Thursday, 12 June 2008

The final exams

We've had a few dramas with the planning for the exams. In part because we seem to be "ignored" by our college leaders, until things go wrong.

When we arrived we were given a program - in Chinese - despite the fact that we work in the English Faculty. This faculty does not write anything in English. So we are often "kept in the dark".

Last week some of the foreign teachers received an email from the Faculty with some instructions about the upcoming final exams - too late, as many of us have conducted the examinations. Some of us have planned to leave the college on or just after the 20th June, but appears we are expected to remain until 27th of June. Even though there will be no classes for us in that last week. (Perhaps next semester we will get more notice of changes.)

There is conjecture about the poor communication with the foreign teachers. Is is just the language problem? Or is it the way that our leaders here operate with all teachers? Do the Chinese teachers accept this late information without protest? Is it a control thing for the foreign teachers e.g. keep them in the dark and they will have to comply? In all the time we have been here, there has been no staff meeting and little correspondence. Questions asked remain unanswered. I asked for a meeting with the faculty head - a man we have never met.

Initially it was too difficult to arrange - but now it is on today. It will be interesting.

Another funny thing happened yesterday. A student leader was distributing the latest issue of the school newspaper - a fancy full colour glossy mag with stories about the recent ceremony to celebrate the college's upgrading to an university. He came over to chat to me and told me he was giving out the newspaper. I asked if I could have one. His one word reply was "No". When I asked why not he said it was all in Chinese and I would not be able to read it. I replied "Then can I look at the pictures?" as I could see a few photographs on page one. He thought for a moment and gave it to me. Here I am after four months, receiving my first copy of the newspaper, which I might add often includes stories about the foreign teachers. When I opened it , there was a paragraph in English - in fact a speech by one of the foreign teachers at the ceremony! I knew about the ceremony of course, but not the foreign teacher's involvement. We are ill informed in the college. Or not at all.

Maybe today at the meeting we will resolve some of the problems with the final exam - to the satisfaction of the college and the foreign teachers.

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