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 didnât tell Y why he left his VIP position. Anyway, Mr. Bert seemed like a âBelle de Jour.â
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 bossâ 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 itâs 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 didnât know the bossâ idea to him and for didnât know where he would be after 4 months when he finished this contract, and he didnât 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 bossâs 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 didnât see the people when he was talking with. The things didnât 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 didnât change and treated Bert as usual.
âMorning, Bert.â 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 manâs 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 Bertâs change.
Mr. Bert treated new teachers, especially young ones, badly:
âYou are idiot, you should do this like the way I told you, the correct wayâ He was shouting and criticizing a young and new teacher who was not involved in X program.
âPlease tell me what âthis wayâ is?âThe young lad wanted to learn
âYou never listen, I told you that before. I am not going to tell you again.â Mr. Bert was angry âItâs funny to ask something which I said already, I hate to tell you again.â 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.
âWhat education background you have?âY asked him
âBA in Literature.âThe young teacher said.
âYou will be fine just teaching oral English.â Y said.
âMr. Bert said âthis wayâ was correct for teaching and asked me to do that but he didnât tell me what this way was.â The young man was painful: âAnd 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?â
âI see. May be Mr. Bert had no so calledâ this way.ââY smiled. âJust 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.â
âI can do that, Iâve felt better after talking with you, Y.â The young teacher was happy.
During the lunch time break, the officious little twit could boast whatever to his colleagues. Mr. Bert said: âI was VIP teacher when I was in W city; I got new furniture, new TV set, new bedding, which the other teachersâ all old. I had my own office, the othersâ 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.â
âWow, so well, why you left there?â D, an English teacher, asked.
âThe man in charge of the foreign office was an idiot; I left there for I didnât like him.â Mr. Bert laughed loudly âHe offered new stuff and free electricity and internet for all teachers which I felt offended and I swore to him and then left.â He showed his comfortable and satisfies to his colleagues.