Monday, June 14, 2010

It's a choice

So I was talking recently to one of my friends who is teaching here in Korea about the dilemma of failing students at a uni.  It seems that not many of the Korean professors will do it, and will almost never do it to a senior.  You pay the money, come to 11/16 classes, and you get the degree is generally how it works around here.

Now, my class standards are low.  Shockingly low compared to what I went through in Canada.  They are in completely different stratospheres actually.  You'll pass my class if you come to *most* of the classes, show up for the 2 written, and 2 speaking tests (having studied for an hour or two before-and I give them the questions beforehand), and do 2 homework assignments that take about an hour each.  That's it.  But, at least 10% of each class can't quite manage this and end up with astoundingly low grades of like 24%.  So, I fail them.

Then, they will inevitably come to my office with the, "I'm sorry teacher, my father is very angry, please help me, sorry, sorry, sorry."  It used to pull at my heart strings until my friend helped me shift my thinking.  Now, I use the, "It was your choice."  It was your choice, my student whether to come to class or play with your friend,  or sleep in.  It was your choice whether to leave early enough to allow for a busy shuttle bus or to cut it too close so you missed the class.   It was your choice to pick a school that was 3 hours away from your house.   It was your choice to do the homework or not.  I'm not your mother to be chasing after you for it.  It was your choice to cheat on the exam, so that I had to give you a zero.  It was your choice to just skip the exam and lose the 15% that went along with it.  It was your choice to not study for the test, even when I give you the questions ahead of time.  It was your choice to not try hard to speak English in class so that you had no participation points. It was all just your choice and now, once it's too late, and you have an "F," it's not my problem, it's yours, my students.  See you next year perhaps.  

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