Thursday, December 16, 2010
This brings me to the jaw dropping behavior I have seen during the two exams I have given. I was told flat out by another teacher not to expect my kids to do well on exams. The principal wanted us to turn in our exams ahead of time along with whatever review we were going to do. I guess the idea is so that when the kids fail, I can prove that I did what I could to prepare them. Here is what I did--I gave them the questions ahead of time in class and had them go through their notes, find the answers and then I reviewed them. One of those days, I had a sub. I left her the questions and the answers to go over. My infamous 7th period apparently didn't think it would be worthwhile to do this and my poor sub ended up calling administrator three times to get the class under control. I made a copy of the sub report and sent it to the principal with a note that said "When my 7th period fails the exam--this is why."
On Tuesday I had a student painting her nails during my exam. When I asked her to put it away, she started flossing her teeth. Not surprisingly, she failed the exam--not just failed, but she missed 29 out of 50 questions. I had two students show up late for the exam. That blew me away--"Gee, nothing important going on today! I'll just take my time getting to class!" My favorite though, was the student who raised his hand and asked for a pencil. "Really?" I said, "It didn't occur to you on exam day that you might need something to write with? Sorry, I'm not going to help you out. You are going to have to see if one of your classmates will take pity on you." Apparently, most of them did not because it was several long seconds before someone finally offered up a pen.
I also made a rookie mistake of making my 10th grade exam way too short. We have two hours for exams. My first student finished in 20 minutes. The last one turned in their exam with 75 minutes left to go. That was the longest 75 minutes of my life. I ran back to my cubby and downloaded additional test questions for Friday, when the other two 10th grade classes have their exam. Of course, now that is all potentially pointless because its coming down with no evidence that it will be cleared up in time for school tomorrow (she said with barely contained glee!!).
I end this post with something that made my heart melt and my department head's eyes roll. As I graded exams yesterday, one student had written in tiny letters "I love you Miz Nilknarf!" at the top of her answer sheet. This is a quiet, sweet girl who did very well on her exam. Call me naive, but I took it as sincere, not a blatant attempt at sucking up. My department head was completely unimpressed as I delightedly shoved it under his nose. "I don't take that type of thing personally any more than I take the fuck you's personally." Perhaps he is right. But I hold onto that type of things like a starving animal snatches at crusts in the garbage. Its the only way I can convince myself that I am not completely wasting my time.