I’m in Glasgow, the last day of my weekend visiting my daughter at uni, and won’t be back on regular wifi until I get back to Bologna tonight.
So 1.) no Book of the Week offer today, again- perhaps I’ll dig one out on Wednesday – and 2.) I’ll keep this short.
I know, I always say that, don’t I?
It’s awful, the time I spend. My wife looks sceptically at me when I confess how long I took writing, rewriting and checking yet another ramble.
But the rented room I’m in in Glasgow this Monday morning is chilly, I’m under the duvet with the laptop propped on my knees, and no, repeat NO coffee to hand.
That’s powerful motivation to be brief.
So, a funny thing happened to me the other day, I don’t recall if I already told you, stop me if I did.
I was sitting in a classroom at the school, beavering away on my laptop, when my wife came in and told me there was someone who wanted to see me.
Pavel, she said, the intern, she added, hoping I would remember and come out and talk to whoever it was so that she could go back to whatever she’d been doing on her laptop.
Weedy little Polish guy, but tallish, on some European scholarship, stayed with us a couple of months, years back, doing whatever fruitless task we had interns working on at the time.
A friendly, smiling lad, very Polish accent.
I got up and went out into the receeption area.
Yep, I had the right Pavel, it was definitely him, still tall, but no longer weedy.
In Britain they used to say ‘built like a brick outhouse’, meaning pretty solidly.
He was pretty much a giant, which just goes to show the value of being nice to weedy teenagers.
Still with the Polish accent, and now with a pretty Polish wife, too, also smiling.
He’d come by to say ‘Hi’ and to THANK US for everything he learnt, which he is now putting to good effect, apparently, running a travel business he took on from his dad.
Isn’t education marvellous?
All that website work, he said? And learning Italian at our school in exchange? It’s made such a difference. The business is outstripping its competitors, who don’t have these skills.
He presented me with a bottle of Polish vodka and reminded me to freeze it before attempting to drink it.
Polish vodka tastes foul at room temperature but great when frozen – the one thing I learnt from a year teaching English in Poland in the mid-nineties. That and to avoid the local cigarettes.
I thanked him, chatted a bit, and told him to be sure to visit again next time he was in Italy.
Later, I got to wondering what happened to the other enthusiastic young faces who had passed through, all those years ago, when we were just starting out and were desperate enough to try anything.
But anyway, back to today.
Given that I’m not trying to sell anything (because of not being on the Internet all day) and following on from the success of our collective effort at compiling the new ‘Other Resources’ page, I thought maybe we could have a go at rennovating the ‘Schools‘ section of the club website.
Long have I known that this section of our website is embarassingly bad, which was why I dropped it from the navigation menu years back so that as few as possible people would see it.
The formatting, lovingly-crafted by interns, is pretty horrible.
Poi the organisation is pretty random. By country, then by city?
The alphabetical order isn’t even very precise.
Take a look at this page, on which for some strange reason the kids lumped together Italian schools and courses from the United Kingdom and Ireland (perhaps not realising these are two different countries?)
We have London at the top, logical, I suppose.
Then Birmingham (Wikipedia said it was the second city), then Canterbury (went there to do an English course), Liverpool (for the Beatles) and, what comes after Birmingham?
Belfast, of course.
So this week, let’s have a go at fixing it. I’m sure club members have schools/courses etc. that they want to recommend, right?
Start by checking the page for whatever country you’re in, which you’ll find on the main index page.
If it’s awful, I apologise in advance.
But remember! The young people who made it are now prosperous citizens, in part due to having had some initial work experience, and making a hash of it.
So the plan is this:
- You check out your country’s page, find the city or cities you’re familiar with, and check that the schools/courses/competent private teachers that are on the list actually exist, and that the link is good
- Email me details of any changes you think need to be made – anything that is old and needs to be deleted, plus the URL of any school/course/teacher website to be added
- I’ll make the changes people suggest, and reformat the page for your country so it pleases my eye. I might even fix the alphabetical order…
- Then, after a week or so, I’ll add the new, improved ‘School Finder’ to the menu, where everyone can see it
Start by finding your country, and other schools in other places you may know about, for example if you took a course in Italy, on the main index page.
Email me suggestions in the usual way.
N.B. The School Finder is aimed at people who want to do an actual, sit-down-at-a-table-with-other-students-and-a-teacher-type course.
Near where they live or work.
That’s why the location is the fundamental bit of info. And the website URL.
That means this is not aimed at online teachers, or schools that ONLY offer online lessons.
If you send me info about your favourite online teacher, I’ll ignore it.
Not because I’m mean.
Simply because I want a list of schools/courses that people can actually go to.
Guess that’s it.
Coffee time, then a goodbye brunch, then the bus to Edinburgh airport, then lots of hanging around.
From tomorrow things’ll be back to normal, also for EasyItalianNews.com, tomorrow’s edition of which I hope to pull together while waiting for my plane.
A mercoledì, allora.