Amparo Bertram (spacealien_vamp) wrote,
Amparo Bertram

Only in Japan?

They brought out the kerosene heaters today. There's one right next to my desk. It's nice being toasty warm, I just hope the smell doesn't get as bad as it did with the stoves they used in Niigata.

My fairytale class took its exam today. The teacher asked me to drop in the 3-3 classroom partway through to ask if there were any questions. I had never been to the 3-3 classroom before, so I made sure to double-check and ask directions. So, when I showed was the wrong room. No, my sense of direction didn't fail me this time, I had actually made it to the 3-3 classroom. Unfortunately, it was the wrong set of students. I had to go to the room next door instead. As soon as I stepped in, the teacher said, "Sorry, I told you the wrong room."


After the tests were collected, I graded them. I had designed the test to be 25% reading comprehension, 50% vocabulary, and 25% short answer questions in which the students have to state their opinions on an issue and support them with reasons. I put most of the focus on vocabulary because A) that's what we spend the most time on in class, and B) that's what I think will be most useful to them when they go on to take English Proficiency exams. Considering the sheer number of new vocabulary words the students had to study to prepare for the test, I was really impressed with how well they did. The class average came out to about 91%. Since I consider this to be the equivalent of an AP class, I figured that was fair, particularly from the thoughtfulness of their answers.

Of course, my team teacher did not like this at all. He came over to have a little talk with me.

Teacher: The class average on the test was 91%.

Me: Yes, the students must have studied a lot.

Teacher: You should make the test harder next time.

Me: <thinks> A) The test covered exactly what we went over in class, plus I think it was quite fair, and besides, B) I gave a copy of it to you a week ago, so if you thought it was too easy you should have said something then.

Teacher: Teachers here think that if a test is too easy, students will get good grades.

Me: Don't you think it means the students worked very hard and deserve good grades?

Teacher: The class is supposed to have an average between 50-65%. That's a school rule.

Me: <aghast at the idea that a school would forcibly lower an AP class' average to 50-65%> Are you saying that even if the students study very hard you will give them bad grades?

Teacher: <laughs embarrassedly> No...but I think you should make the next test a writing test.

Me: Isn't it a reading class? And discussion? (Note: The only writing the students do during class is to take notes on the discussion.)

Teacher: Yes...but...Japanese students are poor at spelling. So make the next test have more writing.

So there you have it. I have been instructed to grade my high-achievers on their spelling so that I will have an excuse to give them bad grades.

In other news, I did manage to study for the Japanese Proficiency Test...for about an hour. The number of near-synonyms meaning "discussion/debate/argument" is mind-boggling. <sigh> I hope I can raise my vocabulary at least slightly before the test on Sunday. I know, I know, putting it off until the last minute is a really bad habit.

At one point, a bunch of teachers all gathered in front of the window at one end of the faculty room to watch the sunset. It was quite a pretty color. I would have taken a picture, but I would have had to shove people aside to do it, so I refrained.
Tags: culture, school
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