Mr. Bert

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March 5th 2013  |  0  |  Category: Fiction  |  Author: tina20  |  754 views

Mr. Bert was a depot keeper in a small town in Canada; he lost this job for stealing in the factory which he worked for. He lived on job seek allowance near one year in Canada and got an ESL teaching job in China.
He was 50-ish, short and his arms were short as well. He had no hair on his head and the body where the others had. He got big eyes in which showed greedy, rude, shallow and merciless and his lips were extremely thin and busy always.
He never married and never had girl friend either. He smoked and drank; he went to the restaurants and bars with his colleagues (both men and women) and friends (men).
He spoke loudly in the classrooms, offices canteens, restaurants and bars,
He worked for a college in a city in the west of China, later moved to a city at the east of China.
He was quiet and seldom spoke in the public area when he just came to J College. The other foreign teachers ignored him sometimes, except Y, she treated everyone was equal. Mr. Bert was alone and unhappy. He complained to Y about his apartment which had no functional kitchen and no western bathroom, for which he had asked to develop to the college leaders, and so far not work yet. He told Y he had 15 years teaching experience and was VIP teacher when he was in west part of China and he didn’t tell Y why he left his VIP position. Anyway, Mr. Bert seemed like a ‘Belle de Jour.’
The Christmas, the New Year and the end of the term always came together round the corner and the school was busy, each department had its job to finish during the certain time. Mr. Bert was busier than the other teachers- he had 4 months time for this contract and he worried about his future very much.
He went to his boss’ office and asked gently and humbly for if the school could offer him a job for next academic year and he would be happy continues work there etc. His boss told him that she was not a decision maker and the college teaching president was, and she just making a contract when the teaching president gave her message and also it’s so early for discuss next contract. Mr. Bert was still there nagging and nagging, said something about how much he liked this work and he was the best one etc. He left the office until his boss ignored him totally.
He looked sadly and poorly for didn’t know the boss’ idea to him and for didn’t know where he would be after 4 months when he finished this contract, and he didn’t tell anyone, except T. T comforted him that he world have a job in another school, if here did not hire him again and also told him it was really early to discuss new contract and the boss’s words was reasonable. Bert felt better.
One month later, the college not only signed the new contract with Mr. Bert, but also asked him to in charge of part of the X program.
Mr. Bert changed himself lot right away, first, his way of walking- more like a Chinese ancient time officer, two, his voice was very loud and three, his eyes didn’t see the people when he was talking with. The things didn’t change were the greedy, rude, shallow and merciless in his eyes and his busy thin lips.
Most of foreign teachers changed their attitude and closed to him and feared his authority and he became more arrogant, ill-mannered to everyone, but not to the America teachers, he fawned on them and they accepted and vice verse.
T didn’t change and treated Bert as usual.
“Morning, Bert.” Y was greeting to everyone in the office as usual in the morning, including to Bert. Mr. Bert ignored her, which was not as usual. He put his big business man’s bag strongly on the middle of the table and went to smoke in the corridor if just Y in the office, that was not as usual either. Y seemed like knowing nothing about Bert’s change.
Mr. Bert treated new teachers, especially young ones, badly:
“You are idiot, you should do this like the way I told you, the correct way” He was shouting and criticizing a young and new teacher who was not involved in X program.
“Please tell me what ‘this way’ is?’The young lad wanted to learn
“You never listen, I told you that before. I am not going to tell you again.” Mr. Bert was angry “It’s funny to ask something which I said already, I hate to tell you again.” Mr. Bert was just leaving and let the new teacher there in the soup.
The young man told Y that he had felt not well and the job was so difficult for him and no student wanted to open the mouth to speak English.
“What education background you have?”Y asked him
“BA in Literature.”The young teacher said.
“You will be fine just teaching oral English.” Y said.
“Mr. Bert said ‘this way’ was correct for teaching and asked me to do that but he didn’t tell me what this way was.” The young man was painful: “And he said he told me that already and was mad for me badly and made me feel very bad. Can you tell me how to teach?”
“I see. May be Mr. Bert had no so called’ this way.’”Y smiled. “Just relax; to manage some groups in the class and give the students topics, let them discuss themselves. Then you check each group and ask them speak in front of you. The group can be 2 people, 3 people or more, depends on the topics and your designs.’
“I can do that, I’ve felt better after talking with you, Y.” The young teacher was happy.
During the lunch time break, the officious little twit could boast whatever to his colleagues. Mr. Bert said: “I was VIP teacher when I was in W city; I got new furniture, new TV set, new bedding, which the other teachers’ all old. I had my own office, the others’ were all together in one office. I got food free, electricity free, water free and internet free, the other no. End of the semester I had bonus and the others had no.”
“Wow, so well, why you left there?” D, an English teacher, asked.
‘The man in charge of the foreign office was an idiot; I left there for I didn’t like him.” Mr. Bert laughed loudly “He offered new stuff and free electricity and internet for all teachers which I felt offended and I swore to him and then left.” He showed his comfortable and satisfies to his colleagues.

