A semester flies by. Today marked the half-way point. I gave two exams to my two third year Western Culture classes, as they are just doing an 8 week course. In first class a girl called Natasha asked for the PowerPoint Presentation I made because she said the content was interesting, she wanted to study it. I was quite flattered and impressed with her and ashamed I didn't do better. Also a tad paranoid she might have been asked to obtain it by her superiors. Anyway I copied the whole Rome Lecture folder to her USB stick. And in that class, I sent one student out the exam for talking.
In the second, I did likewise, and it was a bit harsh because I hadn't begun the questions. But he'll sit the exam later and be passed, it's no skin off his nose. When that class was over I spoke to a girl called Daisy for half an hour afterwards. I initially asked her to stay behind to talk about cheating in the exam and generally not putting any effort into the course in general. She was quite honest and said she didn't have any interest in studying but had to go to uni to improve her job prospects. Out of the 13 questions I asked, I gave her half a mark. I asked who the first Roman Emperor was and she said Julius Caesar. In fact it was Augustus but Julius laid the foundation. The exam should have been easy to pass because I went through it right before the students actually took it to give them a reasonable hope of success. Unfortunately Daisy mysteriously had 3 right answers to 3 questions I had asked my other students in the first afternoon class. Other students may have done the same, I haven't looked at the papers yet.
You can imagine that half an hour is quite a long time. But this girl is not conventionally pretty and like a lot of the poorer girls in these parts she has halitosis, so I wasn't there to admire the view. But when you get these students in a one to one situation they can really open up and I really want to give them something, even if it's a ticking off after they've 'failed' a course and I feel I've failed as a teacher. I mean it's still good English practice and she was very chatty and reminded me a bit of a rat. She was very slight, with thin, mousy hair and very pale blue eyes and a slightly whiney voice and she was rather likeable, I thought. I really need to find a way to get to know my students. First there is Natasha, who doesn't say a word to me and then comes and asks for the PPT, then there was this girl, this other little soul. I assume.
The classrooms are so scruffy and dreary. They are designed to be as depressing as possible. How can I inspire my crew? In my view, China should build sailing ships and have students sail around with foreign teachers as their captains. They'll soon learn the ropes.
The girl. The girl. I'll probably have to fail her. She claimed that she just happened to hear some students talking about the test and stuck to this story rigidly but her answers were also in the right chronological order, it's more likely a friend prepped her.
Later, los tres amigos rocked up for English corner but the room was being used for something else. No one had told us. We felt like we usually do. Grateful to have more time off, but forgotten, like some stuff left in a cupboard years ago.
And yesterday I shot a scene with Joe and today I edited it. All the scenes have names. This one's called 'Let's drink to that'. I still have 34 scenes to shoot and I've got about 2 months to do it. That's one every two days, which sounds doable but I'm working around the guys' timetables. Randy said he'd do his just after the holiday but he got sidetracked. It's going to be tight.