(Jonathan Adams Bartlett, ‘Portrait of Harriet’, c. 1840, Terra Foundation for American Art; found here)
- Hurrah! I passed my final set of exams and am now a fully qualified teacher. No teenager in the land is now safe from an English lesson from me. I have also lost a stone in weight from sheer terror and am covered in boils, and am thus an adornment to any Belgian classroom.
- Another hurrah! I was offered another evening of teaching English at the adult education centre where for the last year I’ve been giving English lessons.
- However, now that I can, I’m not sure that I want to teach English. I like teaching, but I don’t really enjoy teaching language – not least because I don’t know the proper grammatical rules and have to learn them in a hurry before lessons, and then in the panic of standing up before the class I forget them all. I am going to make an effort to teach myself grammar over the holidays, yes I am o yes.
- So once again I am thinking of studying for a PhD (I was just setting about the paperwork for one when we emigrated). I won’t be able to study my original subject and in fact if I’m to have any chance of a job teaching undergraduates I believe I’ll have to study twentieth-century or contemporary literature. But that will be no hardship!
- Although I have a nasty feeling that, this being Belgium, I’ll have to study for another Master’s first. I love studying, but yet another year might just push this out of the category ‘Taking realistic steps towards full-time employment’ and into the category ‘Massive self-indulgence’.
- But I have time to think about all this…
- I also have time to start writing here more regularly. Looking around, I see all the usual Helenish schemes which never quite came to anything. Writing about De aanslag? Working my way through great works of Modernism? Discussing the Grimms’ fairy tales one story at a time? Oops. I’m still excited about these reading plans although somewhat daunted about posting about them in public, you might think that after childbirth (a while ago now!) and a year of teacher training I’d have no shame left but weirdly I do still feel very self-conscious about what I write here.
- At the moment, however, I am really, really tired. I am so sorry I haven’t replied to comments earlier, I just don’t have the energy usually. It’s getting better though. However, I need your help... While I’m full of plans and dreams, at the moment I’m still reading children’s books (just indulging in a Joan Aiken binge). But I’m almost at the end of what I own, and still in need of comfort reading. Dear readers, can you recommend me some good but light fiction? For children or adults, I love both. Thank you, and a happy Saturday to you!