19 November 2007

Student-Kings

Its that time of the year that we teachers here dread. Exam processing time. Not that marking scripts were terrible - its actually the simplest part. What is the most difficult and tiring part for us is chasing after our students, begging them to come to class and do their assignments so that we can pass them.

There is an understanding here that we have to attain a minimum of 95% passes for all our classes. The students also know, after a while, that it is very difficult for them to fail. So they do what they like, which is, come late, sleep or play PSP in class, talk or blast their music loudly. What can we do as teachers? We can scold them. They will then 'switch-off' mentally and not turn up for your lessons. Or, we can ignore them and just concentrate on those who want to listen - which is what I do.

Those who are listening form about slightly less than a quarter of the class. The majority do not and also do not turn up for class. For them to pass the module, we then have to call and cajole them to turn up and do their assignments. If they don't turn up, we have to write and seek help from their class advisers. If that is still of no use, we have to turn up at their core module tests to 'catch' them to do the assignments. If that still fails, we have to wait for them at the exam hall, and catch them to do their assignments after their main exam papers.

And once they complete the 20 minute assignment, we pass them, eventhough their attendance could be as low as 1-2 out of 18 lessons. Are they kings or what?

Sigh. Such is the system that we are in. We are not really educating as they are not interested in the non-core modules. It is indeed sad that they are short sighted now and do not see the long term benefits of the module.

Well, if not for anything else, it's a great training ground for patience for me. I am learning to take it in my stride and minister/teach those who are interested. Thankfully, in each cohort, there is always 1-2 who'll made you day. Thank God for the few good ones.

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