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Déchirer (Friday, 2010 November 26)

November 26th, 2010

It is my opinion that one of the reasons immersion works so well as a language learning technique is not because it forces you to practice, but instead because you already know, 90% of the time, what the other person is about to say, so you can quickly build a vocabulary of words that fit your context. For example, déchirer, which means "to tear up", which is what I did to a student’s paper in 2C today. She came up to me after she’d finished the test and said she’d forgotten to put her name on the paper, and after I gave it back and studiously watched her, she changed some of her answers. This was the third or fourth ridiculous stunt of bullshit I’d had in that class so I just went to the A-bomb of "I am tired of my students’ shit". She seemed pretty shocked. "You changed your answers! I caught you!" I said, practically pleading for her to see sense. "I had thought some more," she responded.

I kept the top half, which fortunately she had finished putting her name on. She kept the rest. And when the other students asked why I had déchiréd that feuille, I already knew what they meant. And when I said that she had changed her answers, they didn’t seem shocked at all.

Lost my temper in a similar way in Premiere over similar outrageous acts of tricherie ("cheating"), like moving to different seats, copying overtly from other students, discussing the problems, stealing blank papers, etc. Screamed at the littlest one for a good twenty seconds. Wasn’t enough. Had a couple students come to me afterwards and say that giving them a zero wouldn’t be appropriate, because it would "dirty their academic record". When I offered, loudly, to discuss it with them and the censeur, they backed down.

Also took a kid’s USB key in the salle today because, like I said, we do not use keys in the salle. They carry viruses. He did that incredibly infuriating "pardon" hand gesture and even started to shed some tears (which, yeah, softened me a bit, but I am more stubborn than I am maternal), and I knew it wouldn’t really be fair to steal a USB key from a student, no matter the circumstance, but I let him stew for a while before explaining why we don’t use the keys and what viruses do ("This computer doesn’t boot any more. It’s a problem with the operating system. Now I have to reinstall the operating system on this computer.") and then giving it back to him. Somehow this seemed to make a big impression on him.

And despite all of this, and despite not getting enough sleep last night due to the wedding (which was awesome — more about that later), I was a fountain of patience when the students in the lab after class started to turn off power strips without turning off computers. "No, stop that," I said, calmly, and then explained why we don’t do that, and how to do it properly, instead of flipping out at them in English like I did yesterday. So all in all I feel like today went pretty well, despite being a neverending shitstorm of disappointment.

Plus, check out this sick burn, courtesy of mom:

so here’s a question for your exam. compare and contrast these two groups (for sufficiently large definitions of group): "But for chrissakes how many fucking times are you gonna win the race-the-moto game before you get sick of it? How many times are you gonna play Spider Solitaire on Easy, with hints?" and "All of which is a fancy way of saying ‘So that’s why I’ve spent a lot of time lying in bed playing Nintendo DS’" for extra points, please explain why "pretend I’m not in a country where "computer literacy" means understanding Caps Lock." isn’t culture shock already.

Yeah, well. Back to Rocket Slime.

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