Thursday, July 05, 2007

the first week: done

It was an easy week, except for the heat and humidity. My students are largely good this time around... I hope they'll actually stick around. I say this because summer traditionally marks the beginning of slippage in student attendance as students become a bit more blasé about their education. In the winter semester that goes from January onward, students seem more focused and energetic. Perhaps this is because it's the new year, and everyone is charged with new hope. (It also helps that cold weather keeps you more animated.) Summer, especially in a humid country, usually means lethargy, laziness, sloth, and indolence.

My favorite season, in terms of personal preference, is fall, but academically speaking, fall marks the beginning of the gloaming: the year is winding down. This knowledge, coupled with the vestiges of aestival lethargy, allows the girls to continue the downward trend in attendance. Students also tend to skip more during the fall semester because they give our non-credit courses low priority; their for-credit courses are, obviously, more important to them.

I don't have a favorite class yet; it's still too early to tell what kinds of groups I have, but we'll know more in about two weeks. Students with a natural inclination to skip or arrive late to class will show their true colors soon enough. Two girls in my Level 3 class have already made it onto my shit list for constantly whispering. Next week I'm going to embarrass them with a public announcement about their bad habit. If the result is that they leave the class in shame and resentment, well... no skin off my balls. The Level 3 class is already overloaded with thirteen students (my ideal group size would be about six to eight), so losing Fric and Frac would be just fine with me.

But even Fric and Frac aren't as bad as some girls I've taught. Whispering is something we've all done in class; what really bothers me is when a student's inattentiveness is so pronounced that s/he routinely fails to understand what activity we're doing, what page we're on, etc. I can't help thinking such a student is downright stupid. I know that's not the case, but the thought arises unbidden whenever I deal with the terminally clueless.

My supervisor told me that some of us teachers will be teaching a two-week program of morning classes to male students who are shipping off to the navy. The classes will begin around 9 or 9:30AM. This is only for two weeks, so I don't really mind. Not that I have any right to complain: my current schedule is light as a feather.

So now it's the weekend. We have Friday off, and I've got books to read, a long, religion-related blog post to prepare, and a Saturday barbecue to attend. Not a bad life.


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