Friday, June 27, 2008

Not fair

Today I bumped into the boss who thinks I'm funny. We exchanged greetings. Then I said,

"There's something I've been meaning to email you about."

"Yes?" he said, smiling expectantly. He seemed to think I was about to come out with something hilarious.

"Will it upset anybody terribly if I fail twenty-one out of forty students?" I asked.

His smile faltered.

"Um... that's a lot," he said.

"I could probably make it fourteen out of forty," I said. "Or maybe, if I really push them in the last two weeks, and juggle the numbers, ten."

"Wha– wha– that's still a lot!" he said, so I explained the problem.

He listened, asked a couple of questions, and thought about it. Then he made my day by saying.

"Well, if your other classes are doing all right, and you can justify it with evidence, then sure, go ahead. I'll back you up. Sounds like they deserve to fail."

"I've kept every test they've written, and every bit of homework they didn't write," I said. "You've just made my day. I'm allowed to apply some standards! Yay!"

Then he got a funny little grin and added,

"At least you can be sure your repeater class next semester won't be cancelled for lack of students!"

I gaped at him.

"Oh shit," I said. "I'd forgotten about that."

And it was true. I had forgotten. The two courses I teach in that department, which are required, are in the first and second semesters. Let's say they are called English 1 and English 2. They are in the first and second semesters respectively. But the repeater class for students who failed either of them the first time (in anybody's classes in that department), which I am also teaching, have been scheduled so that English 2 is in the first semester and English 1 in the second, so that students can repeat immediately after failing. And THAT means that any students I fail will come back to haunt me next semester. Not only that, I'll have them in TWO classes, because they can do English 2 at the same time they are repeating English 1.

I said a very rude word.

"THAT'S NOT FAIR!" I shouted after my boss as he took off down the corridor, laughing. "THERE SHOULD BE A LAW AGAINST IT! YOU SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO SIMULTANEOUSLY MAKE MY DAY AND RUIN MY YEAR!"

I suppose I should be reassured that my boss still thinks I am funny, but I'm not feeling very reassured. That laugh sounded more like an evil cackle to me.


Roy said...

Ouch. There was an ongoing debate where I worked whether or not repair technicians should be dispatched back out on their own repeat trouble reports. Send the same guy back out, or send a different guy who may look at things with a different perspective? It seemed fair to re-send the same tech, but in practice, sending a new guy worked better. Anyway--sorry.

Sravana said...

Hell, flunk 'em again, I say!
Perhaps then they will be sick enough of you to actually prepare for your class!

:) :) :)

I've just started studying Japanese, and I must say that it's ... um ... interesting. ;)

Anonymous said...

slightly off topic (!) but the US Embassy is on Facebook, and on Facebook as "English Teachers in Japan"
But what got me was their listing Wikigogy - "Excellent online wiki resource for English lesson plan materials. Also, it's a wiki, so add your own ideas!"
Who knew? Kay