Friday, April 10, 2015

You're Gonna Have a Bad Time

I don't watch South Park, but I have enough awareness of memes to correctly use the saying, "You're gonna have a bad time." And I find myself telling it to my students. A lot.

I tell them, "If you study exclusively in Chinese for a test that will be administered in English, you're gonna have a bad time." Or I tell them, "If you never use technical terms to get used to their meanings, you're gonna have a bad time." And they continue to ignore me. Then something like 80% of them missed a question on the practice exam because they didn't know the meaning of the phrase "in addition to."

If I was in charge of the exam content, I'd be a jerk to use terms they don't know. But they are taking AP exams, the content of which is outside my control. So I tell them to get better at English, they continue to avoid English like a cliche about the Plague, and, well, they have a bad time.

My boss teaches a section of the same class. All his students have absolutely no problems. We had an awkward conversation about how I'm such a terrible teacher and he's so wonderful. I told him that it's not under my control when they ignore the English textbook and read the Chinese translation of it. He said it must be under my control because his students don't do it. I said, "How do I control something that happens at night after I've gone home? I tell them to not do it, and they do it anyway." He said, "Well, my students don't do it." I said, "Why is that?" He said, in essence, that he cares about his students, and they can sense this. I said, "So your students think, 'It would be easier to read this in Chinese, but my teacher cares about me, and he'd be disappointed if I did this, so I'll do the hard thing'?" He sort of shrugged like, "Well, what else can explain this outcome?"

If you take a job working for a narcissist, you're gonna have a bad time.

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