Posted by: endithinks | December 7, 2007

On Confidence Readjustments

Today was a bleak day in the school as the students buckled down to take an exam.  They were frightened and nervous, eyes glancing here and there, palms cold and clammy, lips quivering, flesh a tingle, and their instructor sat motionless just observing the phenomenon known as test anxiety.

After a few minutes of rah rah rah’s the instructor then passed out the exam to the chagrin of the students and then told them of the ease of the test if they had prepared properly. 

The exam commenced and the spirit of optimism packed a suit case stuffing in its leisure clothes and bathing suit pulled down a fedora over its head and rushed to the nearest train station its jacket flapping in the wind like sails on a new world Sloop fleeing from a Ship of the Line.

Grading is the worst thing about teaching.  I literally wince whenever I have to put a slash through an incorrect answer as I view it as my failure more than theirs.  I know that this is not necessarily true (especially since all the students passed with the exception of one) but I can’t help but feel that if I had prepared them better they would have performed better.

So back to the narrative…

The instructor pulled out his red pen and began leaving cuts on the papers.  The more the paper bled the less earnest the instructor’s movements and positive attitude.  This instructor had started the day singing and dancing (literally I love public transit!) but know was struck with the harsh job of informing a student that they have failed or done poorly on their exam.

How much is it the responsibility of the teacher for the performance of their students?  When a student fails does that mean that the instructor failed?  or is there a fine line between the responsibilities and achievements?

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