You could always hug your grammar book instead.

My spring term began this week, and students are still trying to sort out their schedules. Today a student came up to me and said, “I want to take your writing class, but I don’t feel like writing. What should I do?”

I especially hate it when a student I like asks a question like this.

Or like this,

“Are there tests in your grammar class? I don’t want to take any tests.”


Mind you, the student had this conversation with me while I was dealing with a copy machine that had jammed for the second time in less than five minutes while my grammar students were waiting for me.

The reply that went through my mind was something along the lines of, “There were going to be tests, but now since you said that we shall draw pictures of nouns and hug them.”

I didn’t say that.

What would you have said?


4 responses to “You could always hug your grammar book instead.

    • Well, no. I need to make it clear. I’m teaching kids who want to be writers. I’m teaching adults who want to learn English. The school I work for offers grammar, listening, reading, and writing classes. My writing class happens to be creative writing, and usually the students who take the class aren’t planning to be writers, but they aren’t interested in learning academic writing either. But in any case, if you take a writing class, one ought to expect to write and I’d like not to hear complaints about it.

      The student in question here has been my student before, so she wanted to stay in my class. But she is also a mom and has a lot going on in her life and wants classes that require no real work. However, since she is on a student visa, she has to take classes. And I happen to take my job seriously and ask students to write, to study, and such other crazy school things.

      Really what she wants is for me to tell her she doesn’t have to do the work, but I won’t say that. Sigh.

  1. Ahh, yes, this post takes me back to my creative writing teacher days. Stand your ground. A writing class involves writing. Period. If she doesn’t like it, she can find another class.

    A lot of my students had very creative ‘stories’ in their heads (and some not so creative) but couldn’t write complete sentences. They bristled when I corrected their grammar, figuring editors ‘fix’ all that. I set them straight.

    Good luck!

  2. Oh geez.

    I don’t even know what I’d say, but I know my mouth wouldn’t have stayed shut without the assistance of industrial staples and/or duct tape.

    Who on earth *likes* tests, anyway? It’s part of life. Deal.

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