We are at midway point, and I had to give the my first-year class a wake up call this morning. We did a writing assignment, and products were pretty abysmal. Students in my classes tend to write lists of sentences rather than paragraphs. I have showed them paragraphs before, and they have even had another assignment with paragraphs. I think some of them forgot. There are also students who haven't worked out subject verb agreement, or how to work with other students and their teacher to check and make sure their work is as good as they can make it.
I told them that university is different from high school. I have a responsibility to them, their parents, the community in general, and to the university to make sure that students that leave my class at the end of the year can do English better than when they came in April. I have shown them how powerful a tool English, but if there are some people who wish to pass up the opportunity, I told them that they are free to make that choice, but come July, I have to make a mark on a sheet with my name on it that says that they get university credit for English. I will not pass people who have not met the mark.
Makes me want to scream sometimes. I can see how valuable language ability is to the society, and how that could translate into money in their pockets. A very few will take make the best of the opportunity. Maybe that's why it is such a great opportunity.