Tyler Morgan's Evening Job
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||aphorism, compendium, cubicle, disagreeable, idiomatic, illogical, infinitive, lawnmower, non-native, obscene, recurrence, incorrect, exhilaration, nauseous, punctual, accountant
||Tyler Morgan, Edmund Burke, After Eduardo Santamaria, Teaching English
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Tyler Morgan's Evening Job
By Brenda B. Covert
1 In order to afford a new riding lawnmower, Tyler Morgan took a temporary job at the technical college teaching English to immigrants. How hard could it be? He felt more than adequate for the task. Though he was employed as an accountant for a carpeting manufacturer, he had been speaking English almost since birth!
2 A colleague from the legal department suggested that he would be out of his league teaching anything to anybody, but at five o'clock he said farewell to that disagreeable old buzzard and took off for his first class. He stopped for a burger and fries on the way, having first synchronized his watch so that he could be punctual. About to make a difference in the lives of newcomers to America, he felt exhilarated!
3 He walked into the classroom and into the gaze of fifteen pairs of eyes. The exhilaration he had felt earlier suddenly vanished, and Tyler felt nauseous instead. What was he doing in front of a class? He should have kept to the safety of his cubicle back at the office!
4 Since it was too late to bail out now, Tyler had no option but proceed. "Good evening," he said with a catch in his voice.
5 "Good evening," the people responded with various accents. There were Latinos, several Asians, a few Europeans, and one person of Arabic descent.
6 Tyler checked his watch. One minute remained before class officially started. "I'll just get myself situated," he said, walking to the chunky teacher's desk, "and then we'll get started." A thought struck him. "You do all speak some English, don't you?"
7 There was a noticeable pause, and then he heard several people say "sí" and "ouí" among those who said yes. Gradually he perceived that they were as nervous about the class as he was!
8 Tyler decided to sit on the desk. He laid his materials beside him. One was a book, a compendium of aphorisms and idiomatic expressions. One aphorism that he planned to share with the class was a famous quotation from Edmund Burke. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." He might save it for a later date, when they could participate in a discussion.
9 His trainer had told him to avoid idioms, since they cause non-native English speakers trouble. However, during Tyler's studies he had discovered that there were about 15,000 idioms commonly used in everyday speech as slang. The English language is full of idiomatic expressions!
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