Gotta Love Strange Conversations

Holy bananas. lol. I’m so glad my teacher already gave me permission to take my mid-term exam at home. I just got a call from Brickfields Asia College and it was a really strange call. Good grief. He kept asking me which A-level program I was in and which UK institution I was affiliated with. This was after I told him I was taking online classes from a school in the US. I thought maybe he had misheard me so I said I was going to an American online school, not a British one. He still wanted to know what A-level program I was going to. And he kept asking about what relation it had to his school. I finally told him it had nothing to do with his school or a program associated with his school or any British school. I was trying to be as polite as possible, so I hope it didn’t offend him.

You know, I think he may have also thought I was full of crap. lol. He kept asking all this background information about me, my school, what subjects I am taking, what my major is, how long I’m going to be in Malaysia, what the test was about, what it was for, the length of the test, the background of the test, the fact that I was taking a college exam at a different school and then he started going into “Well, how do they know you and I aren’t friends and that you’re really taking it at a college?” What????? Wouldn’t MY school be the one asking that? So then I had to explain to him that they would contact him via his work email address, verify who he was, that he worked at the school and that I would be taking the test in a sterile environment. He asked if that was all the background search they were going to do. What, does he want the full nine yards to make sure he has a good credit history, too? He also asked how they would know I wasn’t cheating. Good grief. I told him part of the proctor’s responsibility is to monitor me during the test to make sure I’m not cheating and to verify I don’t have notes or a cell phone with me before I begin the test and that I don’t talk to other people during the test. He kept going on about it and asking “How do that know this” and “How do they know that” and I finally told him that US schools have an honor code system and expect their students to abide by it. I told him that all students agree to the honor code and if a student cheats and is later found out, they can be punished up to and including having their degree taken away. I’m not 100% that it goes that far, but you’d think in some cases it would need to. He finally said, “Ah, yes, we have the same system here in Malaysia.”

Before we even got to this point, he kept telling me that his school doesn’t provide testing programs for other schools and that to take one of their tests, I need to be enrolled in their school. It took me a while to get him to understand that all he would need to do is log me into the system on a computer and supervise me taking the test, not provide an actual test for me. Once he understood that my school would be providing the test online and that I just needed a supervise-able environment to take the test, he finally started moving forward. Before that, he kept telling me to contact the embassy or the British Council. I don’t think the 50 times I told him I was an American ever sank in. Oh well.

When he asked me when the test dates would be, I decided to just go with when my actual finals are. The finals are actually April 29th and 30th, but it would be the next day for me, so I told him April 30th and May 1st. Well, May 1st is a holiday. I told him I would contact my school and see if we could do the 29th and 30th. That’s when he started going on about how flexible my school is and that they really are making it easy for me to take my test. Good grief. What are they supposed to do? Make it as hard as possible so I have zero chance of being able to do it? I told him that they were working with me because most distance-learning students are in the US and in similar time zones and also are around certified testing centers………….. That’s when he interrupted me and told me what I really needed to do is find a certified testing center and to contact my school to see who they had contracts with out here to do outsourced testing. *smacks head* I then had to explain to him (again………..) that my school has never had a student in Malaysia before and that they don’t have any contracts with any schools here and that there are no actual certified testing centers in this city. I told him that my school had authorized me to get in contact with another school and find someone who would be willing to supervise my final exams.

Seriously, this was a 10-minute conversation where we just went in circles over and over again. He kept going back to my needing to contact an embassy or my school and find a place they had previously approved and he’d talk about how easy it would be for he and I to be friends and him help me with the test and my school would never know. *sigh* I finally just said that all I need is a room with a computer inside a school where a teacher could supervise me taking a test and verify that I was doing the work myself without any notes and that all the supervising teacher needed to do is put in a password for the test and then keep me in view while I take the test. He said he would need to check around to see if something like that was doable and said he’d call me back. Then he gave me his contact number.

Good grief. This guy spoke very good English and yet, for some reason, seemed to not be understanding half the things I said. I tried not to use too big of words and to keep my sentences simple, without them being offensively simple. But how many ways are there to say you just need someone to sit and watch you take a test and make sure you’re not cheating? Goodness, when he asked me how long the test would be (i have no idea), I told him it shouldn’t take more than two hours and he said, “Oh, I guess that means I will need some staff there.” Uh, yeah, someone needs to supervise the test.

*sigh* That was just a really strange conversation. I’m pretty sure by the end of it he understood what I was asking, but I really can’t be sure. He was very nice and seemed like he really wanted to help me. It was just the language difference and the difference in how our school systems work. I really hope he does understand what I need and is able to find a way to make it work. Otherwise, I may be stuck taking my finals at the beginning of April when I’m in the US instead of at the end using a proctor after the last several weeks of schoolwork. *sigh*

I guess I should just prepare to take the finals at the beginning of April when I’m in the US just in case. It would probably be for the best, but that still leaves the one class of mine that has a final due on April 4th, which looks like it will be the day we’re flying back to the US. I emailed the school about that one earlier today to see what we can work out. If they can allow me a one day delay on that final, I can just take it in the testing center on the 5th. If not, I’ll have to try and get it done at this college. Cross your fingers that I can either delay the exam a day or that this college will be able to work with me.