I ought to be doing something.
I’m wondering what to do. I have my quiz for AS3; I did all today’s planning yesterday; I have nothing to mark and no Learner Diaries to deal with. Perhaps I should just amuse myself because we’ve got tests at the end of the week, which will mean an interminable pile of tedious marking. Tomorrow will be self-study class, which means there’s no need for me to do any planning until the end of the week.
Oh, there is, of course, the IELTS and SAT training at the end of the week. Why IELTS? I’m not even doing IELTS, which I’ve taught in the past anyway. SAT training would be more useful, but the book makes me cringe with its ridiculous advice about writing English.
Reliance on the verb to be in any of its eight parts… makes your writing sluggish and unclear. (The Official SAT Study Guide, p. 108)
But the example sentence, which is (Oops! Mr Bamboo said “is”) clumsy and dreadful, contains one instance of the verb to be, and it’s (Damn! Mr Bamboo did it again) obligatory. The sentence is (My apologies) poorly controlled, but it’s (I hope you didn’t see that) not as bad as the driveltastic (it’s [Oh dear] a word) advice which subsequently follows it.
Actually, for my little darlings, such advice (no passives; mind those abstract nouns; death to the prepositional phrase) isn’t of much use. They still struggle with coherence and cohesion, and the right tone. They still struggle with the idea of originality because they rely on knowing the right cliché for the right occasion. They still cannot grasp that they really need to plan what they write and that they need to focus on that plan.
In truth, they aren’t at that level anyway. Most of them are intermediate level users of English and thus lack adequate competence in the language. Even the best of them, who have got 7.0+ in IELTS or 100+ in TOEFL, make fools of themselves as readily as the rest.
I’m more inclined to give them stuff from a book called Reading Techniques, which is for upper intermediate learners, or Academic Vocabulary: Academic Words, although I’m already using Advanced Vocabulary in Context. I’m still looking for that third thing in the AS classes now that I’ve abandoned TOEFL. After the training, I might make it SAT English in spite of my better judgement.
Anyway, I have teaching all afternoon (bah!) and want to go off a little early so that my lunch can be a little more leisurely.