” This is one of those times when you see something adorable. As a teacher I had the privilege of spending time with young and energetic 15 year olds. Even during assessments they portray unique charactetistics which make me feel amazed. Here is one such experience.”
On Thursday morning 25th July 2013, the usual class test atmosphere prevailed in the class room (IGCSE 2014-B) with students taking their places; some with seriousness; some out of obligation; some doing it as if nothing affects them. One can see their attitude spilling out in their smile, talk, body language and in some, a sense of stoicism that beats the others.
All seated orderly; a few late comers rush in, after going through their notes/books for the last minute, and take their places. The papers arrive. The ICT –Information and Communication Technology paper. Initial ritual of opening the sealed pack completed, they are dished out to each one of them.
Time starts. A two hour paper, that turned out to be an onerous one for one and all,starts. Instinctively some flip through the thick test booklet which spans 16 pages; makes a mental note that it is timed for two hours and is sure of completing within the time stipulated.
They start the paper. First few questions are the usual ones- always slick and smooth to give you a feel of ease and comfort, before the examiner throws in the tough meat to chew through.
It is not the toughness that catches them; it is the repetitive chewing that bores them. Tough is OK with them, they know how to handle tough. For those who are prepared, the tough is only a challenge, so it is fine; for others it is just a matter of attempting or leaving it unanswered. The choice made, the rest goes easily.
The easy ones are handled with a characteristic nonchalance/ arrogance befitting the teens. But some try to be extra cautious and make mistakes unknown to them, then.
The medium- hard questions and the unsure ones are dealt with equanimity by all.
Observing them is like watching a drama staged. At the start, all serious and ready for whatever that comes their way. Face bent down, eyes scanning the questions, mind sorting the easy ones from the hard and the hand trying to match the mind’s speed to fill the answer sheet.
After the initial half hour, there is a subtle change; not all are pouring over the paper- some have started to shift on the chair, some looking around casually to note how many of their classmates’ eyes they could catch. There is some satisfaction in knowing that you are not alone in doing what you are doing (NOT doing the test). When their eyes meet the teacher’s they immediately go down to the paper.
Time crawls for some, runs for some others; after about 50 minutes into the test, the ubiquitous paper pattern begins to surface. One by one students begin to notice the discrepancy in what they are asked to give against what they would be getting (marks).
16 pages of a paper where more than two-thirds hold questions and marks that are incongruous. It dawns on them that the question demands a lot more- it asks for a 10 line answer of description with just a 1 mark reward; 0.5 marks for 4 lines answer and 20 lines analysis for just 6 marks.
This bewilders them first. It exasperates them next. It frustrates some. It challenges some others. It also amuses some.
Some show resilience; some display irritation; some portray a stoic countenance. For others who are challenged enough, time sits heavily on their shoulders and their fingers are crippled by an invisible thread of boredom.
As the passing hour comes to a close, some are bold enough to vociferously express their disdain. This, the invigilator tries to quell with a menacing stare.
What a relief when the time tolled, all sprang from their place handing in their answer sheets with an unbeknownst sprite and rushed out!