Sunday, July 23, 2006

pissy mood??!!

where do i begin???

why oh why oh why can't i just say no?!!

once again i find myself in the clutches of someone wanting me to do their homework assignment. this happened so much a few months back that i actually thought i was back in college!

altho today, i decided to sit and play stupid. i finally told them that i'm not going to do their homework assignment - that i'll look it over and tell them if something is grammatically incorrect, but i'm not doing the assignment. and honestly, i don't even think i should be checking or correcting their grammar! isn't that what the teacher is supposed to do? isn't that why they're taking english classes??? how in the world are they to learn if they don't make mistakes? the teacher will never know that they don't have a clue... if they don't make the mistakes. the thing is... ppl are lazy and don't want to learn. i realized this when i was teaching! and i see it all too often now... when i'm asked to do the assignments for others.

in the states, if you are taking a foreign language class and don't know the grammar or don't know how to speak the language, you don't pass the class. i've noticed that in Bahrain, ppl pass the classes even when their english isn't as good as it should be... especially to be taking such advanced classes in english. why is that? why aren't there stricter rules on such? money comes to my mind... the more ppl you have in class, the more money you make!

months ago, i was doing some major homework for the 'Graduate'... including reading, researching, answering questions - the whole nine yards - and their english isn't all that great, but they just finished their four-year degree. now... how is this possible? believe me... this person is really smart... very nice... dedicated... but their english skills aren't what they should be. so how could this be? how were they passed and how did they graduate?

i know this may sound bitchy... but you know, i'm just really tired of doing homework assignments for ppl. i'm not in college any more and i don't want to be. if i did, i'd be taking classes... BUT I'M NOT. and come to find out, i'm not the only one. a friend of mine experiences the same at her workplace. she's had to do homework assignments for ppl... i find that it's a trap that's hard to get out of... once you say "yes", then it becomes a ritual.

this person today, i believe, really wanted me to read the 4 or 5 page printout they had and they even handed it to me, and they wanted me to do the assignment or rather tell them what it all meant, but i just don't wan't to do it!!... and so, i finally made myself say no. yeah, they whined and complained that they had other assignments to do and didn't understand this one... but i'm not the teacher, how do i know what their teacher wants from them? why is it my job to clarify everything? because my native tongue is english? i don't think so.

why aren't the teachers noticing this stuff? don't they talk to their students? i mean, these classes aren't lecture halls filled w/ 200+ students... so what's the prob w/ the teacher? why in the hell isn't he/she more interested in his students' education? the teacher is the one that should be noticing that they can't speak english! why are these students being passed???

my problem is... i'm too nice and just don't say no as often as i should. then i wind up getting in a pissy mood over it because i'm not tough and stern w/ them. but you know, whenever i get like this and stand my ground, i get ppl asking why i'm in a bad mood or what's wrong w/ me. i swear if i don't let ppl walk all over me, then i have the problem.

and like i said, i'm not the only one. since my husband knows english well, he gets a lot of the same from some high ups.... he'll get ppl handing over their child's homework assignments and such - wanting him to make the corrections or revisions. it puts you between a rock and hard place... you don't want to do it but how do you say no to a superior?

i mean, come on... when is someone going to hold the student responsible for his/her own work??!!!! if you have parents doing this crap... no wonder you get kids that are too lazy to do the homework themselves!

i guess i should make an addt'l note w/ respect to the Graduate i speak of... and others who are in college but not getting a good education... i would have to say that i believe it falls on the shoulders of the teachers more often than not to make sure their students are learning. i know they can't take care of everyone... you can't baby people and make them learn - there has to be a wanting desire to learn on their part - but... i also believe that there are teachers in this country who aren't qualified! i know there were many times when Graduate would come to me and not have a clue w/ respect to their homework assignment. why is that? why didn't the teacher thoroughly explain the assignment and make sure each and every student understood? or maybe they did... and this person and others just don't understand the language enough to grasp it... i'm not sure but i know something needs to be done!

when i first came to bahrain, i taught school. i taught english as a second language and also taught conversation english classes. i'm not a teacher. i'm not qualified to be a teacher.. i don't have a teaching degree... and i don't speak arabic fluently! i personally believe that in order to teach students a foreign language you should 1) have a thorough knowledge of the language you're teaching or subject you're teaching and 2) know the language of your students. how else can they truly learn?! i wonder if these college professors know arabic!?

12 comments:

Puppy said...

