Again returning to my philosophy that study abroad experiences should be recounted in honest ways (and not because I am in search of a lot of pity, just a tiny bit will do), I will now tell the story of Miriam and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (more accurately titled, “Miriam and the one bad experience that sucked a lot that was mostly her own fault”).
My professor assigned a lot of reading that to me seemed very pointless, impractical, and extremely irrelevant to life in any country about realism and romanticism (this is what I get for taking a literature course… somehow every time I sign up for one of those suckers, I forget that we’re not just going to be reading fun stories, but also reading about historical context and debating about things and analyzing stuff, etc.). I decided it was not a good use of my time to expend a lot of energy reading this packet. Thus, I did not expend a lot of energy reading this packet.
The teacher gave 2 separate quizzes. With questions that were so specific, I don’t think I would have even gotten them if I had read carefully (at least I’m telling myself that to justify my laziness). I went through the class feeling very anxious and unhappy and doing that thing where every time the professor looks like he’s about to call on someone you look like you’re writing down something very important and profound so that he doesn’t call on you. He didn’t call on me. Good right? I was safe! I was walking out of the class and then he decided to take attendance. Harmless right? WRONG. We had to also tell in front of the whole class what our grades were. I got a 0 on both quizzes. Either I was the only one who really didn’t absorb a blessed thing from this reading or I was the only honest one. Coming from a the Ford, a community where I don’t even share my grades with my bestest friends, this was the equivalent of getting smacked in the face with a shovel.
I understand the pedagogical motivation of having everyone share their grades in front of the class, I really do. If you are embarrassed to share a terrible grade, you are more likely to work harder on the next reading (which I will). But do we really think that shaming your students into good grades is a good motive? I do not.
I still feel super icky about this and I’m embarrassed to show my face in class tomorrow (what’s more fun than being the worst grade getter and the foreigner!?), but I doubt I will forget this, and it will remind me to never ever ever ever ever ever do this to my students. Ever.
Because I feel that this has been extremely negative, I enclose herein a video from youtube of a commercial for a popular phone / internet company with Patrick Dempsey, in which they have maneuvered the commercial in such a way that he does not have to speak one word of Spanish (I guarantee that every single person reading this blog speaks more Spanish than Patrick Dempsey) and a nice song about Mexico by James Taylor that popped up in my iTunes today.