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avant-garde_chauvintist wandering through the garden of ideals

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CHINA | Wednesday, 9 January 2008 | Views [1339]

Ok. I know I've been a slacker as far as this bit of literary enjoyment is concerned. But if you'll indulge, I'll explain.

Lauren and Big Gretch visited and that time was consumed with classes, rearranging classes, and many many touristy things. Overall, it was crazy, but great to see them while I'm in China. I most enjoyed Mom watching me with wide-eyed wonder as I bargained my ass off in Chinese. She let me do the talking at first, but she soon got the hang of it. I greatly enjoyed having the pressure off for a few of those deals. Haggling is exhausting.

After they returned to the Beautiful Country (Mei Guo, the Chinese words for the United States, actually means "beautiful country"), I collapsed into giving and grading finals. That finally ended yesterday, with my last few grades inputed and emailed off.

I realized, much to my astonishment and berievement, that I prefer to be on the other end of the teacher/student relationship. My semester is completed, but I have little to show for it. I won't be receiving a grade report. I won't be sighing with relief after I scribble all of my crammed knowledge onto an exam. I won't be inching toward graduation. In a way, it's entirely anti-climatic to end a semester and have it just be over.

Further, this side of the fence means that the students are constantly pushing the limits. If haggling is exhausting, then monitoring an exam is deadening. I must have explained 80 times to each of my classes that there would be no cheating on this exam. But they tested my limits anyway. I caught roughly 6 students (at least one in each of my classes) blatantly cheating. Three students actually had the vocabulary words written in size 2 font on a sheet of paper in their hands during the exam. Word of warning to those still studying: looking at your hand instead of your exam is completely obvious. And hopefully you will get a 0% because of it.

The result? Nothing. My bosses just said give them a 0%, which I had already planned to do. What's worse is my percentages for the exam didn't leave them failing the class. So of the six students cheating, NONE of them failed or had any punishment for tempting fate. Oh well, what can I do?

Now, I'm completely done with everything that I'm committed to for the semester. And I'm off to see Asia again. But because my former boss is such a jack ass and only in the last few days sent the paperwork ending my contract with him, I have to wait two weeks to get my passport back so they can transfer my visa to Beijing. Yay.

After I get it back, I'm going to meet up with some friends in southern China, see the "Hawaii of China" (Hainan), and hopefully take a side trip to Thailand, as I have multitudes of time before I have to teach again. I found a cheap flight. And, I checked the weather, it's 90 degrees down there. I desperately need a tan.

Tags: Family

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