Thursday, June 9, 2011

A boring story from someone else's job.

I laughed though, because it's my story and my job.  You may remember that I call one of my co-teachers Rose because she's about as quick as the dumb one from the Golden Girls (pictured).  Most of my co-teachers bring nothing to my classes but Rose likes to contribute in her own clumsy way.  Here's how our classes together have worked for the last 10 months:
  1. Rose provides a cloze (fill-in-the-blanks) worksheet covering the textbook's dialogs.
  2. I lead students through the textbook up to the first dialog.
  3. I coerce students to listen and fill in the blanks.
  4. I coerce students to say the missing words as I reveal them via PowerPoint.
  5. Once the complete script is on screen Rose talks about it in Korean for 2-6 minutes.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 for the second dialog.
  7. I coerce students to perform speaking exercises.

Students are understandably unenthusiastic about this whole process and are fantastically bored by the part where Rose lectures them.  They hate it.  Not as much as the speaking bit of course, which they generally won't attempt unless their arms are twisted, no matter how stupid easy it is, because there's nothing cool about working your glottis and getting your mouth all pumped up with spit if you aren't going to spray sassy Korean with it, and sometimes they even--without any apparent sense of irony--refuse to speak English in English, e.g. this dwarfish fool I constantly discipline (today I was stressing to him that I am the Eye of Sauron (I see all!) and he cannot possibly turn 90 degrees to his left and talk to his friend across the aisle without me noticing because I'm looking right at him, having interrupted the conversation not 6 seconds ago, and shading the right side of your face with your hand only makes you a more conspicuous idiot,  I mean come on) telling me "I no English" rather than attempt to read the sentence printed in his book, viz. "What seems to be the problem?"  But that's neither here nor there.

Getting back on track:  ever since I got here, every Monday a random student has brought me a stack of Rose's creations.  We (Rose and I) never discussed it; she just deployed one of them and after the fact said, referring to the next week, "I will make the worksheet" and giggled nervously, leading me to believe this would become a routine.  And it did.

I had no love for her sheets.  Her deletion of words often seemed random or poorly considered and the activity was boring for students and tedious for me.  But she always insisted on the worksheet's completion and was troubled when it didn't happen.  Actually it killed a lot of time and I came to appreciate it.  I'm not one to complain about boring things that waste class time.  The status quo worked well enough for me.

This is all in the past tense because things have changed.  There was no worksheet Monday morning.  When it failed to arrive before my first class I went to the copy room myself and found the shelves bare.  I shrugged, assumed Rose had finally dropped the ball--an event I have long anticipated--and used something else to kill that 15 minutes of class.  I don't teach with Rose until Wednesday and expected she would have the worksheets then.

She did.  She brought just enough for one class and said, with a nervous giggle, "I didn't prepare the worksheet."  Indeed.  Thursday morning Chortle brought me a stack of 400 copies and a message from Rose:  because she's busy and the worksheets are for "[my] class" I should make them myself henceforth.  I guess she can no longer abridge her life to type one page of simple dialogue, randomly delete some words and tell the copy guy to copy it 400 times.

I might be angry if I were more invested in this situation.  In reality I'm amused because Rose's attempt at passing the buck is an abortion.  Her last worksheet covers the final textbook unit of the semester.  Nothing more is needed til next term, when I'll be a fading memory.

And that's the story of how Rose refused to do the work after having already done it all.

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