Remember I was compraining about how my NIE tutor for Communication Skills couldn’t pronounce the letter ‘h’ correctly the other day? (She’d pronounced it “hedge” on several occasions, annoying me to no end.)
So during today’s class on phonetics, this same tutor showed two pronunciations of the letter ‘h’ on the board — ‘hedge’ and ‘aych’ — then proceeded to explain that the latter was the correct pronunciation. Wait, what?! She knows the right pronunciation? Of course she would, she teaches communication skills. In fact, she explained it like this (I paraphrase): “So remember, class: the letter hedge is pronounced without a hedge in front.”
Whu?!? Oh my poor exploding brain.
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Observations from two weeks of edjamacator edjamacation (I mean, NIE):
- The Teaching of Math class is a fucking nightmare. Not only is it 6 units (out of 21 for the semester), but the tutor for my group teaches us like we’re secondary-school kids. She even called for volunteers to complete, on overhead transparencies in front of the class, worksheets on negative numbers. Negative fucking numbers! Gah! Furthermore, the tutor’s well-versed in dodging questions, the way one would when trying to avoid answering questions posed by schoolchildren — ask her anything, and she’ll happily repeat whatever she’d just said in the last five minutes in order to deflect the question. “Isn’t this another way of answering the question?” “The way of answering the question is… [repeats whatever she just taught]” Sorely underdeveloped sense of humour, laughs at her own jokes, complete fucking tool. Ahhh! Stop hurting my brain! Please!
- The Communications Skills class is nearly as bad, but we only meet once a week for two hours. The content is at least vaguely useful, but the tutor’s humourless and boring. And I’m sorry, but if you want to criticise Singaporeans for the widespread mispronunciation of “th” as “t” (“three” as “tree”, for example), the least you could do is not pronounce the letter “h” as “hedge”.
- The Educational Psychology textbook, rewritten for a Singaporean context by a NIE prof, blows major balls. Not only does it have no index and a sorely under-represented glossary, but it slips in and out of its original American and revised Singaporean contexts carelessly, haphazardly skipping case studies for Singaporean schools where inconvenient. A pain to read for something so potentially interesting (though, really, I’ve forgotten how to read textbooks without equations). This is a criticism of the textbook, not the class — the latter is remarkably bearable.
- The remaining classes (Teaching of Physics, Use of IT in Education) are, for the moment at least, not overly offensive. That could be because the respective tutors happily went and cancelled classes at random, or did not schedule make-up classes for the National Day holiday.
I’ve moved on-campus. The room’s big and spartan and I feel like we could fit a car between the two beds, if necessary. Today was the first day of classes, mostly introductory fare and largely bearable despite the overly long two-hour lectures.
School (er, “work”, loosely defined) doesn’t feel like anything big and new and terrifying yet — maybe it’ll all sink in when a few of my best friends start leaving in the coming weeks. Aiy, life moves on way too quickly.