Today I was attempting to give the lesson I would be testing the students on for their oral examination. It was the dreaded Architecture class. I’d start to talk and nobody would be paying attention, over half the class sleeping; the rest talking as if I wasn’t there. I repeated loudly that I would be going over what would be on the test. Nothing. No response. After several fitful starts, I slammed my laptop shut and wrote the word apathy on the board, along with its definition, considering taking my first punitive action (which I knew would have serious repercussions) of giving a writing assignment.
Instead, I yelled even louder, “I thought Korean students cared about their test scores! Doesn’t ANYONE here care about their grade in this class? Raise your hand if you care about your grade!”
One arm shot up.
I told the girl to come with me. She was confused, bewildered, and hesitant. I told her it was all right. And I packed up my shit, while the co-teacher’s jaw dropped and she giggled nervously. And me and the one girl left the room, where I gave her a private lesson and pointers at my desk. I helped her mark up her study sheet, and then gave her study sheets to take back to the rest of the class.
Of course, she’s going to get a perfect grade and the rest will suffer.
Of course, the Korean teacher will raise everyone else’s grades so none of them look like the losers they really are. But hopefully I gave them a more valuable lesson than they’re normally used to.