A Teaching Job. Part I

2649 words - 11 pages

Consider the odds: being given a roommate half the world away who was born in the same hospital as you (in my case back in Loserpeg) and on the same date to boot (albeit 26 years apart). This could be used to argue the underlying cause for my contempt for the man. Admittedly, I feel self-conscious as it is every time I look in the mirror and notice the increasing grey of my temples. But to have to share lodgings with someone whose IQ is exquisitively reflected in his appearance is too much. Do we simply share statistics? Am I looking at myself 3 decades from now? Granted, I could never allow myself to gain three times my current size as he has which he moves at a forward incline, in ...view middle of the document...

I took his age furthermore into consideration. His strangeness I simply put down to eccentricity, although his inability to utter a simple sentence without the phrase "turn around" did disconcert me a bit. His use of this phrase served no purpose. For example, when he came back from his seminar in Hong Kong for history teachers, I asked him how it was and he replied using no less than five "turn arounds" to express himself. "Yeah, just turn around. I turned around on my second day and went to the top of the tallest building there, turn around, looked out the windows they turned around and had on every side, turn around, took a few pictures, turned around and went down and had lunch. Turn around."
He claimed that his brother's name was Bert long before Sesame Street came around, and he had been some drug-crazed individual who had once smashed up their father's priceless 100-year-old Spanish guitar. As for the rest of his family, he had an unspecified number of daughters and a 90 year old mother back in Vancouver, none of whom knew where he was.

        In our first parent-teacher meeting we were asked by the mother of our best student to stand up, introduce ourselves and describe our qualifications. Peter as always made things easy for me by being the first to stand up and declaring, seemingly unabashedly "I have absolutely no teaching experience at all." For my part I stated that I had started teaching ten years ago (not stating that I had also been a butler, farm hand, youth worker, hostel manager, carer, fast food employee, environmental protester, peace worker etc. in that time span), had taught in Italy, Greece, Spain, Ireland (it was to paramilitaries actually, but I didn't have to explain), England (if teaching juvenile delinquents back in Essex the rules of snooker counts) and Canada. I had spent the required fee to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Loserpeg and obtained a teaching certificate from Trinity College in London (took me a month to do it in Barcelona- a teacher I once worked with only had to devote a weekend). Ernie was succinct. In fact, I missed most of it after regaining my usual pulse rate after my declaration of suitability. What I managed to pick up was that he had taken some course on the brain and that he would be using a novel method of improving kids' English: Scrabble. "You'd be amazed at how quick they turn around and learn. And the thing is, they don't know they're learning!" I had taken a course on gerontology, but that didn't qualify me to be a nurse.

        As the weeks passed, I starting getting updates from Ernie's students as they rushed to me after every class. Six weeks into term two of his students exchanged his class for mine because they weren't satisfied with his teaching. They didn't tell me specifically why that was, except that his classes showed no sign of being planned and that it all but consisted of him reading straight from the book with the students.

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