Level Hoppers

One positive thing I can say about my students is that they are dedicated. They want to learn English. This is a huge improvement from many of the other schools I have taught in the past. One in particular (in the USA) was able to give visas to their students, and by consequence many of the students there simply had no fucks to give about learning English. They had to come to school to continue to live and work in the USA.

So in that respect I am extremely grateful to my students here for their genuine will. I suspect the ones that learn that they are uninterested simply stop turning up.  But the blessing stops there, because all though 100% of my students are honestly interested in learning English,  many of them simply have no idea how one goes about learning English. This is not a fault of the students, as learning a language is not intuitive. If the fault lies anywhere, it lies with the teachers.

To be even more forgiving to the students consider the fact that I have a very good idea about how to go about learning a language, and I have made literally 0% progress in learning Mandarin.

But there seems to be a stupidity that is the fault of some of the students, and it is something I have taken to call level hopping. Level hopping is when a student burns through the classes as quickly as possible, thinking that the label of the class he is taking (beginner, elementary, intermediate, etc) is actually a reflection of his or her ability. But because they’ve rushed through the material, they often are in reality several levels lower. The annoyance comes from the fact that the student then can’t keep up with the students who have gotten to the desired level fairly. Whats worse is that once you tell them that they are at the wrong level, they kick the blame back to you. It’s apparently your fault that these people tried to learn a year’s worth of a language in three weeks.

This for some reason reminds me of an awful book I once read called ‘the four hour work week’ by Timothy Ferris. In the book the author teaches you how to immorally disregard your responsibilities without suffering any consequences. But I bring it up because there is an anecdote in the book where Ferris recalls how he won some fighting championship in Thailand. To do this, he dehydrated himself till he could fight in a lower weight class, then the next day (after the weighing in) he re-hydrated himself, and wailed on the poor individuals a full weight class lower than himself. He then proudly took the god damned championship home. Well Mr. Ferris, Diogenes would have told you how to have saved yourself a lot of time; you could have simply made a trophy with your name on it and not participated at all; after all, you aren’t really that weight class, and you aren’t really  the champion of anything, regardless of what any trophy or title may say. Same to my students; you aren’t advanced students, regardless of what my stupid school is willing to endorse. You aren’t fooling anyone.



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