With apologies for being a bit late to the party. Work has been absolutely crazy, etc., etc. In addition to my teaching duties, I’m involved in three different projects (because I’m completely incapable of saying no to anything) as well as national exams in English. Needless to say, my most significant generator of bitching (on my part), moaning and stress is work. It’s been foremost on my mind lately so I hope you gentle readers don’t mind if I mention it frequently in my posts. Also, just FYI, I’ve stopped using The Oxford Comma as demonstrated in the previous sentence: “bitching, moaning and stress.” Note the absence of a comma after the word ‘moaning.’
That’s enough grammar for now, but please feel free to respond with your opinions regarding the Oxford comma. It can also be called the Harvard comma depending which side of the Atlantic you happen to be on.
Right now we’re in the process of giving all the English A and B students exams in speaking. The students are paired up and instructed to have a discussion on a given topic. Their discussions are listened to by myself and one other English teacher. So far they’ve been going fairly well, but naturally there have been a few problems. Some students show up late for their appointments, or don’t show up at all, and then they have to be rescheduled. It’s a hassle but it’s pretty much unavoidable. It’s common and expected for students to try and get out of taking the exam by employing various tactics.
However, there is one student who really worries me because she seems to be sick all the time. It seems that every other day she informs me that she can’t come to class because she’s sick. She might be faking it, but if that’s the case there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. So far I’ve had to postpone this student’s exam time twice because she was (you guessed it) sick. This morning she showed up for her rescheduled exam appointment fresh-faced, smiling and ready to go (no Oxford comma…ha). Then she found out who the other teacher sitting the exam was. Evidently not someone she likes very much.
After listening to (and refusing) her demands to have a different teacher or at least postpone her test again, I went to go take care of something for five minutes. When I got back, the student was crying and clutching her abdomen and she was surrounded by friends attempting to comfort her. Apparently, in the previous five minutes, she had developed an upper urinary tract infection and was in too much pain to take the test. She had to leave school and go to the hospital. Here we go again, I thought.
But the thing is, I’m not entirely sure she really is faking it. She was absolutely fine only minutes earlier, but it’s possible that she really did spontaneously develop the symptoms of UTI in response to the stress of having to take the exam. Psychosomatically, that is. I’m certain she started feeling better as soon she left the school building.
I have some personal experience with this phenomenon. Years ago I had a job as a sort of telephone sales representative. It was easily the worst job I’ve ever had in my entire life. The people with whom I was forced to work were so loathsome, the work itself so abhorrent, that the very thought of having to go to work caused me to develop a sore throat and migraine headache. I’d call the office in the morning, genuinely feeling like complete shit, and inform them that I was too sick come in. Shortly after hanging up the phone I’d start feeling better, and by lunch time I’d made a miraculous recovery.
Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing about what kinds of psychosomatic experiences any readers have had or currently have.
(By the way, I ended up getting fired from that job so everything worked out.)