The expert in anything was once a beginner


§ The KET is on the table

Learned gibberish about the European Common Framework of Reference for Languages
For years I've been listening to students of all ages babbling in English.
I listen to them racking their brains about their motivations to study the language - from a frank «I do not give a s***, but I have to do it», to an urge to boost the international trade of sparkling wine, to a desire for vacations in the company of some exotic loafer.
From intellectual exoticism to a desire to escape – sexual boredom or taxes - reigniting, supporting and revitalizing this passion is part of my job.

But now that the school year has ended and I can freely indulge on the keyboard, both the alienation and final hilarity that accompanied my commuting from institutional halls to bored classrooms come to mind.
The scholarly meetings were crowded with teachers convinced of the beauty and essential need to teach English, and - of course- of the ensueing catastrophic disaster that would pluck those who do not learn it.
The students rebelled as I forced them to drop their mobiles.
«I am do, have you speak (...), they am be» were their dully crippled conjugations, until one eventually surrendered: «If I study more, I die»©  
Still, some colleagues claim that
«if our Italian students are unable to communicate in English, they must be considered illiterate European citizens.»


Enter Alex de Large, and, Please, esc the bus©. Or - “Scend the bus”©, in alternative; either way, please follow me to our graduation exam session.
«There was me, that is Annalisa, and my three droogs, that is C., M., and E., and we sat in the professional school-leaving exam trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the mornings...»
What about the Italian teachers (of different subjects) - i.e. supposedly very literate European citizens - who were all too intimidated to venture technical questions in English to our graduating students, and only did so in a fantasy English that was even more delusional than the students' «*not pericolous compits© of their professional training?
Majestically ungrammatical, beautifully incomplete sentences were left hanging in ellipses of humid breath in the first sweltering days of summer.

I have collected as many as 3 notebooks of wonderful creations in Newspeak or "Fantasy English." Were I the author of these gems, I would have already changed job.
Please note, all my students' creations come with their copyright symbol here©.

Give daredevil Thomas his due.

A planetary business: But who stands to gain?
Take an international language, spread it over thousands of schools, divide it by hundreds of motivated teachers, add slogging professionals & students, mix in several beautiful courses and glaze with a drop of compulsory EU language certificates.
 Is it tasty enough?
 I have met English teachers living in Italy who repeatedly fail to pass their obligatory exam of Italian.
College students who have sat their
compulsory B1 exam of English twelve times or more. (This means they had to pay several hundred bucks for the examination, had their thesis almost ready but missed a couple of rounds of graduation sessions and had the extra university fees to pay, on top of it all).
I have heard Italian tourism boards executives with a monthly net salary of € 2,500 unable to articulate a sentence in German or English, but also to book a flight and a hotel

I have heard a Maître d' explain the menu to Danish tourists by touching his breast and thigh. No chicken, if you know what I mean.

I even saw a stewardess throw away her survival kit, sink into the couch and tell everyone on the plane to fuck off. In 7 languages. 

 Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye
I ain't lying.
With these green eyes of mine, I've seen them do it, man.
As D'Orazio – another student of mine - put it,
«The verb to be is challenging. ©» 
 Can you imagine being a teacher?!
Luckily enough, I eventually found my peace in Luca's candour. 
A 1st grade student, Luca once blurted out:
«But, Missus, what am I supposed to do with all this English, if I barely go to Segonzano?», (it being a tiny mountain village about 7 km from his home, here in Trentino).
The good thing is that sometimes, in the classroom, a song by Bob Marley
is worth more than many a manual of grammar. 
I miss you loads, wonderful students of mine, I do!

So here's to you, European citizens & friends:
«I stood wondering if I was the idiot, taking life as a game, or whether it was him, that took it like a sentence to hard labour»
(freely translated quote from the Italian legendary film «Amici Miei»)

* KET: Key Inglese Test