Rushed Into Russia

| Yorkshire, England, UK | Learning | October 29, 2015

(I help at admissions events for a small school. It is public, (private for Americans; you pay tuition), and the teachers are a diverse group. About 40% of them are from foreign countries. I’m working an event, leading tours. My tour goes into the maths teacher’s room. He is Ukrainian. So are his assistant teachers. (They are actually his wife and daughter). He has quite an accent, but by no means incomprehensible.)

Prospective Parent: “Do the students ever have difficulty understanding you?”

Maths Teacher: “No. Or they do not say. I do not think so.”

Prospective Parent: “Where are you from?”

Maths Teacher: “Ukraine. I have been in UK 20 years, teaching here 17.”

Prospective Parent: “You sound Russian.”

Maths Teacher: “I am Ukrainian.”

Prospective Parent: “Where is that?”

Maths Teacher: “Eastern Europe.”

Prospective Parent: “Near Russia?”

Maths Teacher: “Yes.”

Prospective Parent: “But not?”

Maths Teacher: “Yes?”

(He doesn’t always understand short questions with implied subjects. They are rarely used at our school anyway, because ‘Proper’ speech is emphasised.)

Prospective Parent: “Oh.” *walks away, clearly still confused*

Maths Teacher: *says something to assistant in Ukrainian*

Assistant: *in English* “They never learn, [Maths Teacher]. Always the same questions. Never taught, see?”

Maths Teacher: “Never taught?”

Assistant: “Eastern Europe, see? They think it is all one.”

Maths Teacher: *mumbles something about teaching proper geography*

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