Read Me/Disclaimer

Read Me/Disclaimer: This is a non-political/socio-political blog. It's a running tale of my Saudi Arabian adventure, great, good, bad, and ugly. It is uncensored, and I don't really care what you think of it, read it or don't. I don't care. I did not decide to do this as a means to an end, but rather to document the means with which I occupied my time while waiting for my end... All that being said, I'm an American Expat in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The opportunity to help build this system and the salary that accompanied it were to good to pass up.-Geoff

"The views presented here are just the views of some asshole named Geoff, they are not necessarily the views of my employer, my co-workers, my family or anybody else. First hand knowledge and second hand accounts were used to compile the information. These are not scientific facts and figures. These views are not necessarily supported, endorsed or even appreciated by the KSA the USA or any other country for that matter and the author makes absolutely no claim that they are."**

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Well folks, the last week of the semester is finally here.  I'll sum it up later, but for now I just wanted to focus on today's activities.  Today, I proctored a test of level 2 students,  preparatory students mind you, none of mine.  These students today were taking a Physics 101 test, there were also some Medical Imaging and EMS students in the room, but it was the preparatory level that was really killing us.  I've proctored this group before, and they're always a handful.  Today though they were unbelievably ridiculous.  Today there weren't 2 or 3 cheaters, they're were 15.  Today in front of the eyes of myself and my colleague, these 15 students passed answers back and forth with toes taps, finger signals and good old fashioned note passing and looking over the shoulder of the guy in front of you.  I'm not really allowed to pull students out and take their test away anymore...I am, but all that will happen is that they will get it back and I'll look even less powerless than before.  So instead we walk the rows, silencing the talking, telling them to look at their own paper, and keeping the most blatant cheating to a minimum.  Today though, they crossed lines, BIG lines.  Today, I was ready to literally throw all of their tests in the dumpster and tell the test control officer that they hadn't shown up.

What on earth do these kids do in high school that prepares them for a college career of nothing but lying, cheating and then lying about it when they get caught?  Why doesn't the Ministry of Education do something about that?  Every week the newspaper is full of stories about this or that Ministry's plan to improve the Kingdom.  Ideas like tax expats, kick out taxi driving expats and replace them with Saudi drivers, increased Saudization, demand more degrees from teachers, test all the teachers, fire all the teachers and replace them with better teachers, build a multi-billion riyal school.  Why can't they just see the simple truth.  Enforce the regulations you already have in place for your own students and in 4 years all will be well in the academic world while also improving the state of affairs outside academia.  As a College Instructor, I spend at least 50% of my time dealing with issues that in the US would be rarely seen and would only take about 10% of my time.  Cheating, attendance, arguing about attendance, retesting, arguing about retesting and the like just eat our time alive here.

I think what really pissed me off today though was some of  the stupid excuses I heard for why I saw notes being passed, fingers being held up, taps on the desk with the pen and talking when I turned my back.  First of all one student refused to acknowledge me, he refused to look at me, speak to me or even acknowledge that I was standing in front of him telling him he couldn't take the test anymore.  Another said "I don't speak English" (in English) while his classmates laughed loud enough to let the room next door hear it.  The best one though was the one who got me.  He said "we don't cheat!, you not know!"  Really?  Ok there Copernicus, what exactly were you doing turned around in your seat asking the man behind you a question?..."checking" was his answer.  My head almost exploded as I told him that checking your answer with another student, during a test, IS cheating.  He disagrees, at least he told me "don't worry, no problem, no problem"  Oh, well in that case, carry on!  And he did, as I walked away in complete exasperation he leaned together with a colleague and made sure they all had the same answers.  I turned and told him "you get zero", he laughed and said "Full Mark".  I reported the entire class of 15 to the test control officer, I doubt much will be done though, maybe 1 point off each test.  

**I should mention that 1 student never spoke a word or looked at anyone's paper.  He however did not object in any way shape or form when his classmates were obviously copying off of him though, I should also mention that my co-proctor was just as diligent as I was today at stopping the cheating, in the end though, what could we do?**

Here are a couple of examples of things I found today...

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