This is the day all to which all teachers look forward. I am lording over my minions, watching them scribble on papers, staring down each question, regretting every day they left their brains outside the room.
I’ve given “the speech.”
Talking equals certain doom. Cheating equals bad karma. You don’t want to mess with karma…you never know where it’ll be lurking. Behind a tree? In a deep dark forest? Most likely it’ll get you just when you least expect it–like when you’re asking out someone you really like, perhaps, and then he or she will go out with your best friend. No, sir, you don’t want to mess with karma at all.
Some students scribble away, others burn holes through the paper, waiting for their personal heavenly assistant to descend and provide them with answers. I see them bargaining with God.
“God,” they think (I see the thought bubbles floating above their heads), “Please help me, and I’ll never blow off studying again.” It’ll be the first of many bargains with the Almighty they’ll make in life, some as a result of poor choices, like the weekend college prayer, and others as a result of things more serious. I watch. God does not arrive and pick up the pencil. He’s got bigger issues to deal with. Take a number.
Exams are my few days to relax, drink even more coffee than usual, and watch the show. If students were sophisticated, though, they’d realize that exams and projects are not bad at all–no–it’s their one chance to get even. Every time I assign an essay, project, or… thing, well, I have to read or evaluate those things. Imagine–if every student, rather than asking me the question that cannot be spoken out loud (“How many sentences in a paragraph?”) simply wrote an extra paragraph, I’d have 240 extra paragraphs to read. If they wrote an extra page…Well, you get the picture. I’m buried now, I’d never come up for air. It’d be the most perfect revenge scheme of all time. Now, imagine if they organized such an effort to exceed expectations–the system would come to a grinding halt. I’d be correcting till next June. They wouldn’t have to work for months.
I remember in college, professors would put limits on papers. Nobody wants to read five extra pages times 500 people kissing up, 480 of whom are writing pure unadulterated crap–unresearched editorialization fit only to wrap fish and chips were it still a legal form of restaurant presentation. I’m a master of font obfuscation–11.5 font to sneak in a bit more? Move that margin just a tad…Because of this, I am also an expert font detective–don’t you give me no 13 font!
I realize I’m using double negatives. That’s teacher June grammar for you.
Anyway, instead of complaining about how little they can do at exam time, they should band together, organize, and flood us all with high-quality research. It’d be the smart thing to do. They’d win in the end.
But they don’t. They sit. They complain. And they give me the “ARE YOU SERIOUS?”
Yup. That I am… Deadly serious. Get back to work.
Need another pencil?