Hairwoman, meanwhile, has been assigning her class essays. After a boring assignment called “‘Why America is Great’” that the whole class turned in late, she has started to choose different topics, such as “‘The Best Lost Homework Excuse Ever.’” She has also been using modern topics (such as the Internet) to teach her students about grammar. Although she’s amused by these developments, Melinda complains that words are hard.
This passage represents one of the few instances in which connection between adults and high schoolers succeeds. Hairwoman has realized that she can engage her students by using topics that are interesting to them. The intelligent Melinda appreciates her techniques, even as she apathetically complains about the work.