Ha Ha! The Prague Post Online:

Teacher uncertainty
That non-European Union citizens may not be allowed to teach English in the Czech Republic is indeed good news, particularly when applied to those from the United States ['Language teachers' fate uncertain,' News, May 6-11]. The great advantage to this would be that Czechs would be enabled to speak the Queen's English and not English with the loud, convoluted, strangulated apology that Americans speak. Any slowdown of the infestation of American English within the EU is to be warmly welcomed.

Roy King
Burnley, England

Hey, Roy? Look over there, it's a rolling doughnut. You know what to do.

By far and away the worst English teachers I have come across in the Czech Republic over the years have been British. I have met far more sad, shabby dropouts from that country who couldn't any more speak the Queen's English than a Prague fifth-grader. Geordies, Scousers, Mancunians - the whole of northern England seems to supply teachers to eastern Europe. Imagine a poor class of Czechs trying to make sense of that noise.

There was a guy from Manchester who preceded me at technical high school in the English lecturer's spot way back in 1993. The students had assumed that English was simply an incomprehensible string of burrs, clicks and dipthongs and given up trying to understand him. Being underage, they did, however, appreciate how he took them out to pubs and stood them beers. I remember how one by one they would come up to me and say that they had never realized they could understand English before listening to me.

Plenty of useless Americans have backpacked through the place over the years and done more harm than good by teaching for beer money. But don't be fooled into thinking that the Brits (or any other flavor of native speaker) are any better on average.

Steve | 22:25 |