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korean University Freshman: a teachers nightmare!
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rudyflyer



Joined: 26 Feb 2003
Location: pacing the cage

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2003 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to revive this thread with a story that is getting a bit out of hand here and we don't know what to do (or it can subtitled as dumbest student)

My wife has a junior in her freshman class who has flunked this class once before. Well this student missed 13 times this semester (after 8 you flunk automaticlly) hasn't attended class from May 12 until the final June 9. Wife tells the student he flunked on attendence he takes the final anyhow. She posts grades last Fri June 13 outside the classroom.

Here is where the story gets somewhat scary. Yesterday this student starts emailing her begging her to pass him, gives her all sorts of lame excuses (I'm in student government, my English is so bad so I couldn't tell you why I was absent, If you flunk me I will have to take English a third time). She responds once saying "you were absent 13 times so there is no way I can pass you, you had a chance to explain things but you didn't" well the guy continues to email her and now he is emailing ME to ask her to change his grade. I responded with a very terse response saying not to bother us again. I've also put him on our blocked senders list for all our email addresses

I'm concerned that this guy is becoming some sort of stalker and open to any ideas how to deal with this idiot
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Real Reality



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2003 6:06 pm    Post subject: real Reply with quote

Is your boss around?
You could tell him (or her). Perhaps, you could tell a Korean colleague.

Some students will bother teachers until the day of grade submission to the main office. When is the final day?

Is not grading a joy? If you try to grade objectively with minor understandable exceptions, then you may be in for a real assault of whining and complaining. Student says, "But you gave him a .... I did not miss as many days." You say, "Well, he was in a terrible car accident. He had a medical excuse. You went to too many membership training events and club activities." Student says, "They were very important."

How much do guest professors get paid? How much more begging and complaining do guest professors have to tolerate?

Have you had any students camp outside your office? Sometimes the office is not such a safe or comfortable place to go.
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posco's trumpet



Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Beneath the Underdog

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2003 6:43 pm    Post subject: beggars Reply with quote

I've had reasonable success using the following method to forestall grade beggars.


1. I tell the students ahead of time (eg in syllabus, or at least before the final exam) that I welcome questions about grades, and if students think there are any genuine problems, they should bring it to my attention. However, frivolous requests to change grades will result in a LOWERING of the grade by one letter.

"If you wish to contest your grade, be aware that if your claim is found to be frivolous, your grade will DROP by one letter grade."


2. I use a completly transparent grading process, and on request, will explain its use in detail and in context (sometimes absurd detail --- PM me for an example).


3. Make clear to students that I know a bit about the reality they face with their Korean teachers, and that many students think we don't know anything (we don't) and they can pull the wool over our eyes.
or two....

A Korean acquaintance who went to HUFS told a friend of mine that in 4 years of study, no Korean teacher ever returned a paper to her.

Grade beggars disappear on reading this (saved for e-mails): "I doubt that the majority of your Korean professors have returned examination papers and essays to you, or even let you see how they were marked. In addition, I doubt that many of them have shown you--or returned to you--your final examination papers. I doubt that many of them use grading methods and criteria that are as transparent as mine. Finally, I doubt that many of your Korean professors would tolerate your behavior."


4. You may want to inform the student that because of cultural differences, in the West, purely emotional appeals for clemency only make people angry.

Briefly: in more authoritarian societies, where decisions are often made by whim, the emotional appeal works. In more individualist societies, where decisions are usually made on the basis of laws or formulae, it doesn't.
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Real Reality



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2003 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many students did you teach during the spring?
I taught 368. Most of them were freshmen.

And, just think some students dropped during the
first few weeks. I could have had even more.

I think some teach more and some teach fewer.
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rudyflyer



Joined: 26 Feb 2003
Location: pacing the cage

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2003 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

143 freshmen then figure in 20 students who either never showed up or flunked on attendence and its 123 over 6 sections.

just realized thats tiny compared to other places I taught. One semester in 2000 I had over 400 students over 10 classes (2 hours/week each)
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Ryst Helmut



Joined: 26 Apr 2003
Location: In search of the elusive signature...

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2003 1:26 am    Post subject: You must contact management! Reply with quote

Rudy,

I have had all-too-many situations that are similar, and one where a student threatened to kill me!!!! Luckily, dumb-arse decided to write the threat on his mid-term....bu-hahahahaha

Here's what I've done. I took my role and failing exam papers (unless they were interviews, where I have been videotaping), along with a print out of ALL emails (and responses) between students(s) to the head of both my department AND the student's department.

I found that the Korean professors will knock on this kid, and everything will settle down.

Shoosh,

Ryst
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Real Reality



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2003 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rudyflyer,

You also get real vacations, right?

