those of you who don't know, my more respectable gig for the past
quarter century, or so, has been teaching college English. (Scary,
Teaching English is sometimes like teaching a teenager to drive a
carincluding the sensations of intense frustration, looking
away in terror, and dreading a catastrophic pileup of letters, words,
Take, for example, these 100% real writing samples I've collected
from my students over the years. I truly love them allthe students,
These first specimens come from the "unintentionally violent/gruesome"
"In the second stanza of the poem, the speaker is telling a little
boy to stop crying while he's getting his head shaved off."
I think I had that hair style once.
"Many people think of organ donation as a grouse disfiguring procedure"
I'm not sure what that writer has against grouses.
"Pet owners should not use toothpaste made from humans as it could
give the pet an upset stomach."
Student writers are always looking out for their petsunless
the pets are grouses.
"During the process of trying to find a cure, I had undergone several
colonoscopies, which is where the doctor incinerates a small camera
up the patient's gluteus maximus and takes pictures of their Colin."
Who's Colin, and where is he, exactly?
The next group comes from what I call the "tru dat" category:
"All men have an air around them that the majority of women I know
would disagree with."
My wife and daughters would concur with that sentiment, especially
after I've had Mexican food.
"Some areas of the medical field reek more than others."
Just ask Colin.
"I figured that my brother could teach me to drive, and we would get
our brother-sister bonging time while learning from each other."
What a brother!
And speaking of bonging,
"With his thought-provoking verses, Wordsworth is often known as the
Pot of Nature."
Maybe after a little bonging (or Wordsworth), you'll appreciate these
next few from the "Is this a dream?" category:
"His liver broke all of the promises she made to him."
Apparently, he turned to alcoholismand his liver identifies
"In the summer time, my pet coon, Moon, loved to climb up my leg and
onto my shoulder to watch me wash dishes while wearing shorts that
was very uncomfortable."
Is this racoon wearing Daisy Dukes?
"My grandmother was a small, bluish, gray headed woman that was always
cheerful and witty."
Commas and hyphens are important, especially when describing blue
And speaking of grandmothers,
"I will always be touched by my grandmother's Sunday dinner."
Somebody grab the Pepto!
While we're on the subject of touching, these next few come from the
"unintentionally erotic" category:
"As I jumped from cement block to cement block and headed toward the
front steps, I could hear something rutting under the porch."
And speaking of rutting,
"As we opened the door, I heard a screech-like noise. I humped with
"When I stepped onto the green, I was ready to probe myself to everyone
at the tournament."
Finally, some golf worth watching!
"When he got his divorce and started dating, more problems aroused
I'll bet they did.
"After all of the sightseeing, we were hungry, so we found a spot
to feel our bellies."
Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
Finally, these last few come from the "fun with invented language"
"During Geoffrey Chaucer's time, the Medieval Church and some of those
associated with it were put on a pedal stool they didn't deserve."
Is that like an antique unicycle?
And my personal favorite,
"My father was always cheap, so we had the most dreaded fishing boat
that didn't ever want to crank. That day, for some reason, it crunk
on the first try!"
That was one crunk fishing boat!
I hope it's obvious by now that teaching English is not all fun, games
and pedal stools.
But the love teachers have for students does make the job rewardingjust
not enough to feel our bellies.