Trying to make some money before entering university, the author applies for a teaching job. But the interview goes from bad to worse...
My First Job
While I was waiting to enter university, I saw advertised in a local newspaper a teaching post at a school in a suburb of London about ten miles from where I lived. Being very short money and wanting to do something useful, I applied, fearing as I did so, that without a degree and with no experience in teaching my chances of getting the job were slim.
However, three days later a letter arrived, asking me to go to Croydon for an interview. It proved an awkward journey: a train to Croydon station; a ten-minute bus ride and then a walk of at least a quarter to feel nervous.
The school was a red brick house with big windows, The front garden was a gravel square; four evergreen shrubs stood at each corner, where they struggled to survive the dust and fumes from a busy main from a busy main road.
It was clearly the headmaster himself that opened the door. He was short and fat. He had a sandy-coloured moustache, a wrinkled forehead and hardly any hair.
He looked at me with an air of surprised disapproval, as a colonel might look at a private whose bootlaces were undone. 'Ah yes,' he grunted. 'You'd better come inside.' The narrow, sunless hall smelled unpleasantly of stale cabbage; the walls were dirty with ink marks; it was all silent. His study, judging by the crumbs on the carpet, was also his dining-room. 'You'd better sit down,' he said, and proceeded to ask me a number of questions: what subjects I had taken in my General School Certificate; how old I was; what games I played; then fixing me suddenly with his bloodshot eyes, he asked me whether I thought games were a vital part of a boy's education. I mumbled something about not attaching too much importance to them. He grunted. I had said the wrong thing. The headmaster and I obviously had very little in common.
The school, he said, consisted of one class of twenty-four boys, ranging in age from seven to thirteen. I should have to teach all subjects except art, which he taught himself. Football and cricket were played in the Park, a mile away on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
The teaching set-up filled me with fear. I should have to divide the class into three groups and teach them in turn at three different levels; and I was dismayed at the thought of teaching algebra and geometry-two subjects at which I had been completely incompetent at school. Worse perhaps was the idea of Saturday afternoon cricket; most of my friends would be enjoying leisure at that time.
I said shyly, 'What would my salary be?' 'Twelve pounds a week plus lunch.' Before I could protest, he got to his feet. 'Now', he said, 'you'd better meet my wife. She's the one who really runs this school.'
This was the last straw. I was very young: the prospect of working under a woman constituted the ultimate indignity.
vi. write to ask for (a job, membership. etc.), esp. officially 申请
vt. make know to people by printing a notice in a newspaper, etc. or by broadcasting on television, ets. 为...做广告
of, special to, a place or district 当地的;地方性的
n. job or position 职位
n. outer area of a town or city, where people live 郊区
a. small, slight; slender 微小的;苗条的
vt. make sad 使沮丧
a. with green leaves throughout the year 常绿的
n. low bush with several woody stems 灌木
n. strong-smelling smoke, gas or vapour 浓烈难闻的烟,气,汽
a. yellowish-red 沙色的,黄中带红的
n. hair growing on the upper lip 小胡子
n. unfavorable opinion or feeling; dislike 不赞成;不满
n. soldier of the lowest rank 列兵;士兵
n. shoelace for a high shoe or boot 靴带
vt. untie, unfasten 解开;松开
interj. (a cry of surprise, pity, pain, joy, dislike, etc.) 啊
a. not fresh 不新鲜的
n. very small, broken piece of bread or cake 面包屑;糕饼屑
n. heavy woven material fir covering floors or stairs 地毯
a. very necessary; of the greatest importance 必不可少的,极其重要的
vt. speak (words) unclearly 含糊地说
vt. give (to); fasten (to) 把...给予;系,贴
n. the quality of being important
ad. it can be easily seen; plainly 明显地，显然
vi. be made up (of) 组成，构成
vi. vary between certain limits （在一定的范围内）变动
vt. make discouraged or afraid 使灰心，使害怕
a. completely unskillful; not good enough at doing a job, etc. 无能力的；不胜任的
a. opposite of incompetent
n. free time; time which one can spend as one likes 闲暇；悠闲
n. fixed (usually monthly) pay for regular work 薪水
prep. with the addition of 加（上）
vi. express a strong objection 抗议；反对
vi. sth. expected or considered probable; possibility 期望中的事；展望；前景
vt. form; make up; be 组成，构成
a. greatest; utmost; last or final 最大的；终极的，最终的
n. injury to one's dignity; insult 侮辱
PHRASES & EXPRESSIONS
be short of
not having enough of 缺少
have, give out the smell of 有...的气味
forming an opinion based on
attach importance to
consider important 重视
shared with someone else 共有的,共同的
be made up of
one after another 轮流