Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I TOLD them so!!!

Well, I've marked all my exams. So my work for this contract is almost at an end. I should be feeling pretty happy about that. But I'm not. But I'm not angry or sad. Here, let me try to illustrate my feelings. Coincidentally, I tried, (and that's the operative word here), to teach my students about feelings this semester. The following are two scans of the front page of one of my students' final exam. Her name is Mi Sun.

Note the fine detail of Mi Sun's own rendition of my illustrations. Note the hearts on the page and the perfect grammar and spelling of the message "I love you." There's so much on this page! Notice the picture in the upper right corner she hastily drew. It looks to be a plate of food. The exam was given from 10 to 11 a.m. so it's my guess that Mi Sun might have been hungry. Note the TV with the tiny Oriental talk show host on it. I imagine all my students would much rather have been at home watching TV at the time of the test. I enjoyed Mi Sun's first answer. What is he doing right now? He is feeling. I almost gave her a mark for that. I suppose he IS indeed feeling. And from her second answer, I think it might be possible to explain all the sweat. "In but". Maybe I'm a bit of a homophobe but when I think of in butt, I tend to look a lot like the illustration. I probably should have given her half a mark for creativity. I DID give her half a mark for her answer "to soad". I do feel that I was very generous in my allowing "soad" instead of "sad". My favourite part of the page is the Korean writing below the "I Love you". It says, "Doh ray mi fah sol la SHI doh"!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha :-) So, while Mi Sun may have a future as an artist, she certainly shouldn't get a job that involves English or probably music. Her final grade on the exam was 5.5/45. Not bad for the class she was in. But I think her test was the one I enjoyed marking more than any other.

If you read my previous post, you will remember that I asked the school if I could give my own final exams during class time. I gave them plenty of good reasons why this was the best way to do things. Two of them were to discourage cheating and so that if students don't understand something on the test, I will be there to answer questions for them. Well, I was allowed to proctor only one of my five classes' exams. There were no problems in that class. However, one of my classes got a proctor who either allowed them to cheat or HELPED them. And I think it was the latter. My best student is in this class and he got 42.5/45 on his test. About what I expected him to get. But 15 other students ALSO got 40 or more. Students who failed the midterm and never came to class got 40 or more. One student who spent most of her time in class looking in a mirror or into her phone got 40 or more. One student who doesn't know the alphabet got 40 or more! In the three other classes that wrote this exam 3 students out of 110 got 40 or more! Nobody failed in the cheating class. The average was 35/45. Unfortunately one of my smartest students must have been sitting too far away from all of the cheating and she only got 29. So most of the rockheads in the class beat her. After all her hard work coming to class every day, studying, listening, answering questions, she got one of the lower marks in the class. She was probably distracted by the cheating. Or maybe she saw some of the answers the boneheads of the class were writing and thought that they couldn't possibly be right.

In comparison, Mi Sun's class had a completely different proctor. A no nonsense proctor. One the students are afraid of. She didn't allow cheating. Unfortunately, I think the students misunderstood some questions on the test and were too afraid of her to ask about them. Or maybe they asked and she didn't know. Or maybe she doesn't speak English. Either way, 23 people failed and only 9 passed. One of the students got 40 but nobody was able to copy her. The class average was 14/45.

I have been told by my supervisor to give 35% of my students A, 35% get B and 30% get C, D and F. I have also been told that I have to keep the marks fairly uniform between the classes. AND I also have to give marks that are similar to the marks the other English teachers here are giving. Things would have been fine if I were only allowed to do my exams in my class time. Now I'm gonna spend the next few days just pulling marks out of my ass. Or as Mi Sun might say, "out but". After that I think I'll NEED a vacation. Wish me luck.

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