11/29/2005

When I Went To School In Olympia......



Hello,

Last night I attended a class to learn teaching English as a foreign language. It was all jolly enough until sensitivity to cultural differences popped up. Oh dear God! I've written at length about the phenomenon of white people taking offence on behalf of other cultures but it would appear that it has reached new levels of insanity.

The dreary teacher kicked off sensibly enough by pointing out that low cut and revealing clothes would be inappropriate in any classroom situation but might cause particular offence to people from other cultures. I have no argument with that. She then went on to explain that Muslims might be offended by female teachers wearing make up. I should stress at this point that the classes I'm being trained for will take place in Scotland not Saudi Arabia.

That was it for me. I shyly raised my hand and asked if they'd ever had any actual complaints about teachers wearing make up on cultural or religious grounds. 'Not so far' she replied, I quickly looked round at the other students and teachers and thought she was probably correct.
I then went on to explain that I only wondered because I'd been working with a number of Muslims for nearly two years and no-one had ever seemed offended by me wearing make up. That's when the real liberal madness kicked in, apparently Muslims would be 'too frightened' or unable to say in English that I was upsetting them. I thought of asking which part of the Qu'ran they'd taken this from but doubted any of them had ever read further than a particularly insane council memo issued in 1987 and let them ramble on.

I could have gone further though, I could have mentioned the particularly glamorous and heavily made up Iranian Muslim women I was dealing with earlier in the year, I could have pointed out that many of my clients were English speakers and very assertive. I could have stated that my cultural sensibilities were offended by imaginary Muslims taking offence at mascara. I could also have dipped into my handbag and produced a 45% proof bottle of Turkish Raki, given to me by a teetotal Muslim as evidence that not everyone is an idiotic, censorious, politically correct bore.

Anyway never let it be said I'm not a reasonable person, in order to placate the touchy Muslims living in the minds of the politically correct, I intend to purchase the abaya pictured above under which I can paint my face with the entire Dior counter if I so choose. Oh for heavens sake! Who am I trying to kid? I did what anyone would do in my situation and bought a pair of false eyelashes and a tube of bright red lipgloss to wear when I take my first class.

14 comments:

Bells said...

Hello!

Just came upon your blog.. Good to see another TEFL type in Glasgow. I did my course in July and loved it (and got the exact same spiel you did!). You will probably find out about this on your course, but if you are interested in Volunteer tutoring in Glasgow then try glasgowesol.co.uk. I am going for it, just waiting for a course start date. Good luck with Tefl, and dont stress about the work involved!!! Bells

margin walker said...

TEFL eh? Sounds like a rewarding thing to do. I could never see myself doing it. Now if they were looking for TNFL ' Teach Nedism as a Foreign Language ' then I would be the first in the cue. Good luck!:-)

Steve55 said...

Dear God, is that how bad things are? It's really very sad to see that ignoble tradition, so beloved by certain parts of the 'left', of taking offence on behalf of people who were never offended in the first place, coming back to light.

I had thought that that hydra had lost a few of its heads, but obviously its putting on a growth spurt. How rubbish.

Clairwil said...

Thank-you everyone.

Steve, the ignoble tradition is very much alive in the voluntary sector. It frequently rears it's ugly head during training sessions when people are asked to consider the problems faced by particular client groups. It all starts out sensibly enough then people, perhaps feeling pressure to come up with answers, start thinking of ludicrous things that might cause offence. Using common sense and treating everyone with equal respect it would seem is insufficient.

Anonymous said...

I'm Mary,
from Taiwan,
and I'm 18 y.o

Hi, Everyone
I've studied English sinse Autumn.
It's Really difficult
I want like to meet girls and practisice My English with them.

Thank You

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