“What did bother you the others got some suitable treatment?” Y asked
Mr. Bert’s eyes were seeing the ceiling not answer Y.
“Tell us then” F, an American teacher, followed Y.
“Bothered Me so much, I couldn’t see the others got same treatment as me or the others better than me.” Mr. Bert emphasized the word ‘Me’, “I was VIP that time and just one VIP in that college. How could I endurance that, so I left.”
“You want be treated differently and want to treat the others differently?”D asked
“Oh, that was why he didn’t answer the question when Y asked, but answered when F asked.” Someone said:” Y, are you ok for that?’
“No, I am not ok, I am damaged by Mr. Bert’s and my here and there are painful”. Y said very seriously and her hands covered her chest.
“Really? Can I give you a massage? You see I’ve got nice fingers.” E was closed to Y.
“Listen to Mr. Bert’s story.’ Someone said.
“I left; I guess not only the loss of that college but also the loss of that city. Ha ha ha.” Mr. Bert laughed
“That true.”Someone said.
“I wrote a letter to the leader of that college to discover that foreign office leader’s action of abuse the power, he got some money from some channels and he had ‘guanxi’ to be the leader in the foreign office etc.”Mr. Bert continued his story.
“Wonderful.” Someone said. “How was the reaction from the college leaders?”
“They should be angry.”Mr. Bert said
“Angry to whom?” Someone asked.
“I got the reason why Mr. Bert had to leave.’ F said to Y.
“And something else or just angry?”D asked.
“I guess the leader of foreign office was already lost his job, ha ha ha. I did that.”Mr. Bert was laughing.
“The college there asked you come back?”Y asked.
“Not yet, they will ask someday, I trust that.”Mr. Bert was in a strong confidence. “But the college here will not let me go. I had meeting with the president this morning, he said, the X program would be strength each year and my job was not just one year contract like all of yours, it will be forever. This college can’t work without me.”
“That’s true.”Y said immediately.
The rest said nothing.
“I suddenly think about the English corner, who does the job for that and I have arranged new system about that and that will be changed” Mr. Bert asked,
“P is in charging for that.’ D told Mr. Bert.
“P, are you listening? I will rearrange English corner, I am big boss now.’ Mr. Bert was talking to P.
P was concentrating on his computer.
“P, P, P, I am talking to you.” Mr. Bert was screaming to P.
“What?” P woke up.
Mr. Bert repeated his opinion
“I see.” P said.
After New Year, Mr. Bert put his legs to other department; his assumption was that there were teachers, who teach German, English and Japanese, should all belong to his lead ship. He went to its office and asked their teaching proposals, the students’ grade, and the management structure and gave them paper work. The leader of this department was angry and complained to Mr. Bert’s department.
Nothing bothered Mr. Bert; he just did whatever he wanted to do.
He changed all students’ English books and each one must buy a big Oxford Dictionary, although no any one touch that, students preferred to use the dictionary on their I phones.
Mr. Bert was criticizing the text book: “New Exchange is stupid English text book, now I changed all books and the Oxford English dictionary is great for everyone.”
The foreign teachers knew the New Exchange was a nice text book for ESL teaching, which were welcomed by all the teachers and students around the world, and people could get any kind of dictionary from internet, including Oxford and I phone, Selling the Oxford dictionaries, Mr. Bert got great commission and he also sold some special books directly to students himself.
Mr. Bert even put his legs into the boss’ office and he got the key and a seat in that office. He was spoiled by Chinese culture.
“I am busy for working every minute, all the college stuff I must manage. The teachers, the staff, the students and tasks. They are all stupid. I provided good ideas to president and he regarded were great. I am big boss, important and busy.” Mr. Bert said enjoyably
“I guess so.” Y said. “By the way, “The College couldn’t run until the day he came or something like that.”
P said:”How about the country- China? I guess you can run it better.”
“Yep, I can, and the world.” Mr. Bert’s thin lips were up and down.
“It’s waste of talent, Mr. Bert should be Hu Jingtao position or Obama’s.” Y said.
One day, Mr. Bert went to the boss’ office. Mr. Bert said: “The College is so bad and no foreign teacher wants to continue their new contract for next year.”
The boss didn’t say anything just looking at them.
He told the boss that the boss should do the things like this or that and also he asked to be an interviewer for teachers’ recruitment.
The boss smiled to him and said: “I see.”
Mr. Bert left the boss’s office and to the foreign teacher’s.
“I and the boss have just discussed the blueprint of the job and she also asked me to be interviewer for new teachers. I said I would think about that.” He was saying.
‘Wow’ someone cheered.
People were still seeing Mr. Bert was boasting in the New Year dinner but he hadn’t appeared since the new term started.
“Anyone knows where Mr. Bert is?” Someone asked…
“I guess he should be in Zhongnanhai working for Chinese President” Y said.
“Maybe he is working for the White House at the moment.” P Said:“Who knows.”
After one week, people forgot Mr. Bert.


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