When you think about it, my job as a language facilitator, (which is different to being a teacher), is actually quite cruel. What I do is make people use English. It is totally different from just learning English. And to add insult to injury, I try and make people speak with each other. How can that be? I just want to learn the language.

Why, if you don’t want to use it?

And now, your crackpot of a facilitator makes you use a “thing” called Sam. Really, this is outrageous! But because I am in France, let’s go out and protest, smash a few shop windows, burn a few cars and protest at the injustice that Frank is making me do something rather than learn something. We’ll teach him! Let’s dream of the revolution.


OK, fine by me.

I start with Cléa. My inhumane approach on Saturday was to force her to do a mini-podcast about her first K-pop Concert experience. What was remarkable was that the poor girl was utterly and totally exhausted. She had had a week full of new impressions and was ahead of another week of more impressions. And then, I go and make her do something, in English, especially when she told me at the beginning that she was tired. Which was an understatement.

But what I told Cléa after we recorded the interview is that, even in moments of extremes, she is beginning to be able to communicate effectively in English. Even in her exhaustion, she managed to do the podcast and share her impressions. English is becoming second nature to her. Not completely and not perfectly, but very noticeably. That is progress, and I know that I am one of several people who are supporting Cléa in her journey.

But it is not only Cléa who is a victim of my horrible way of doing things. Walter, Céline and Alexandre too are suffering. Except, when I plan what we do, I can now allow fifteen minutes of small talk at the beginning of the meeting as all three slowly start breaking away from me and talking to each other. That too is progress after a few months.

The next story is really, really shocking. Walter, Manfred, and Martin had to work on something provided by Igor in Brazil. And I just dropped them in the water and told them to get on with it. All they had was some English text, their collective experience and Sam, who, as you know, is Brida’s virtual assistant.

But the problem is that Sam can only do something if you explain and define what it is you need. And Sam is brutal. If you tell him rubbish, he produces rubbish. So, how do I produce something that is not rubbish?

And Frank is on strike. (Because he lives in France and that’s what they seem to do a lot there).

You work as a team and think about it, in your own language, and then ask Sam to produce something that is beneficial.

The result was pretty good, which gives Igor something to think about and even produce something better.

Oh dear, some “guru” might say. Frank, you need to do a course in “customer satisfaction”. If you continue, you will lose all your clients. Let me sell you my fantastic course on how to prevent that.

Hmm, but most of you want to meet up with me again next week. So, I must be doing something right.

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