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Hello Midterms!

September 22, 2009

It’s finally time for the students to start hating me.

To prepare for the midterm, I gave the students a handout last week with fifteen answers to questions I will ask for the speech test.  The sentences are pretty short and the students are allowed to give different answers as long as the grammar is correct and the words are clear. So, as is typical, half of the students studied and the rest were cramming as I got in the door this morning. So I heard each student answer three of the fifteen questions then read the scores. It was chaos.

The students that did well (10 out of 10 points) were ecstatic and everyone else was pissed off. I tried to tell the 8’s and 9’s that their scores were more than decent but they would not hear it. Well, sorry guys I’m not gonna give a perfect score when you’re missing words. One female student received an 8, mostly because she forgot two words in a five word sentence …she was absolutely devastated; I felt awful but my co-teacher insisted that I made the right decision. I have to note that I’m sure many of my students, maybe half, attend extra private schooling that costs their parents thousands of dollars…the pressure to succeed in academics here is overwhelming and you really gotta  feel sorry for the students who failed despite the private schooling. HOWEVER, having taught a few after school classes, I’m also aware that the extra help does not guarantee success in the classroom…some students sit in the back, some doodle, some won’t practice speaking.

Where am I going with the post? I’m trying to figure out why I feel so bad…but I’m having a really hard time. I think the students had adequate time to prepare, I gave them all of the answers, I even gave second and third chances to answer when the initial response was silence or a defeated sigh. Yet, I feel awful.


One of the questions I asked was “What do you think about roses?” To which the most common answer has been “I think they are beautiful” but of course my cocky overachiever’s answer is “I think roses are beautiful, teacher,  and you are, too.”  Wow.

Also, a prime of example why the listening part of conversation practice is essential. I asked the question “Where am I going to plant the roses?” and got the response “The best flower for my enemy is a rose because it means “Beware”” Hmm guys, let’s listen a bit more closely next time, k?

PS. I remember memorizing poetry in French in High School then reciting it in front of the class. I didn’t get a perfect score…not once. It was so frustrating because I knew all the words but if I faltered or hesitated, the teacher would start taking points off. Just thinking on it makes me a little angry but I know that the test wasn’t really about the words at all, more about knowing the language well enough to make is flow easily. Turn outs, the more you understand the meaning of the words, the easier they are to repeat. hmm.

Ok, I feel better.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Joey permalink
    September 22, 2009 1:30 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that. I didn’t notice, even though I came to you, how frustrated you felt in the morning class. Don’t be so distressed. How’s your journey to the immigration office? I hope you were not in trouble to get there. Congratulations!

    • aukissed permalink*
      September 22, 2009 11:01 pm

      Please don’t worry! I’m getting over it. Anyway! I got my ARC!!!!! AND it took less than a minute, I didn’t even have to wait in line!!


  2. Matt permalink
    September 22, 2009 4:35 pm

    Guess who called me today.


    I’m going nucking futs.

    • aukissed permalink*
      September 23, 2009 12:58 am

      This is blowing my mind. I hope they’re super nice to you. Also, please email me Jon’s email address asap!

  3. September 24, 2009 10:00 am

    you have to be mean to those little fuckers. it’s the only way to be nice.

    • aukissed permalink*
      September 24, 2009 11:50 am

      Yeah, it’s tough for me though. I did find that insulting the entire class tends to work better than individuals as I guess the good students want to prove something and beat the unruly kids into submission.

      I told one rowdy class of third graders that they were the farthest behind in the book because they were too loud in class and the class before was awesome. From that point on they got their act together and went out of their way to change my mind “Teacher, are we better than the other class? Yes?!” The competition ’round here is immense.

      • September 24, 2009 1:29 pm

        i was thinking more along the lines of tough love. i’m not good at it. i want to give my students the freedom to engage in legitimate inquiry, but i’ve found everywhere i’ve taught that you lay off and they use that time to bullshit. it sucks, because then you’re forced to become the sort of teacher you absolutely despise. the alternative is to begin to hate the kids rather than feel sorry for them that they have to sit through your boring lecture.

        i suppose i come off as remarkably cynical, but i think it’s just a natural byproduct of industrial education, which exponentially worse here. i mean, shit, we have ~700 students. how’s that supposed to work?

  4. aukissed permalink*
    September 25, 2009 12:20 am

    Yeah I gave up on learning all my students’ names…except the funny ones.

    I’m still a pretty new teacher and have all the optimism and light-hearted good nature that come with that. It’s also starting to become clear that teaching English comes second to getting kids excited about it. I’d much rather have my kids bullshitting in English than sleeping or hating me.

    That being said, I’m glad I’m keeping this blog as I’m sure I’ll have a much different opinion six months from now.

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