19 July 2007

Robotic Education

I was pissed off yesterday.

My class runs for 3 hours every Monday and Wednesday afternoon. There are a handful of students. It usually is a lively and intimate group, but some are just the epitome of rudeness.

I give homeworks every meeting, and people are also supposed to turn in homeworks every meeting. So what some people do is that they come to class, submit their homeworks, and since I pass the homeworks early on, they get it, and then leave.

I don't give credit for that with regard to their attendance, as far as I know, they did not "attend" my class. Look it up in the dictionary what that word means.

I initially pondered on whether I should give the homework out at the end of the class, to make people stay. But then, I thought, if they don't want to, then fine. Why would I attempt to make them get a higher grade when they themselves don't want a higher grade? If they want their attendance grade lowered, then fine with me.

So, I stick to my original design. Give out the homeworks early on, so those ones who are not interested in attending will leave the moment they get the new homework, and I have a lively discussion with those who remained and are sincerely interested in the class.

Plus, I design my homeworks in the way that most of the questions can only be answered by those who remained in class.

But one really pissed me off. This one student didn't get the previous homework, because he wasn't present. So he asked me early in class yesterday whether he could get the previous homework. I said that I don't have it with me, and he should follow me to my office after class.

So guess what? He leaves the class. I thought that he already returned home. But no, I was wrong. After dismissing the class three hours later, he comes back in the classroom, and waits for me to go to my office.

I asked him what's the problem? Because he obviously was in campus, he just opted to not attend my class. He even waited for me to finish class and get the homework.

Man, you are paying for this class and yet you waste it!

His answer to my question of what is the problem was that he just wanted the credit and move on, nothing personal. Wow. I bow down to that. Nothing personal.

I told him that it may be nothing personal to him, but it is extremely personal to me. No, I do not take this personally, but I put my time and effort to this class in preparation. I literally do a song and dance to these people so that they would learn, and yet some people just do not seem to see that. The greatest joy I can get from teaching this class is when I see people understanding what I am saying and seeing that there are actually these different stuff that are interesting in the world's languages. I am not a robot, I do not teach in a mechanical and impersonal way whose goal is only to convey information to people and give them a high grade. No, I feel bad if I have to give a low grade to people. Because I see these people self-destruct, collapse, and die, and I don't like that to happen.

But some people just don't care.

I guess I should focus my attention more to those who deserve it.

Whew, life is indeed interesting. Ok, enough of that. Here is another one of my Quito at Night Series. Enjoy the glowing lights and the romantic horse-carriages. By the way, nobody seemed to guess the language of the song I was playing for the last 2 days. It was sung in Albanian, in case people were wondering.

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