There is a scene in Die Hard 2, when Detective John McClane finds himself once again forced to save the day, and at Christmas no less. Although the scene involves swearing and talks about a basement and elevator, it nevertheless reflects the situation that is happening now. McClane looks around and says, “Oh man, I can’t f*cking believe this. Another basement, another elevator. How can the same sh*t happen to the same guy twice?!”
You may remember the exam fiascoes from last year (they are here and here, in case you do not). Basically, the Chinese English teachers produced an exam which had very poorly written questions. There were grammatical errors, Chinglish, spelling mistakes… Some of the answers did not even make sense. I thought I had done away with this, given I had to write the exam this year, but no, my university can be relied on to screw things up one way or another.
I was initially told that the exam for my culture class would be in week 19 (week beginning 7 January). This was fine, because I have a class on the Monday of that week anyway. So, although there is a lot of needless back-and-forth, as I have described previously (here), nevertheless, it would be sometime that week. Then, on Monday, on my way to work, a student messaged me and asked why the exam was so late. I asked what he meant. It turns out that the exam had been scheduled on the Friday of week 20. The last day of the exams for the students. I queried this with the liaison teacher, who had told me it would be week 19 (also pointing out my contract says I work 18 weeks, not 20). She said there had been some confusion because a foreigner had not taught on the culture course before. She then told me she would investigate.
Later in the day, she replied and said that the exam could be held during class time – but here is the kicker – because the last class is New Year’s Day, a public holiday – would I mind coming in on Christmas Day to do the exam because they need two people to invigilate and there is no one else available (my class was already being covered by another teacher). I told them that yes, I would mind, and that I was not overly happy – a day’s holiday for Christmas is also included in my contract.
Jump forward a few days later and the situation has finally been resolved (sort of). In class, I explained the situation and my students seemed to get it and understood the issues.
It is not a good fix, but then that is what I have come to expect here. Now the exam will be on Boxing Day afternoon. At least I get Christmas Day off – and my class has actually been cancelled on Christmas Day, so my students get to chill then, at least, but Wednesday is a non-work day for me, and the exam is in the afternoon, so I have to trail to the other campus and back, wasting most of the day. Still, it is head down, get on with it, and get the hell out of dodge as soon as possible. Plus, Christmas is coming so it’s all glad tidings, peace on earth, ’tis the season and all that, because, you know, Christmas is fun! 🎄🎅