Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Has it really been two weeks? Boy. I guess the school break really was a break from any sort of brain work!

But, now that school's started again, I will have to dust off all the cobwebs that have appeared inside my head and get those juices flowing again...which is not a hard thing to do after what happened at work today.

Just before the holidays we had our mid-year examination as is the norm for many schools, and the two-week break was supposed to be time for us teachers to finish marking our student's scripts. I had already marked several classes that had their exams earlier, but for the later ones...like I said, my school-side of the brain took leave as well during the break so none of the papers were marked and I used whatever free time I had at school yesterday and today to finish off.

And I discovered a curious thing about one of my classes. I was marking their objective paper, and everyone of them except one, scored more half right. I would have been overjoyed, except that this particular class was one of the weakest, and their scores suggested that they were better than the best class in the same form which I also taught!

I was gobsmacked!

Could a miracle have happened? Could it be that my students in this particular class were suddenly proficient in English? Then I marked their essay paper and reality came crashing down - none of them could answer the paper properly.

Which begs the question - how was it that they were able to obtain such high marks for the objective paper? I know that teachers are supposed to think good of their students, but the first thought that came to mind was that they had somehow gotten hold of the question paper along with the answer prior to the test and distributed them during the examination. I couldn't think of any other scenario.

So, when I went into their class today, I confronted them asking if any of them had copied. None owned up. So, I decided to do a simple test. I took an clean question paper, and asked them to give me the answers orally . My reasoning was if they really understood the questions then they'd be able to give the correct answer - as was in their answer sheet. After all, it was the same question paper.

But, none were able to give correct answers for all. Out of the 7 questions I asked (seven consecutive questions where more than half the class got all correct), the most they could give me were two or three correct answers. So, what's a teacher like me to do?

I reprimanded them for cheating in the exam and said that I'll deduct marks from their score. That was the end of that.

Or so I thought. The plot thickens! :)

Back in the staffroom, I was talking to a colleague of mine when another colleague approached me and asked me if I had accused a class for cheating. I said yes. And she then proceeded to tell me that they hadn't actually cheated but that she had translated the questions and answers for them so that they could understand.


I was gobsmacked again. I blinked at her, not knowing what to say or do.

Finding my voice, I asked her what I was to do with the marks. She didn't know. All she could say was that she was sorry. I told her then that I would stick to my decision of deducting the marks. She offered her apologies again and left.

My head was turning then. Not in a million years would I have thought of a teacher going to such lengths in helping a student during a school exam.

Well, now I know better.

p.s. But that still doesn't explain how all the students answers are all similar. Surely, they don't share the same brain as well, right?


Nick Phillips said...

I wish I had a teacher who translated the questions and answers for me back in my time :D

Miss Mathew said...

hmm...all I can say is tht, THAT particular teacher shd knw better

maslight said...

Time flows really fast. I want more day off

ALTing said...

ada ka the teacher do that?? hahahahah... funny ooo... oh yeah, btw cuz, i finally succumbed to the disease known as blogaritis.. hahahahaha...

Perry R. Lim said...

Nick: Not only did the teacher translate it for them, I found out that the answers were also given!

Perry R. Lim said...

Miss Matthew: Well, apparently she didn't!

Perry R. Lim said...

maslight: Tell me about it. I'm already dreaming of the next hols! lol!

Perry R. Lim said...

ALTing: Blogaritis...make sure you get a vaccination soon!