18 Mar


At home, Tember knows that there are several no-nos with Eileen. One, you don’t wake her up in the morning. Two, you don’t bite her, ever. Three, you don’t lick her in the face. With a similar lack of formally training them, Eileen has somehow conveyed to the landlords’ children that she is not to be asked for help with English homework. I, however, get asked on a regular basis. Just as Tember routinely wakes me up, bites me, and licks my face.

Today’s homework was to convert active voice sentences into passive voice sentences. Being an English teacher, I tend to overestimate people’s familiarity with such simple grammar points. Still, I think I’m pretty fair and patient in dealing with the 17 year-old Spanish-speaking daughter of our landlords. She makes it very tempting to just give her the answers, however, because she is kinda thick. My latest strategy is to hopelessly explain the grammar to her in Spanish, give her an example, and then provide her with a diagram by which she can do whatever task it is she needs to do without actually understanding what she’s doing. Something like this:
Complete this diagram.

I kid you not when I say that I drew a similar diagram for all ten of the active voice sentences. One would assume that after, I don’t know, three, four, five such examples, you would catch on. But no. Actually, for the last one, all I did was draw lines and arrows. I didn’t even write down the words. I could claim that I had some sort of educational purpose for this, but really it was just my way of saying, “Give me a break. You gotta be able to do this by now.”

I know some of you women out there are thinking, “well, she obviously has a crush on you.” C’mon. Give me some credit. I’ve been working with adolescents for the past how many years of my life? Trust me. She’s just not that smart.

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