I've been teaching English to an adult student for about a year and a half now. He's the director of the local branch of an international building and public works company. He has individual lessons twice a week with me, so he's been teaching me all about potholes, soil excavation and the composition of bitumen.

Thing is, the other engineers in that company are jealous. Indeed, the director was getting English lessons and they weren't. They all stand the same chance of being transferred to an English-speaking country, so they all wanted to be offered English lessons. This was six months ago.

We've finally set up English lessons for all the engineers. The idea is that the trainees will have regular English lessons during their time in Mayotte, which can be anywhere from a couple of months to several years. Some will leave during the training, others will arrive, so it's going to be a pretty heterogenous group with rarely the same people from one month to the next.

I interviewed them all and put them into groups: beginners, intermediate, advanced. And promptly lost the paper where I'd written it all down, but I'm not telling them that. After a bit of scheduling fuss, we're ready to start tomorrow afternoon. Except that they don't want the lessons to be in their meeting room. They want the lessons to be outside their company offices, so as not to be distracted by ringing phones (which they'll probably bring with them anyway) and pinging e-mails. So we put the lessons in my company's office, half an hour away. They didn't like that either, as it's too far away for them. The engineers, who had been mithering about having English lessons for the last six months, suddenly declared there would be an absence rate of 50% each lesson because of the distance and their various meetings-that-could-not-be-avoided.

And now? We haven't even started yet, but they're grumbling again. They've got their group lessons... but the director had INDIVIDUAL lessons. Mutter mutter mutter.