Saturday, June 20, 2009

Finally Done with Finals

By Ruth

It's my "supposed to be writing homework" time again, so naturally I am seeking distraction. One week from today we will be on an airplane headed back to America. I'm looking forward to it. Granted, the more homework I get done now the less I will have to do when I get out of here, but that's not proving strong enough motivation at the moment.

For now, I am just really-really happy to be done giving my oral final examinations. Since I teach Oral English, all of my students come in to talk with me. I had them come in in groups of two to do a dialogue and then answer a question. Not so bad, except when you have to see 330 students over the course of 825 minutes. Actually, it was probably a couple of hours longer than 825 minutes, and I felt every moment of it. I have given oral finals every semester in the past but for some reason, this semester was definitely the most painful of all. It was about as bad as having to take a bunch of final exams.

After an hour or two, my mind stops registering words. I'm sure my students must notice the dazed look on my face. The timer beeps and I realize I have no idea what they were just saying. So much for objective grading. I did hear a few interesting things, in those times I remembered to listen. Like my student who said the best gift he'd ever received was a toothbrush. That's either really sad or really weird, but I'm leaning toward the really weird. It was electric, I'll give him that, but he was really excited about it. It's like my sister or something.

Sometimes the lack of understanding wasn't my fault, though. The times when I would ask a question and the students started talking about something totally unrelated. The times when it would take students a minute to get out half a dozen words. The times when I couldn't quite tell if the words they were speaking were indeed English. Painful.

The first few days were also incredibly hot, and they don't really do A/C here. So I sat in a hard classroom desk craning my neck up to look at students, swatting away flies, my clothes sticking to me from sweat, grabbing at papers that keep being pushed away by the fan (which seems to have very little cooling power).
Yesterday, my last day of finals, wasn't so hot; instead it was incredibly windy. So examinations were punctuated by doors slamming every minute or so. At one point, the classroom door got stuck closed...a combination of strong winds and bad door knobs. It took me, two students inside, and a whole cluster of students outside pushing and pulling to finally get it open.

Fortunately, the pain is over. I just have a bunch of exam grade sheets to add up, a task unto itself, as I never underestimate the difficulty of addition. Next week I just have my last classes, "fun" classes. We're going to listen to a song, play some games, and probably get out early. Which will give me more time to work on the homework I'm not doing right now.

1 comment:

Anna said...

I believe that my original comment said something to the effect of wondering if you were talking about me because I wasn't all that obsessed with toothbrushes. But then I realized that perhaps I am...

Ah, see, you find toothbrushes boring because you have not yet found a toothbrush about which you are passionate. I've always thought that fancy toothbrushes like Sonicare toothbrushes are probably really nice. After all, I am rather enamored with dental hygiene. But a good simple brush like the Preserve toothbrush (which I dedicated an entire blog post to) is a) cute b)affordable and c) preserving the environment. Now who wouldn't be happy about that? In fact, Becky sent me my first Preserve toothbrush and I definitely carried it around to several friends excitedly telling them about the brilliance of the yogurt cup turned toothbrush that will turn into a playground. Honestly, it IS pretty cool...

On second thought, maybe I am rather excited by toothbrushes.