Tooners,

I think its all because they doesn’t need English that much. I don’t know may be in Bahrain knowing English fluently is not required as long as you can explain what u want in simple english. And its not necessary it should be grammatically right.

And teachers see for example a student is smart, he is doing well in other majors and subjects, so they overstate a bit his marks on English. I am not saying its right thing, but they can do that.

As for doing homework, I totally agree with you. As long as someone does it for you, your teacher will never know where are your weak areas which are needed to be developed. For me, personally its hard to refuse people, my family are always saying me “that I am being used”. But I think if you will refuse them once, twice, on 3rd time they will get the message. In addition it would be good to explain them that u r doing that for their own good.
I know sometimes it happens that when u explain, they don’t listen, all that matters for them is for you to finish their home work, no matter what you say.

People are lazy and tend to find an easy way to make tasks done and in most cases they find someone who will do it for them.

Just be tough. You are right, you don’t have to do it.


Cheers,


Puppy.

tooners said...

Puppy,

Here in Bahrain many of the colleges have gone to an all English curriculum... so all of their classes are in English. This is why I feel that they need to know English more than many do... not that they have to have English to survive here, because that isn't the case, especially since Arabic is the language spoken in this country.

Me, personally, I feel that the educational system is flawed. If the classes are all English then the teacher should speak the language in order to better explain what is needed to the student. If a student doesn't understand English enough to understand what the assignment is... then there is a problem. And I see this happening often.

bint battuta said...

I can certainly relate to a lot of your comments, because of my experiences as a teacher! But there's worse(though I'm not talking about Bahrainis specifically)... When I was starting out as a translator I used to work for a small agency in the UK, and a lot of the work I was given appeared to be theses or dissertations from Gulf students (I assumed Saudis) who were doing postgraduate courses at British universities. They wrote in Arabic and would get it translated into English before submitting it...

The Moody Minstrel said...

Gee...this all sounds so familiar! I guess the situation here in Japan isn't so unique after all!

why aren't the teachers noticing this stuff? don't they talk to their students?

As an English teacher for the past 16 years here in Japan, I'm very much familiar with all this.

What really bugs me is the reaction of most teachers here. In the public schools where I taught first and the private academy where I teach now, the attitude among most (but thankfully not all) of the English teachers was, "I don't care if they learn anything or not as long as they get good grades. After all, grades are the only thing people look at." I always thought that to be an ironic antithesis of everything education supposedly stands for, but hey...it is a title-based culture, and titles are based on certification, not practical ability.

On the other hand, during the three-year period in between the public and private school posts I was employed at an English school whose main focus was (supposedly) practical, communicative ability. I wanted my students to make progress, so I didn't have much patience for ones that were obviously slacking or even faking their way along. I was sometimes quite harsh with them...and that led to my getting a reprimand from the manager. After all, the school was a business, so the only thing that really mattered (in the manager's mind) was that the students kept coming and, therefore, kept paying us.

It sounds to me like things are more or less the same in Bahrain, though I'm impressed with the English ability of all the Bahrainis I've met on the internet so far! I know few Japanese (including English teachers) whose English would be that good!

tooners said...

bint battula, wow, that's interesting... and it doesn't surprise me at all. i know some ppl who have their master's and Ph.D's who aren't well versed in english. this is probably why.

minstrel, now, i agree w/ you re: the Bahraini's who blog. the ones that i've met thus far are extremely intelligent and have no probs w/ english.

i'm wondering how many of these have been taught in private schools opposed to the public school system. the private schools here are different in that everything is taught in english from the start... which i think makes a big difference.

and like you say, as in japan, here in bahrain i think there are many schools that don't care about the grades... the only concern seems to be how much money they can make. i've worked for a couple of different places and that seemed to be the case w/ both and, from my experience of dealing w/ other individuals, other schools seem to be doing the same. it's a shame really because the student suffers in the end.

one guy i know went to a big school here after transferring from the states and he said it was terrible... even tho they are affiliated w/ a school from the states their teachers were bad and the classes weren't taught well.

but you know... with all of this said, a lot of it is up to the individual. if you want to learn, you will apply yourself. if you don't, then you'll find any way to zone out and just get by.

Puppy said...

a lot of it is up to the individual. if you want to learn, you will apply yourself. if you don't, then you'll find any way to zone out and just get by.

