I love teaching advanced students because I don’t have to be in ‘teacher mode’. I can be more natural and I learn a lot from arguing over language. Yes, there are times like today when I just don’t know an answer or an expression but I explain that I can’t know everything. For instance ‘to hold the whip over someone’. I didn’t recognise it which came as a surprise to my student.
Another issue is ‘common usage’. I spend a lot of time on collocations but also what language is used today and by who and what isn’t. Here we get into different registers, demographics and cultural specifics related to language. My student(s) find this hard as they aren’t in the environment and their dictionary says a definition but not if the word is used now, before or 500 words ago. For myself, I am living abroad so am also out of time with what’s going on in my native country’s language.
This is the reason why I think all higher levels should live for a while in an English speaking environment because they have so many questions. Yet, proving that X word is not commonly used in everyday language but Y is can be difficult. I have started using a corpus which shows whether words are spoken, written for fiction etc but if I had the same which showed how common a word was, in which decade it appeared and tracked its usage that would be fab!