Thursday, September 11, 2008

High School Hell -- bullshit marking

I've been dreaming about having a meaningful class for almost 2 years now, but my students don't find my classes relevant because of a number of things.

First of all, most have never had a meaningful conversation class. Secondly, I don't give my students marks. Thirdly, I am a foreigner and so I am amusing but I shouldn't be considered seriously unless you meet me in a dark alley, in which case who knows what might happen -- I could do anything.

Finally, after much pressure on my part, my Korean English teaching counterparts (several as you should gather from the plural) have agreed that in order to help the students learn, it might be a good idea if I gave them a mark for the content of my classes. So, my Korean co-teachers put their heads together and decided that I should give my students written assignments which I would then mark, and thusly, give them a grade.

Capital idea, except that I guess it never occured to my colleagues that I have more than 700 students! From a purely mathematical level let's consider the scale of my problem. If I spend 2 minutes marking an assignment from each of my 700 students then I've spent -- 23 hours marking a single assignment! Yes, that's right, that's 1400 minutes or 23.33333333333333 hours just for me to mark a written assignment that takes 2 minutes to mark.
Naturally, this occured to me immediately and I'm afraid my diplomacy slipped as I said:
 "Go to hell, do you know how many hours of marking that would take me?"
My colleagues graciously offered to do the written assignment marking and assigning themselves. Considering that none of them has more than 120 students that seems to be a more reasonable way of handling that particular lapse of sanity.
So, now, I'm just pretending to mark my students in the way that I think would be best (based on conversation and attitude), and just hoping that they don't find out that my marks aren't going to be reflected on their report cards!

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