Here I agree. If you take me for example, yes I graduated from school with excellent marks. I wasn’t a nerd but I studied well. But my English was bad. I simply didn’t like the language and didn’t want to learn it, but somehow I managed to get high marks on English lesson.
I didn’t like English lessons, because of the teacher, so I was just learning the needed and then simply forgetting. After a while, year or 2, while listening to foreign music, I started to be curious to understand what are they singing about and I started to go to libraries, taking special books with tapes (HEADWAY, STREAMLINE) and started to learn on my own. I am proud of myself for that. I learnt it on my own. I want to say that its possible to learn the language on your own without referring to teacher on day to day basis, only if you WANT IT. Yes sure I had base in school, but it wasn’t that good. Imagine I was writing translation of the text in the book with pencil. So when in class we were reading text and translating it live, I already had it translated in advance. I am not saying my present English is perfect, but I think its better than average English of Azeri people.
Same was with French I really wanted to learn French I attended a free courses in French embassy once a week for 8 months, and by the end of the course when I traveled to Paris for my 20th Bday, i was understanding 90% of what people were talking about and I was talking in French so they would understand me. Unfortunately I don’t practice it for 4 yrs now, so I almost forgot it.

Don’t want to write long, but if you want to learn something, the only thing u need is a WISH. People are LAZYYYY

TechZ said...

I usually get asked to help out, but I dont like being taken advantage of, so I limit how much I help, and just try and guide them. Its hard for some, so I do try, but only to so much of an extent.

Some people just expect you to do everything for them.

Munther said...

Hi tooner..

Where shall I start from ? I have the same problem with my sister and cousin both speak and write in (Anglo-Arabic) ;) I am sure you've met people suffering the same problem ! :) Anyway, I keep receiving the same request for favours ie. please correct this or even please do this for me (sounds familiar ?) but I keep offering guidance (never do the job for them)!

I've seen shocking course works belonging to students attending courses in a certain private university. Grammar, spelling mistakes and plagiarism are not considered a huge problem, which came as a shock to me ! In the UK; where I've done my degree; and at the states, plagiarism is faced with severe punishment to the extent of being kicked out of the university. sadly this is not the case in some of the island's institutes and unis.

mae mae said...

as a college student, i cannot imagine getting away with poor language skills and/or claiming other ppl's work was my own. it just doesn't happen here. the teachers recognize each individual student's writing style after the first few assignments and if anything ever varies greatly from that style, the teacher will usually have a meeting with the student to discuss it.

and to take a foreign language and not do the work???? how in the world do they pass the exams??

and plagiarism is a big time no no. it results in an automatic failure of the course and then if you're caught a second time you face a board of high ups, like the dean and the dept. head, etc. and they either expel you or suspend you w/o refund. and it goes on some sort of educational record that would make it hard to leave behind.

i can't imagine getting such a lousy education that these issues aren't taken seriously. i definitely want and demand my money's worth out of my education. if not, there's no sense in wasting the money on it. you might as well be spending your time and money elsewhere.

Olivia said...

Grrrrrrrrrrrr, I got mad just reading this. I cannot believe you have to be put in this situation.

Fact: You don't have to do other people's homework, ever.

having said that, (darn...I sneezed 3 times really hard and forgot what I wanted to say...)

Something about...no, on to the next point:
In university, my roommate had spent most of her formative years in France, but she used to ask me to check over some of her French writing for grammar - because her learning was informal, and I'd had years of French grammar in class. I also used to check some of her English essays, as well as those of my Korean friends.

They were all very sensitive, though, and only asked if it was important to them, and they never expected me to correct every little thing.

vampyregirl said...

you have it right, people are just lazy. You could always say what my mother said and it always sent me back to my room to do my homework...."how are you ever going to learn for yourself if I do it. Apply yourself, you will be amazed at what happens!"

Greg said...

I can definitely relate to what you're saying, Munther. Plagiarism is a horrific scholastic offense that should not, in any way, be forgiven or put up with. In tel-aviv university the instructors dealt with it harshly but in grade schools, middle schools, and high schools in Israel, the issue isn't dealt with properly.

tooners: I'm sorry you have to put up with so much crap--for lack of a better word. I haven't had as much difficulty with my students, but than, I'm teaching at Berlitz where people who're very interested in really knowing the language well come to study and pay good money for it. Thus, they're forced to make their very best effort. But once I begin teaching in the university, which I hope to do within the following 10 years or so, I'll run into the same kind of "crap", I'm sure.