The First and the Last Days

I was among the 64 students chosen to attend the English diploma course. To tell the truth, I really didn’t feel a thing when I heard that I passed the exam. I was already expecting to pass anyway. I guess I think too highly of myself so I never consider failing exams. The course started on Monday and I wasn’t aware of that until I arrived there to see the results. My friend also passed and I’m glad of that as we get more time to see each other. I had been wanting to attend this university for such a long time.

The first day was spent mainly on introductions. After introducing myself to the class for the 3rd time in a row, which were done in different sessions, I was pretty sick of doing that. Having to listen to endless broken English and pronunciations were torturing me over and over again. Well, again I am criticizing other people. I know it’s bad but I can’t help doing so.

Most of the teachers kept mentioning the lovely golden rules such as to dress according to Myanmar culture (or what is deemed as part of Myanmar culture but actually they are Bamar culture so it doesn’t represent the whole nation), not to be tardy, to be punctual, etc. I can’t believe the school’s bureaucracy. I knew they are pretty strict about clothing but I didn’t think they would also be that strict about taking leaves. As far as I know, each day has six sessions so if you are absent for one day, you will miss all six sessions. I don’t know how the system works but I can only be absent for five days in each month. I also can’t believe that teachers are blamed for students’ absentee and they had the responsibilities to contact them personally to persuade them to attend class regularly. I’m glad I didn’t decidet to become an university lecturer.

There are 10 minutes break between each sessions but I won’t count on it. Lunchtime is for 40 minutes but so far I only get to start eating after 12 pm. I ate at the canteen on the first day and I decided not to go there ‘cuz it’s so noisy there and the food service takes long. I started bring lunchbox from home the next day. Most students are scolded for coming back late from lunchtime as they were registering at the student affairs department. With so little provided between each sessions and the very big fact that the registration section is closed after 2 pm made it impossible for students to register without coming in late to classes.

I still haven’t registered and I decided not to do so ‘cuz I decided to drop out. It’s really impossible for me to arrive to class at 9 am ‘cuz my morning class ends at 9 am. Even if I leave early from the morning class, I would still be late to class and some of the teachers are very punctual. The teachers have already mentioned that they accept no excuses (I’m starting to wonder if I applied at a military institution) and it’s not gonna help if I mentioned that I’m late ‘cuz I’m attending ELTM. Technically, I’m not even allowed to be attending courses under the Ministry of Education at the moment while attending the course. I could get expelled from both universities according to the registration papers.

I had already decided to drop out since the first day. If I’m late for ELTM, I’m only scolded by one teacher and usually they don’t say anything at all. However, at this university, I would be scolded by whoever is at the gate first, the teacher second, and if I’m unlucky, the person at the gate might report my tardiness so I might be called upon and scolded again by whoever it was reported to. I can stand being scolded for being late due to laziness or not waking up on time but I won’t be able to stand being scolded for ‘wanting to gain more knowledge’. I also don’t want to involve the teachers and classmates ‘cuz I won’t be the only one who receive the scolding.

I could register for the course, pay the course fees and apply for leave but I know I will probably never get the chance to attend it again. After the morning diploma has ended, I plan to attend the MA course which takes two years to complete. After I get MA, I’ll start to apply for jobs at either private schools or English classes. I had been deciding which will be better for me, whether to teach kids or teach adult learners. I didn’t think about teaching adult learners but after spending three days at the English diploma course, I realized that there are still a lot of people who lack knowledge in using English properly. Well, I still have more than two years to decide on it and I also need to improve my English.

I was also de-motivated by the lack of warm and friendly atmosphere. I had been told to smile more often in front of students when I was working at school but now I really know why I had to smile. Solemn and grim faces are really depressing to look at and I don’t want to spend my times being afraid of teachers. Plus, having to spend 10,000 kyats in just two days for book fees were too much for me. But at least some of the books might be useful for me in the future. I am already delighted to have a book about teaching methodology. Funny thing is the teacher said that everyone considered her subject as the most boring subject. My friend also said the very same thing. I guess not everyone is interested in becoming a teacher :). For me, my least favorite subject would be Linguistic. I get sleepy just by reading the first paragraphs. That subject was also taught back in UDE but I can barely remember them since I only studied them without trying to understand the actual meanings. That is typical of a UDE student.

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