This Is a Test

15 Jun

Clearly I had too much time with my own thoughts today. The problem with broad, clunky tables is, that I couldn’t gaze up skirts. It was so incongruous to catch a moment of a boob forced out of a shirt.

At least one student a group fell asleep during the testing period, pen in hand, forehead slamming to the desk, without any reaction, back to finish the stroke, and finally, out like a light. The first time it happened I gave the student my emergency cheap can of vending machine coffee. He never drank it, but he did nod out again. And, he never returned the unopened can to me. After that I just let the others work out their issues with insouciance. Many more students were yawning, or staring into the space in front of them, if they weren’t just late. It makes me yawn to realize, that no one cheated.

Testing is more than a measurement. A letter grade or percentage really doesn’t express all the skills a person brings to bear on a situation. I’ll be interested to know if my coffee thief got all the answers correct or not. Perhaps he was bored, not fatigued. Was the headslammer really indifferent or sleep-deprived? How about the women whose eyes were bulging out of their sockets – anxiety, or just a family problem or irritable bowels? Even more remarkable were the people who resembled nothing less than the very paper they were marking, only their faces were blanker and their hand gestures were even less complex than a prosthetic limb’s. A few tapped and circled and underscored words in the questions and answers without making a mark, and burned holes in the paper searching frantically for a way to comprehend the task.

In one group I couldn’t make a few shits shut up. I endured a few minutes of their dumb complaints and then ignored them. They were very interesting when they were disruptive, but then they just became printers scratching out marks. So many dull drones. My favorite brats were the ones who tossed their finished exams at me, and then rushed for the door with their heads and shoulders bent over, as if they were afraid I would force them to take another exam. Or, did they believe they had done poorly? I enjoyed watching students in the hallway after the exams reach for their smartphones and textbooks for answers. No one spoke English.

Testing can be about classifying a person into categories. Scores are just so blunt and arid a measuring tool. What these young adults were thinking and doing, consciously and subconsciously, speaks volumes about their indifference, their anxiety, their insolence, their irrelevance as persons. Well, not persons. I don’t believe I saw any persons today. It was a very lonely day

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