Monday, September 28, 2009
Now that Ramadan is over, businesses are open reasonably normal hours and restaurants are open during the daytime. I'm still getting used to that after a month of having to bring a lunch or going hungry. I don't mind bringing sandwiches but I still haven't gotten over the novelty of having a Subway sandwich shop in the food-court-like cafeteria. There's also a McDonalds, Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks and some other fast food joint I've never heard of. For those students who are too busy "studying" in the library to walk all the way to the cafeteria, there's another Starbucks in the middle of the library.
With the end of Ramadan, we teach full 50-minute classes instead of the 35-minute classes that we had. The way my classes are scheduled, I teach the students two back to back classes with a 5-minute break. In between the blocks of two classes, the students get a 20 minute break. The students think that this is plenty of time to go to the cafeteria, wait in line with dozens of other students with the same idea, get a coffee or frappaccino, drink said beverage and get back to class. Some of the less time conscious students think it's a good idea to get in their cars to go to a restaurant off campus in the 20 minutes. Surprisingly, a majority of the students were 5, 10 or 15 minutes late.
At this point, it's important to point out that I've been instructed to be deadly strict as far as punctuality goes. This means that even if student's are one minute late, that I mark them down as late. If they are six minutes late, I'm to mark them down as "absent due to being late" for the first 50-minute period. If the students miss more than 10% of their classes, supposedly they get chucked out of school, but I think there might be a final, final warning at 15% and then really getting chucked out at 20%. Needless to say, there was a lot of bitching today when all but 4 students out of 20 were marked late or absent. It was a similar story yesterday. From what I've heard, my content area is only part of what I'm teaching. We're also teaching how to be employees and part of that is how to show up for work on time. While I've been told that you can't teach lessons I think this week I'm going to have to.