Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Thing about Exams and Post Exams

I've finished all my markings! Actually I have done it like eons ago. Marking the Sec 3 History Elective Paper was a breeze.

Let me introduce to you a very interesting formula
Minimal effort in study = Minimal effort in marking for the teachers + heart pain for the students

Anyway yesterday was Judgement Day for the Sec 3 History students.

In the not very conducive environment where students have nothing but good memories ( ie the tuckshop) A colleague and I started the painful (for the students) yet painless (for the teachers) of giving the exam scripts back to the students for checking.

This is where the exciting chattering stops, the facial changes and of course the sometimes superficial nonchalant expression. I was a student once and I totally understand how a student feel --- dreadful. That is what the students dread, in a way. To them, it's like Judgement Day. When the teacher hands back the script to them, the numbers etched in red ink on the front page would inevitably bring about tsunamis and earthquakes of emotions.

So far, I have always watched these happen rather nonchalantly at the beginning. The scene played out before me is always the same. Quiet and nervous silence while waiting for their names to be called to take their papers. Once they got their papers, those who thought they did well would let out a jubilant yelp of success. Some would allow themselves a more moderate grin of satisfaction. I might be able to catch a neutral sigh of relief from a few.

Those who didn't do well would sit there stunned and expressionless for a while. And after that few moments of peer comparisons, and when reality had sunk in deep enough, they would start dabbing their eyes. For the more affected ones, tears would stream down.

Watching these unfold before my eyes, the humane side of me would then be moved slightly by their emotions. While in my heart I revel in the joys of some, I also feel for those who failed and were thoroughly disappointed.

Some of those who failed did not deserve to be like that. But they somehow fell to exam stress and mental block. They have been doing their classwork and assignments diligently. Some have been felled by poor study techniques, especially those who banked on memorising alone.

I've done whatever in my professional capacity to award them the marks they deserve. But they just couldn't make it. They just have to learn to be resilient. That's life.

Well at least they bother about their studies enough to feel some disappointment with failure. There are some kids who are totally indifferent, and could even joke and laugh with their friends with failure nudged into their faces.

Maybe they thought that they will have a second chance. Maybe they thought that things will be ok….

Maybe they can try again, next year? Or will it be an avalanche of emotions which replayed this over again.

Maybe.. Maybe it will be …. Maybe it will not. Who knows?

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