Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Around the Schoolyard

There have been some minor turbulence lately in what has been a fairly smooth ride through the term. Fortunately, the administration has been kind enough to support me and even try to help.

In the last week, I had a slew of students show up late to class (only one offered an excuse, which was lame). I'm not talking about a couple minutes late--these students showed up 20 minutes into class and then wanted to sign the attendance sheet that had already gone around the room. To top that off, I've had quite a few classes attempt to sign absent students' names on the attendance sheet. I don't know why they'd even try--I can count to thirty pretty quickly to see if the names match the students in class.

So, with some advice from my boss, I have implemented a new policy on attendance (which was already 10% of the final grade). All of my classes are being warned that if I find more names on the sheet than students in class, I will mark the entire class absent. Also, any students showing up after the attendance is passed around will also be marked absent.

Now, I just need to figure out what to do about the numerous students who are handing in their assignments late.

I have also found a problem with lunch on the days that I have office hours and stay on campus past 11:30 am. Each day, I've been eating some form of noodles. I do enjoy noodles, but not quite this much. The problem with the cafeteria is that there is no menu or signs indicating what food is what (even if it was in Chinese, it'd be nice). I just don't want to ask, "zhe shi shenme?" twenty times a day to find out if I can eat a meal. And, I found out that it's exactly what some of my Chinese students do during lunch--sometimes they can't even tell what the food is.

It also seems that I have to keep up my English conversation hour. I was going to shut it down since no students have come since the first time I held it five weeks ago. Today, I had two students show up (only one of which was a student in my class). We had some interesting conversation at least--somehow our topics focused on food and economics.

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