I noticed I haven't written about my Spanish class in awhile, and it's also been awhile since I've written a rant, so I thought why not kill two birds with one stone?
I had a another test last week, and as usual, the instructor put up some PowerPoint slides with review questions on them that we were allowed to work on in groups before the test. The first slide had twelve questions on it and we were given five minutes to complete them. Now, I normally work with K (she sits next to me and we work well together), but this time we were assigned to groups of four, so I was working with three other people I hadn't worked with before. As soon as the review questions went up, I asked if everybody thought my first answer was right. I was met by a collective blank stare, followed by a litany of reasons why none of them could possibly be expected to know the material half an hour before the test on it. My favorite was, "I work full time," as if I don't. When the instructor called the two minute warning, we were still on question one because they hadn't finished giving me their excuses yet. I finally tuned them out and did all the questions by myself. Then they got mad at me for not including them. Which I had tried to do, but they were too busy telling me why they didn't know the material to participate.
Last Monday, I got assigned to work with a guy in my class that I usually try to avoid because he rarely shows up, mouths off when he does, and thinks he should be getting an A by virtue of his personality. We were supposed to ask each other questions in Spanish about what the other had done the previous weekend, then write a paragraph in Spanish about what our partner had done. Well, Z didn't understand any of the questions I asked him in Spanish, so he decided we should just give each other five sentences in Spanish and turn it into a paragraph. He chose five sentences at random from a worksheet we'd just done, leaving me to try to write a coherent paragraph out of sentences like, "Last weekend, I spent a lot of money on books this semester," and "Yesterday, I went to Madrid for two days." When I pulled out my notes to check the spelling of one of the verbs, he was shocked. "You take notes? Every class?" I guess that explains why he's failing.
Now, I know that some people just aren't good at foreign languages. I happen to be one of those people, so I've been busting my butt to try and stay on top of the material. I go to class, take notes, do the homework, and study for the tests. What I don't understand is the people who don't even try--the ones who rarely come to class, don't do the readings or homework, and who don't study, then are mystified as to why they're getting bad grades. Okay, I can kind of understand it for the kids who are traditional students and are required to take a foreign language when they don't really want to, but what about the adults in the class? Between course fees and books, that class is about $600 per semester. Why on earth would you shell out almost $600 for a class, and then not even try to learn something from it? Trying and not getting it is one thing, but to not even try? Why bother taking the class in the first place?