Walking around campus one sees the same kind of reaction I described during midterms, with students looking somewhat shellshocked…
This afternoon I taught a review session to a group of students tha are normally lively, quick to repeat and catch on, and, well, normally they’re pretty good. Today it was like teaching a class of
mannequins… waterlogged mannequins dredged up by drunken salvage boat pilots.
I kept asking them why they were performing so badly all of a sudden, and at first I just got silly excuses like, “We studied this dialogue one month ago!” for something they’d studied a mere 2 weeks before. Finally, after class, one of the students pointedly apologized, explained that he had a different English test the same day, was studying English phrases like crazy, and had all his other tests to study for.
Which is why you shouldn’t take two English conversation classes of different levels at the same time, I said. He agreed, and apologized very sincerely. He explained that it was obvious the students had disappointed me today, and he and the others promised to study hard for tomorrow.
I wish I could say I wasn’t really disappointed but I’m not yet jaded enough to not feel something about it. Not so much taking it personally as much as, well, feeling like all that time practicing was just sort of a waste. But… we’ll see how they do tomorrow, I suppose.
Twitters… some students, paradoxically, have a light heart these days. They’re relaxed because the English class means little to them, they’ve done the minimum work, and regardless of their grade they are happy to be done with the class.
But most of the smiles are on the faces of the teachers here… holidays are coming soon, we almost feel as if we’re on our planes home or to whatever exotic places we are going. As tense as the office is about a great deal of things, and as much work as there remains ahead of us, the holidays are in sight now.
As for me? So much to do… and I have a test to give in ten minutes. Off I go… with a smile on my face.