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“No! No! No!” screams Private English Tutor

March 27, 2013
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Thoughts From The Corner

his voice snapping, cracking and stinging like an expertly wielded whip.

‘No more B.D.S.M.’

Those of you that joined me on my last post, may remember that I sent the main character from my novel off to explore pastures new with a visit to a toy specialist – remembering, of course, that I remained chained to my laptop whilst it was he that was chained to a four poster bed in some pink boudoir in middle-class suburbia.

I came close to receiving my record number of visits and views for that post (and more comments than you could shake a riding crop at) which just goes to prove that a bit of slap and tickle is alive, kicking, screaming and groaning in our WordPress blogging bubble.

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A special kind of crop – not to be used for horse racing!

However, onwards and upwards from my customary naval gazing. I have recently received an email from an educational web site. It suggested that I apply to mark English examination papers. Being the suspicious kind of a person that I am, I wondered why this reputable organisation is undertaking such advertising and how many private tutors such as myself have been contacted.

The examination system in England is in perpetual chaos, lurching from one chaotic summer marking episode to another. Could it be that examination markers have voted with their red pens and decided that the rates of pay are not worth the mind-numbing tedium of marking the same paper hundreds of times (not ‘the’ same paper, ah you know what I mean) along with the now-obligatory ridiculous amount of bureaucracy that accompanies academia.

It is some years since I played this game of wielding the red pen during my holiday holidays and I wonder if I really do want to jump on the hamster wheel of examination marking again. Perhaps my time would be better spent fleshing out (I’m sure there’s a B.D.S.M. pun there somewhere) my main novel character.

Examination marking does, however, have its moments. Here are some of my favourite candidate howlers from examination papers. All are true – not from papers I marked though.

Gentle Reader, those of you of a rather delicate disposition may prefer to avert your eyes following number eight. Numbers 9 and 10 do indeed contain language of a rather crude and possibly offensive nature:

i.     ‘A magnet is something you find crawling all over a dead cat.’

ii.  ‘ Spain was a very Catholic country, since Christianity had been taken there in the third century BC’ according to this History student.

iii.  A student informed tutors that the four Ps of marketing were ‘product, price, place, distribution’.

iv.  Referencing proved a problem for one English  student as he introduced a quotation from a secondary source with ‘As Ibid says’.

v.   When might you use inverted commas? – ‘When you are reading upside down’, was the reply

vi.  Using supply and demand explain the increase in petrol – ‘Petrol station owners deamand that drivers supply them with more money’.

vii.  In what circumstances would you employ a semi-colon? – ‘When they have a good c.v. and interview.’

viii. What are pronouns? – ‘People in favour of nouns.’

ix.   ‘Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the organ of the species.’

x.   ‘ To prevent conception when having intercourse, the male wears a condominium.’

Who said being a private tutor was boring!

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From → Education

10 Comments
  1. I love it. I remember my ex used to mark over the school hols and how insufferably boring it was. It’s interesting how a bit of slap and tickle boots viewing numbers and it only has to be in the title. When I wrote “Twice in One Week” I was drowned with views and visits curious to read what they hoped was a juicy bit.

    • I can hear the chants of your followers echoing around the WordPress blogging bubble’ ‘We want juicy bits! We want juicy bits!’

  2. When might you use inverted commas? – ‘When you are reading upside down’, was the reply – Just brilliant, I will be chuckling at this one all day!

  3. I remember my husband (who was then just my boyfriend) wrote a paper in high school that he had constructed wholly of circular arguments and nonsense, because he waited until the last minute to do the assignment. I’ll never forget my (favorite) English teacher’s scribble at the top when he returned it: “A wonderful example of complete BS.” Needless to say, we saved it.

  4. Oh my. After looking at those papers, the whole BDSM thing must seem like a much better idea. Ha!

    These all made me laugh so hard that I scared my cat. She just ran out of the room and is now sitting in the hall, looking very insulted. (Thankfully, she is not covered with magnets. I don’t think even her dignity could survive that. :))

  5. Might have to write a post on some B.D.S.M then!

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