When I was in college, I worked as a tutor. Really, I just wanted to be a math tutor, but most days I ended up working as a language tutor for E.S.L. students. I’m sure my editor won’t believe that I was ever an English or grammar tutor, but I was. Some of my students were really great. Some of them maybe not so much.
I had one student who just never really seemed to get it. One day, I spent two hours combing through her final paper with her. We worked out all of the errors, and I thought she was finally getting it! Then we got to the last sentence of her paper which read “Donuts make much happy time.” There was nothing in the paper that had anything to do with donuts, or happiness. I asked her why the last sentence was there, and she got so mad at me. The girl stood up and walked out. I never found out why donuts make much happy time. I agreed with her basic argument, but I still don’t understand how it related to her business paper.
But the worst was teaching conversation classes. Most days we would read Friends scripts out loud. The students would work on their pronunciation, and I would explain the colloquialisms. It was actually pretty fun. Then one day we read a scene during which Rachel exited her bedroom with post coital hair… How does one explain the concept of post coital to very sheltered Chinese girls? I ended up saying something like, “Well, sometimes after you sleep, sometimes with a friend, your hair gets messy.” I got paid for that, people.