Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Also, I Hate the HSC.

Tomorrow I'm running a workshop out at one of the all girls religious school in Sydney. I picked up the gig in July after I ran the Gerric workshop. I might have mentioned it here, in fact, since the assistant that I had for the two days was in charge of the Gifted and Talented at this school, and liked what she saw. She wants me to run the same kind of workshop, but told me that I needed to tone it down a little. I figure that means no William Burroughs and Charles Bukowski, for fear that the girls might be broken by their use of nasty words, which is always a concern, if not for me, then for the teachers and parents who have to continue to exist with them in the days after I've come and gone and faded from their memories.

Anyhow, it should be interesting, purely from the standpoint that this will be the first time I've entered a high school since leaving it, twelve--nearly thirteen--years ago. I figure it's going to be amusing to look out at a wall of uniforms, backpacks, and highly prescriptive textbooks.

What's going to be interesting, however, is how this workshop goes. If it goes well, I might look to trying to pick up more from various schools around the city, and turning it into a little bit of continuous income, rather than just doing what comes my way. The downside is that it means I have to be proactive about the work, which has always been one of the things I've disliked about being self employed. You have to be proactive for so much of the writing gig, in that you need to motivate yourself to write, to sell your work, to pimp it, and all of that that goes with it. You get a bad week where you're fucked, and you lose that motivation, it can sometimes take a while to get it back. Which means, in the meantime, you're not creating, not working, not selling, and not moving forward. I've always been resistant to doing the same thing job wise, since it has never been important to me, and I'm happy to just show up, do my thing, go home, and not stress any of the details of it, except the cash flow. However, lately, it seems that all the details in life are taking me away from that, and forcing me into a position where all my work is reliant upon my ability to go out and get it. Maybe somewhere along the line I was kidnapped and stashed on a secret island community and this is my punishment. Who knows. On the up side, however, money is a lot easier to make through the world of education than it is through the world of writing, and I have absolutely no morals, and will teach for any kind of cash.

(Which, incidentally, if you're out at the University of NSW this week, you should pick up their ARTS Week booklet. Next week I'm running two workshops out there on the Thursday and Friday afternoon, and if you're curious, come along. My friend B is running it so help her make a success out of it, yeah?)

Not that it means that I'm completely without morals. On Monday night I was tutoring a girl who is doing ESL level year twelve. For those who aren't aware of the term, ESL stands, I believe, for English as a Second Language, and it caters to kids whose second language is, obviously, English. That's all good and fine, except that, for the task this girl had, she had to do a summary of a radio transcript between Stan Zemanek and a caller named, I believe, Alex, who hoped that Labor would win the last election. You can click on the Zemanek link if you like--he died recently from a brain tumour, and everyone seems to be quite sad about that, while ignoring the fact that he was a right wing, shock jock bigot who, in the words of the Australian, "called Labor Party members "socialist criminals" and "dickhead trendies", "and "was mercilessly rude to talkback callers, calling them numb-nuts and halfwits. He would advise them to give themselves an uppercut, and if they hesitated he'd accuse them of having smoked "wacky-tobaccy"." It might surprise you then, that such a man's transcript was being given to ESL students; it might surprise you to learn that this transcript was how if Labor won, a flood of immigrants would reach through the country, and that would be bad, bad, bad.

Now, in case a little fact has slipped your mind, ESL students, students who speak English as a Second Language, are more often than not, born in other countries.

Who the fuck designs this shit?

The only saving grace was that the girl, bless her, said she found the article boring, and hadn't read the whole thing, and had done a fairly bare boned summary of it.

Me, however, I was kind of annoyed by it, because as far as I'm concerned, giving anti immigrant rants from right wing shock jocks to people whose first language is not English is a kind of sick joke at best, and a nasty bit of propaganda at worse. I'm betting it's not a sick joke.

Anyhow, got to go design for the Gifted and Talented tomorrow. There's something kind of fucked up in that, too, I might add. The workshops I do, they're always for the Gifted and Talented: the special, the important, and those who, because of their academic gifts, are somehow more worthy of the advantages that can be given. No school has ever hired me to run a workshop for the ESL kids.

Only parents hire me for ESL kids.

And, inevitably, I help them write job resumes for shit kicker jobs.

Make of it what you will.

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