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Amparo Bertram

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05:42 pm: You should have cheated.
There was a level 3 earthquake here last night around 11:30pm...which means I had already been asleep for several hours. It wasn't a huge earthquake, but it was enough to startle me awake, and then I had to wait for the adrenaline rush to die down before I could get back to sleep. Of course, then I dreamed that the ceiling was about to collapse on me. ^_^;

This morning when I went into work, I asked an English teacher how I could get kerosene. She didn't have a clue. (I was afraid of that.) So she asked the vice-principal. He didn't know either. He continued to ask around, until he got another teacher to volunteer to buy ten gallons for me and deliver it to my apartment. That's some SUPER service. He also gave me the receipt, so now I know where to get it. I just have to figure out how to get it back to my apartment on my own if I need to refill. (I found out that each container is really more like five gallons...not that I could carry five gallons all the way from the gas station any more than I could carry ten. Maybe if I invested in a cheap wagon...)

Yesterday there was an announcement from the nurse's office that they had too many students going there to take their exams. Well, duh, I thought, you asked for it. You see, if a student shows up who feels too sick to take the exam in the classroom, she is allowed to take it in the nurse's office instead with no penalty. But if a student is absent due to illness, as I mentioned earlier, she is penalized 20%. So, assuming you are a student concerned about your test grade and you feel ill the day of the test, what would you do? That's right, come to school despite feeling awful and ask to test in the nurse's office. It's a no-brainer. But the faculty in charge of the nurse's office complained that they only really have room to handle about two or three students, yet they were getting more than double that number...so they asked the teachers to keep students in their classrooms as much as possible for testing. What were they thinking?!

I do have one amusing test-grading incident to share. I was asked to grade the responses for a section that said, "Write a sentence using 'should have' to fit each situation below." One of the situations listed in the section: "When you get a bad grade on a test." Most of the students answered something like I should have studied more or I should not have gone to karaoke. My favorite, however:

You should have cheated.

And while I'm on the subject of doing poorly on tests... I studied quite a bit today for the proficiency test. I painstakingly looked up in the thesaurus each kanji compound I didn't understand to get a better idea of their nuances. At the end of the day, however, I came across a problem I just couldn't figure out. Two of the compounds both meant "profit," yet one was correct and the other wasn't. I asked one of the English teachers why, but she didn't know. She asked the teacher at the desk across from her, but he didn't know either, and neither did the teacher sitting next to him. She finally took the problem over to the nearest Japanese teacher, who pondered over it for a while before figuring out the reason. That's how hard these questions are.

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Date:December 2nd, 2004 11:37 am (UTC)

Good Luck!

"That's how hard these questions are."

Whew! I hope that if they are going to have this level of difficulty there is only one question *this* hard.

Thanks from us to the teacher willing to deliver kerosene to you.

Love, Mom
[User Picture]
Date:December 2nd, 2004 04:48 pm (UTC)
Japan sure was been having a lot of earthquakes lately. I wonder what that means geologically.

But if a student is absent due to illness, as I mentioned earlier, she is penalized 20%.

That seems awfully harsh. Perhaps they're concerned about students who pretend to be sick in order to postpone an exam, but that's really hard on a student who's legitimately sick. Do they give any out for that? Like allowing them the full score if they have a doctor's note?
[User Picture]
Date:December 2nd, 2004 08:19 pm (UTC)
Like allowing them the full score if they have a doctor's note?

Nope. That's a 20% penalty WITH a doctor's note. If there's no note, the student gets an automatic zero.

I thought it was pretty harsh, too.

Students are only allowed to be absent with no penalty if the absence is arranged in advance for a funeral.
[User Picture]
Date:December 2nd, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC)
That policy strikes me as very problematic. For example, if it forces a very sick kid to come to school and that in turn causes his/her health to get worse. Or if the student is highly contageous.

I guess I'm highly sympathetic to the students because I remember when I was a kid I got sick with everything that went around and then some.
[User Picture]
Date:December 3rd, 2004 08:30 am (UTC)
<shrug> Sometimes I just can't comprehend Japanese logic. In a conversation about the make-up test issue, I heard the vice-principal saying today, "We want to instill in them the sense that tests are important" and that the students can't just blow them off on the scheduled day and expect to be able to make them up later. And another teacher joked that the students who are absent with a doctor's note probably bribed the doctor for it just to postpone taking the test. @_@ It doesn't sound like they're very keen on giving the students the benefit of the doubt.
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