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Language Log

Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006 - 9:50 a.m.

The hallway of the building where my office is smells like ass. And not a clean ass, either.

I have a meeting with the professor who got me into all this mess, on Friday. I anticipate that she will ask me how it's going, and I am trying to figure out whether I should be truthful or not. I can sound a bit negative when I am being truthful. The question I must ask is that, if a truthful answer will reduce my chances of getting such a gig in the future, is that really a bad thing? No doubt she will be able to tell that I am lying, anyway.

"How is class going?" "Oh, it's sapping my will to live, and worse, I have no time to write."

This one guy in her class I'm sitting in on, he was in the class last spring, too, is Mr. Teacher-Boy. He tries to relate everything to pedagogy, and does it with this smarmy grin on his face the whole time. He's one of those short scrawny types that go into ESL so they can get them an Asian wife. You know what I'm talking about, don't act like you don't. Anyway, he appears to really like teaching, and with every day that goes by, I hate him more for it. That, and his summarizing. I have probably mentioned that before. Same guy.

Speaking of smarmy grins, I've encountered more people who can smile while they're talking since stepping into the ESL side of the hall. It's creepy. I can't even bring myself to smile at all before 11am, and here these people are, explaining grammar rules at 8am with a grin plastered across their mugs.

Had this student come in yesterday to take a make up quiz-- was trying to work me by trying to engender pity and then asking things of me. His English isn't good, it's very difficult, he had to drop a class because it was too hard, he's a very good student, very earnest, but he is weak because he spent some time in an incubator as an ifant, he gets dizzy spells, so will it be all right if he misses class from time to time. Oh, and ESL teachers are always so nice.

Not me, buddy. I struggle to stay polite, and with every day, my will to do what little of that I do manage fades.

Of course, it's hard to really know when a student is working you and when they really are a pitiful sumbitch, but today when he came up and asked me to make an answer sheet up for the exercises we had done in class, twice, after I had already said no, my suspicions were confirmed.

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