Unfiltered Story #32676

Unfiltered | April 6, 2017

(I work as a tutor for ESL students who are in the lowest-level courses. This particular student is a 30-something man from Baghdad, Iraq. He came from a family that had done well under the Hussein regime, and is very resentful of Americans and despises women. He speaks English well but refuses to see why he has to learn to write in English if he is going to be an engineer in the US. The first time I meet him he comes in looking for our one male tutor, who is part-time and not in. Furious, he tosses his assignment on a table.)

Student: “Here! This is due in 30 minutes; I will be back to pick it up!”

Tutor: “We can’t—”

Student: “Get it done!” *slams the door*

Tutor: “What do we do?”

Me: “Leave it right where he dropped it. I will talk to him when he comes back.”

(Later:)

Student: “Why isn’t my paper done?! I will get an ‘F’!”

Me: “We do not write your paper for you. That is not our job, and if you have anyone else write your paper for you and turn it in you will be committing plagiarism and be expelled.”

(The student storms out, but comes in the next week with a paper he has written in Arabic and then used an online translator; as a result it makes little sense.)

Student: “My teacher insists I wrote this and translated it; she is a fool and a liar. This is about my beautiful country and that is why she doesn’t like it!”

Me: “[Student], when I try to add a comma here at the end of the paragraph, it instead adds it to the beginning. You did not use Word to write this. What did you do?”

Student: “I wrote it at home and then changed it to English.”

Me: “Well, you need to sit here and rewrite it, in English, before I can help you with any of the grammatical issues.”

Student: “This is ridiculous! I will own an architect firm soon! Why would I need to write in your stupid language?!”

Me: “Dude, if you own it in the US, the majority of the people here only speak and read English.”

Student: “It’s a stupid language and I shouldn’t have to waste my time. You write this essay in English for me.” *goes on rant about me being a woman and should do as he, a man, says*

Me: “Yeah, no. Either re-type this in English, or you will fail this assignment as well.”

(I walk off. He actually did do the work, angrily though. That conversation repeated through the first half of the semester, along with attempts at cheating and making every other female tutor cry until I – despite being the youngest – am the only one who will work with him. Then he realizes he is actually passing the class and starts to request to work with me and begins to be a tiny bit polite, until the final when he reverts and uses that weird translation program again and comes in two hours before his final paper is due and demands I fix it and leaves. I make a copy and then delete his assignment. He comes back.)

Me: “Your program crashed this computer and ate your work. You are going to have to re-write your paper.”

Student: *turns white* “But I didn’t— I mean, that program—”

Me: “Your teacher and I have both warned you about that program and your use of it repeatedly.”

Student: “But you are both just women!”

Me: “You have an hour and half; better get to work.”

(Since this was such a low level class, the final paper is only three-five pages long, and he gets it done on time.)

Me: “Okay, good job.”

(I am nice and quickly fix spelling and grammar, etc. then I give him the copy I made of the one that I deleted.)

Me: “Do you see the difference?”

Student: *silently reads both, looks at me* “…yes.”

(He passed the class, continued to request me, stopped using the program, learned to write in English, stopped making the other (female) tutors cry, and at least in my hearing, never spoke badly about women again. He ended up graduating as well. I just want to say: he sucked, but the rest of the Middle-Eastern students I had were lovely.)

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