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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

entry arrow10:11 PM | A Punch to the Stomach

I've been in a funk lately, and I just want to hide from the world. The whole grading season really took a lot out of me, and then there is also the realization that I still have mountains of other work to do -- and I just don't have an ounce of energy, or will, to do any of them. I'm. Just. So. Tired. Lately. And then, of course, there are the ridiculous, often angry, emails from students who either flunked or got really low grades. Here's one I just got, no editing, just as it is...

this s [name], ur student in bc 25 section U.... can i just ask f u added my +.2 bonus points for watching 2 cultural shows? can we see u somtime 2mrow whenever ur free? please don't ignore this sir... you see sir, we are nursing students and we have to get a grade of 2 in order to pass bc.. sir, we just want t see how u computed our grades... we are just wondering y our midterm grades are so big and we failed in our final grades... in our case, me and my partner have complied with all the requirements u gave us, y did we fail? please consider us sir.. this s evry important... i hope that u wont ignore this nce u'll rid this... please reply sir...

I'm thinking: this is an email from a student, sent to her English instructor. If she was trying to earn favors, she certainly did not get it with her misspellings and ridiculous text-speak. Judging from that email alone, anyone can very well see why she got a low grade for her term paper writing class.

I did reply to her, and also commented on her unnecessarily accusatory tone. What did she think? That I grab grades out of thin air? She has no idea how many nights I did not sleep crunching those grades. Grrrrr. It's not as if I don't keep copious records -- as an obsessive-compulsive, I may have the most uptight and complete records in all of the university. So I gave her everything, and went as far as giving her my comments on her terrible term paper.

I sometimes wonder where this high sense of privilege of students come from. It's like, "Hey, I enrolled, so give me a good grade already." This sentence really got my goat though: "Me and my partner have complied with all the requirements u gave us, y did we fail?" So I wrote her that completion of requirements does not guarantee a good grade; that completion of requirements is in fact the basic duty of any student; and that a good grade comes from quality work, not because you have done everything required. Because in that case, who needs serious schooling, when all you must do pala is a charade of fulfilling requirements without regard for their quality?

I understand her panic because she is a nursing student, and much -- including her huge tuition -- is at stake. But she must have known this class was a serious class, and there will be repercussions for sloppy work. And I certainly don't want Silliman University to become a diploma mill. Yesterday, I passed by AMA College, and there on the building's facade, and emblazoned in big letters, was a banner that proclaimed: "Become a nurse the easiest way!" It was as if I was slapped. That sign was so offensive. Is that how college in the Philippines has become now? An "easy" factory? A mindless means to one definite end, which is work abroad?

Dear God.

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