Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cheating, Dust, and the Military

I am in a funk.

Summer has arrived and school is coming to an end so I should be in a happy mood, instead I am in a funk: a funk in teaching, a funk in cleaning my house, a funk in thinking about my life and future.

I just finished grading my first senior literature final and will have another senior literature final to grade tonight. Then I will have a week off before grading my freshmen finals.

Grading and catching cheaters is one of the worse parts of being a teacher. I hate realizing at the end of the semester that my class actually had 32 students instead of the 22 who came regularly. I hate failing students but what can I do when they don't score well on the final even with their cheat sheets and their pencil written essays on their desktops almost invisible even to them which is why it was easy to catch. Why was she staring so hard at her desk and not her test paper?

There were several students who did extremely well on the final. I am not out to get students or to fail them. My tests are what I teach. But if they don't come to class, what can I do other than hope that they have good friends who take good notes or are really good cheaters. Today in class I caught 2 cheat sheets with tiny writing on them and 2 more sheets with the multiple choice answers. Multiple choice is so easy to grade, but so easy to cheat on especially if you can't have A/B tests. With cheating I would rather just not know about it.

My house is a mess. I try to sweep and mop everyday, but all of the windows are open because it is hot. Dust fills the apartment, not as bad as in Africa. Here in my Chinese apartment, there is so MUCH MORE stuff to get dusty compared to my African two room one car garage. Also, is it me or is it because I am a teacher that my house is full of papers and junk? I need to get rid of everything.

One more year and my Peace Corps service will be over, truly over. No more extending or transferring anymore. At four years, I think Peace Corps will kick me out. Plus I am getting old. Maybe it is time to think about earning some money before I am too old.

What am I going to do when I leave Peace Corps?

Try to find a job in China?
I think I need to make some money. In China I could possibly make about $800 a month and after living on $100 a month on the PC stipend, I know I could save a lot. But I am tired of teaching. An unmotivated teacher does a lot of harm to her students. I don't want to be that teacher.

Go back to school?
I was glad when I finished 10 years of a university education. I hate tests. They stress me out a LOT coz I am a high achiever and study too much! Plus the applications? The worrying about how to pay for it? Going into debt when I have been debt free my whole life? I don't know. It sounds like a hassle.

Join the military?
I enjoy physical and life changing challenges. It would be an adventure and I would get paid doing it. The only thing I worry about is being placed in a job that I hate and having to endure it for four years.

Get a job in the USA?
I am reading a book The Working Poor. It is so discouraging!

So there you have it. My options with none of them seeming to be really that great.

Yep, I am in a funk.

Although even in a funk, there are still beautiful bits:

Long bike rides on flat roads in the almost car-less countryside

Sitting on a bench in the back gate eating watermelon as the Chinese fashion show walks by accompanied by the cutest babies and smiling children

Eating 4 sticks of fatty delicious grilled lamb in the setting sunlight

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