I get two weeks in the summer. I also get three weeks in winter.
And, I teach at a university. Crying or Very sad
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kimchikowboy



Joined: 24 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2003 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love grade time, too. My favorite is when two students (usually girls) show up at my office. One says to me, "She wants you to change her grade. She wants a scholarship so she needs an A.
" I ask, "Why isn't she telling me this?"
"She can't speak English."
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UncleAlex



Joined: 04 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 5:58 pm    Post subject: Freshman is Fresh Reply with quote

PC bangs and soju bangs are visited more frequently by freshmen and
freshwomen- freshpersons- more often than libraries are. Korean librarians
must feel just as morally deflated as you do. Have you read Camus?
If one decides that there's absolutely no meaning in life ( an unnatural accomplishment, I think ), he'd never be suicidal. Anyway, keep in mind that
your first year college students had had no social life during their high school years.
For many years they had to be at school or at a hagwon from 7:30am until 2am at the latest.
First year at college is a moment of liberation and personal freedom. It's a time to unwind and release much pent up frustration.
Most of what was fed to them in high school was considered worthless crap that was forced down their throats.
English Conversation is more of that grub. But now in college, without the presence of a Korean teacher in class,
the students are at liberty to reject it .
Try veering from an applied standard text, if it's possible. Find out what Western music and movies
they like, and center your class on those materials.
All the best! Shocked
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Dr. Buck



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Location: Land of the Morning Clam

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easy solutions for people taking their careers in Korea way too seriously:

The students turn in their final exams. Before they leave, tell them that their tests will not be returned for "research' purposes. Log in your records that everyone passed the class. Speckle the records with A's, B's and C's. Lock up the classroom and head out the door.
On the way home, toss all the tests in the nearest dumpster.

And now spend all of time you saved wisely. Enjoy that time you would have spent correcting tests doing something that you truly find rewarding or that contributes to your personal bottom line.
treat yourself to something special since you've done yourself good.

We all know the stories of academic standards at Korean universities. And lowered standards means lowered stress. Some many stories and anecedotes refer to the waygook teachers trying to uphold the stricter standards of the west to Korean universities. I think many of them only end up pounding their head into a wall. Time to loose those Ivory Tower morals and concentrate on what you will do this summer vacation.

I wish everyone a great summer and may your days be filled with margaritas and nights be filled with pina coladas. And may the only thing you correct is the return date on your airline ticket.
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Kyrei



Joined: 22 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 8:11 am    Post subject: Grading on the curve Reply with quote

Dr. Buck, while what you say is undeniably appealing, I find the challenge of actually trying to match my grades to the standard set by the university (e.g. 10% - 15% A, 30% - 40% B) in such a way that students who have put forth enough effort to fall (however remotely) within those ranks actually get such a grade, while at the same time trying to stay as close to the "ivory tower" standards that I grew up with and hold myself to. Actually it can be quite a mental exercise to do it and do it ethically, despite completely disagreeing with "curve grades" in any way, shape, or form.

Out of curiousity, what sort of 'standards' do the universities that other work at set for you in terms of grades? Other than randomly assigning grades in a half-hour so as to maximise party-time over the summer, how do you do it?

Kyrei
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Real Reality



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 3:24 pm    Post subject: What party-time? Grades. Reply with quote

"maximise party-time over the summer"

Some teachers in Korea must have a really relaxing summer. I have to work. I get to teach nearly as many hours as I taught during the spring term.

Grades: A lot of A's and B's. Some C's. A few D's and F's.
Failing grades do occur.
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steroidmaximus



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Location: GangWon-Do

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, the threats and tears. I had a student show up at my house once, drunk, demanding that I change his grade. He changed his tune real quick when I asked him if he'd like to land on his head or his ass after I threw him down the stairs (paraphrase). Then the angry / tearful emails or office visits. . .the joys of broadening young minds.

yes, the curve. 30% A's 40% B's. Lots of 'fine tuning' going on, lemme tell ya.

Another Uni I worked at had a prof doing something similar to Dr. Buck's theory. He would get pictures of all the students with their student numbers. would'nt correct anything, just give em a grade based on how often he'd seen em, how often and how well they'd spoken to him, and how cute they were. Having a problem getting pictures? Give em an assignment which requires they submit a photograph, such as an interview with a foreigner, and go from there. If their picture ain't there, you know what to do. He'd been working at the same uni for 7 years, and was, shall we say, slightly jaded.
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drcrazy



Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Location: Pusan. Yes, that's right. Pusan NOT Busan. I ain't never been to no place called Busan

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 6:03 pm    Post subject: Freshman University Students Reply with quote

I love teaching Freshman University students. For the first time in their lives they have a teacher who is student centered, not teacher centered. They finally have a chance to participate in communicative activities. They love it. I love it. By the end of the semester I see real progress. Students are creative and real "HAMS". Have THEM write role plays based on what you are doing in the book, and you edit them, and then they present. That, and many of the other hundreds of communicative activities (WITH WHICH I HOPE YOU ARE FAMILIAR) will be a BIG HIT.
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Len8



Joined: 12 Feb 2003
Location: Kyungju

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Previous post about role plays is very interesting. You must have very good students. Most freshman don't talk , and have a distorted view of English. Compliments of their highschool education and the media of late.
How did you get em to talk? What did you do? Did you remove shyness from their personality or what?

Anyone had P.E. students for freshman. Most of them are OK, but there are some with a real chip on their shoulders. They are the bane of my life. Never fails; every semester I'll get one or two of them giving me the dirty foreigner look. Dirty stinking foreigner In fact. I'm sure that's what goes through their minds. ( I do wash). I like to work out in the gym, and of course they're always there. I can usually hold my own, but the hate foreigner diehards are all looking trying to put you off. It's incredible. Luckily though this semester one of the stronger seniors seems to be supervising the gym, and I had him as a freshman. Everytime I step in there he greats me with a rousing "anya seo", and it really takes the wind out of the hate foreigner freshmen's sails.
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