James Joyce Teaches English at the Berlitz Language School in Pola

Theer are accounts of Joyce's teaching style, if not of its material, and these are as varied as those who report them.

Gorman's biography suggests that Joyce was a martyr to his teaching, as he was to so much else: "Teaching [was] a disappointing but necessary interruption of his proper life." The work is described without elaboration as "immediate vocabulary and a minimum of grammatical drudgery," yet at various points in his discussion of the years 1904-06 Gorman also calls the teaching "a deadly boring grind" "a rut," and, grandiloquently, "the laborious travail of the Berlitz school" Having said all this, however, he claims that "despite his scorn for routine [Joyce] was extremely conscientious."

Joyce and Nora went into self-imposed exile, moving first to Zürich, where he had supposedly acquired a post to teach English at the Berlitz Language School through an agent in England. It turned out that the English agent had been swindled, but the director of the school sent him on to Trieste, which was part of Austria-Hungary until World War I (today part of Italy). Once again, he found there was no position for him, but with the help of Almidano Artifoni, director of the Trieste Berlitz school, he finally secured a teaching position in Pola, then also part of Austria-Hungary (today part of Croatia). He stayed there, teaching English mainly to Austro-Hungarian naval officers stationed at the Pola base, from October 1904 until March 1905, when the Austrians—having discovered an espionage ring in the city—expelled all aliens. With Artifoni's help, he moved back to Trieste and began teaching English there. He would remain in Trieste for most of the next ten years.