“Did you remember your kilt?” I’m asked as I arrive in the small town of Kępno, one hundred kilometres North of Wrocław in Poland. “No” I answer sheepishly as it dawns on me that I’d promised I would.
I’m here for two months as a guest native speaker helping to teach English in a Primary school that my friends Dad is Headmaster of. We improvise and I’m soon introduced to about one hundred students and twenty staff wearing a tartan mini-skirt with long white socks looking like a hairy transvestite.
Ewa, the English teacher is my Sheppard and I follow her everywhere, the teachers are great and I’m attracted to all of them. Between each class and after school I’m fed to within bursting point. Polish food is great but my lack of exercise makes me really struggle to keep up my normally monstrous appetite.
Thrown into the deep end at one point, I’m left to cope alone with the youngest class aged between five and six for ten minutes. I split the class down the middle and play charades. I draw a picture and they have to tell me what it is in English, whoever guesses it right earns a point for their team and gets the chance to draw on the board.
Madness ensues with accusations of cheating and an all-out battle commences. Once things calm down I begin to draw a cartoon face on the board just for fun starting with a big, circular out-lines for eyes, followed by a large, looping nose between them. My face turns white when I realise I’ve just drawn a massive cock!
Frantically I scrub trying to erase my blunder, but to no avail. Plain as day my two meter penis clings to the black-board waiting for Ewa to return and hit the roof. It’s still faintly there on her arrival, but I assume she hasn’t seen it as she still talks with me and I’ve not been run out of town.
I take regular beatings (friendly blows to the arm really) from a teacher called Gosia , she’s determined to teach me Polish and it’s the only way I’ll learn. We’re the same age, a good friend and she invites me to her house where I meet her family.
My beards four inches long and believing this to be the reason why I’ve been single for twenty six years I decide it’s time for the squirrel to leave my chin. I can’t do it myself so while I sit on the toilet seat Gosia and her husband give my hairy chin a seeing to with scissors and electric trimers . What have I done? I’m in turmoil! Forgetting my much-loved (by me) beard is not there anymore I try to wash it in the shower for the next four days and I look like shit.
The next day we’re late for school and I have no time to change the clothes I wore while working in her garden a little the day before and I haven’t finished shaving my mangled beard properly. Ewa screams in horror at the sight of this beardless Andy when I enter school making it all hit home.
On our way to Wrocław Zoo on a school trip that day, I’m treated to the Scottish song ‘My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean’ sung perfectly by a sweet little five year old girl, then most of the bus are sick due to a feeding frenzy at the local sweet shop. They quiz me constantly, bombarding me with questions about my favourite colour and food but that’s why I’m there really and I do my best but probably teach more Scottish slang than Queens English.
Kids really are crazy and so much fun but I just hope they don’t use my attempted artwork as inspiration for future doodles at home, “Look Mummy, look what our teacher showed us today”!
I enjoy my time there a lot, and a surprise visit to Czech Republic on a school trip to Prague is yet another icing to this adventure cake, but I have a new found admiration for teachers. I believe you’ll find the word ‘stress’ under teacher in a thesaurus, or you would if I ever wrote one!