Wednesday, March 3, 2010


The latest lunch table teacher drama has been about students taking a long February break. Like, an extra two weeks for a one week break. (It was Lunar New Year on Valentine's Day, for those of you that aren't teaching Asian students.) So many of them went home and took a few extra days to celebrate with their families and really, who can blame them?

My last students arrived back yesterday, a good week and half after break had ended. They knew before they left that they would be having a test over the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus when they returned. In fact, I was a kind enough to push it back until this week and not have it the week directly after break, since so many students were still missing. So today, I had a two students, X and Y, walk into my classroom that I hadn't seen for close to a month and being the strict teacher that I am, I made them take the test. Although student Y pleaded to take the test after school, I refused, knowing that I had another meeting to attend and couldn't stay to proctor the test.

But this story isn't about them, really. It's about my sweet, quiet student Z who rarely speaks, even when called on and struggles with his English. He is a sweetheart, stubborn in his ways until the end, and if you tell him to do one thing, by gosh, he'll work on that one thing until he perfects it and then he has the biggest grin as he shows you what he has accomplished.

Today we were done with part two of the multiple choice section of the test and I asked the students to hand their papers forward. My darling Z looks surprised that the end had come. As others are passing their work forward, I notice him open his test back up and write feverishly on his hand. I go to him and ask to see his hand, which he refuses to show me, while smiling bashfully. He tells me another student asked him to copy the answers but he swears he wouldn't give them to someone to cheat. As what is required of me, I send him to the office to talk to the Dean about it. I told him that the sad part was that the students taking the test after him were taking a completely different version of the test with different questions and different answers.

Later, I talk to the Dean. He says that Z told him that student Y (who remember, ended up taking the test at same time as Z did) had asked him to write down the answers to give him after the test. I think that maybe Y had hoped that Z would take the test, give Y the answers, and then Y could use those answers when he took it after school. Unfortunately I foiled this plan and Z, being the ever diligent person that he is, ended up still writing down the answers to give to Y, not really comprehending the full reason for his copying.

So, I'm going to let Z finish taking the test tomorrow and he's going to get full marks on his test. Y... Well, his grade is going to stand on it's own, although I have a feeling that without any changing from me, it's already not going to look pretty.

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