Yesterday one of my students from Xinjiang e-mailed me, saying that she didn’t have a grade for my course, and it was going to impact her whole academic record, and asking if I would help, please, please, please. This course (Academic English Writing for Graduate Students) ended last June, and they would have seen their grades by July, so I’m not quite sure why she waited until now. I’m also not sure how I’m supposed to “help”, seeing as it is I no longer work at the university nor reside in China. But Chinese students (this one was actually Uyghur) are used to whining and bribing and having teachers “fix” their problems or grades. Pout and whine, and someone will eventually do it for you. Mind you, these students were all my age to a year or two younger than me. Did I mention they were grad students?
So I told her I could pull up my records, and see if there had been a mistake (as there were many recording mistakes at the university). But no, she was indeed missing the final written project, which means that at the time I turned in their grades, hers was incomplete. Considering that her final written exam score was 34 and her homework average was 62, she probably would have failed anyway, unless she magically did extraordinarily well. I would call her scores abysmal, but she kept insisting in the e-mails, “But I turned in all my homework, and I did really well on the test!”. As she insists she turned in everything, including the final project (“but, I think…I remember…. maybe I turned it in late?”), I told her to send me a photo of the corrected copy of her final writing project, which I handed back to students at the end. She doesn’t have it. Which means (obviously) that I can’t contact the school to give her a new grade, as there is no proof that it exists.
This entire exchange has been about ten e-mails, all of hers short and blubbering. The basic English summary of the final two e-mails I received is “But, I don’t have a copy. All of my homework was really good, but I don’t have a score! What am I going to doooooooooo? Teacher, help me! (crying face, unhappy face, frowny face)”.
Yep, so much for maturity. Some days there are things about Urumqi, about Xinjiang, that I really miss – the bazaars, pink winter mornings over the desert, fresh chill breezes blowing down from the mountains, pumpkin-stuffed dumplings. But most days I’m really glad I no longer work in China. Did I mention that last year, in another class, I had a student (who I saw twice before the final test), who was astounded that I would fail her when she had a holy 6% in my class? (a sidenote: only about 5-10% of the students in my classes failed… it’s not like I was evil or incredibly impossible). Ah, China…