Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bloggable Scandal!

Isn't life wonderful? It always delivers just what you need.

I didn't blog before work this morning because I woke up with a completely vacant brain. I had nothing to say. It was awful. I was walking around bumping into things, probably drooling slightly, with a blank look on my face. So I went to work, because I can still educate while I'm in a state like this. I know, because I do it frequently.

Then something bloggable happened!!!

You may recall that I was elevated to the high and mighty rank of ESL coordinator last week. In that capacity, I was stopped in the hall by a year 9 teacher who asked if I'd heard about the year 9 ESL kids who were caught cheating in their exams. I had a look at a dictionary that was confiscated from one of the boys. I don't know his name, but by gum! he'd put a lot of work into his cheating. (If he'd channelled all of that effort into study, he would've earned an A+.) He had lists of grammar definitions pasted into the dictionary, along with introductory paragraphs for the text responses, scientific equations and chemical formulas. Yes, he'd spread his endeavours across most of the curriculum. It was the most amazingly blatant thing I've ever seen. So I hastened over to the hall to have a quiet word with these kids after their last exam. It was beautiful.

These kids are in the junior school, so I don't know them from Adam. And they don't know me. But we got acquainted during the little chat I had with the class after all the year 9s had gone, and we were left in the huge dark echoey assembly hall for me to bellow at them.

I was operatic. I harnessed the inner witch. It scared the bejeebers out of them.

They gathered around me. I brandished the dictionary at them.

"WHO OWNS THIS?" I asked.

Everyone froze. One kid slowly raised his hand.

"That belongs to my friend..." I didn't allow him to go any further. One thing I hate more than anything else is when a kid doesn't take responsibility for his actions. (Just ask my kids..)

"Don't you dare try and run that sort of garbage by me! Everything in this book is related to this year's course. Unless your friend is in this class with you, you're telling me a lie. Now did you take this dictionary into this exam???"

He nodded. I let rip. I had the pointy finger, the narrowed eyes, the shrieks of rage happening. I told them all that anyone caught cheating gets zero for the exam. They blenched, (particularly the Asian students. Asian parents are famous for putting their kids under immense pressure to perform well.)

"If I had my way I'd recommend not just zero for the exam, but zero for the whole year. I'd like to see you go home and explain that to your parents!" There was a horrified silence after that remark. "I'm cancelling the excursion to the movies that your teacher has organised." Which I was going to do anyway, but they didn't need to know that. Then I threw in the killer. The one to bring them nightmares.

"I will be teaching you next year, and I'm not impressed!!!!"

I could see that they were appalled. They obviously think I'm a harridan who'll make their lives a misery. I'm delighted. I had that audience in the palm of my hand. I've got the dictionary on my desk, and I've been showing it to everyone. I'm hoping that the kid doesn't want it back because I want to keep it as a souvenir. The most elaborately inept piece of cheating I've yet seen.


Phoebe J. Southwood said...

You write so well! Lovely.

River said...

So many kids put so much effort and imagination into avoiding work and/or study. If they only used that energy to actually DO the task, they'd finish with a feeling of satisfaction, better marks, an interest in learning more, AND plenty of spare time on their hands for more pleasurable pursuits. I was a slacker in school, mostly because I'd been raised to believe that I only had to stay in school until I was old enough to leave, then work for a few years until someone wanted to marry me. Unfortunately that's exactly what happened. Never was any sense of learning or ambition fostered throughout my childhood. I know I was smart enough to do well, I just didn't see the point when I was only going to be a housewife and mother. If I'd had a crystal ball my life would have been SO much different. (My interest in house design might have taken me into architecture.)

lightening said...

LOL! You'll have me wishing I was a teacher just so I could watch you in action!!!!

Of course it's not just Asian PARENTS who can put the pressure on! I was seriously involved with a guy from Singapore when I was in year 11 (he was about 3 years older than me). HE decided that I should get 350 or higher for my HSC!!!! He INFORMED me that that's what WE would be aiming for in my year 12 results....we weren't still together by the time I started year 12. I'm not sure how he would have coped if we were still together and he had to deal with me only getting 335. *sigh* (in a laughable kind of way).

Kelley said...

Well back in my day we just wrote the answers on the inside hem of our school dresses..... couldn't do it on our thighs cause the dresses were too short...


Wanna come and yell at my kids for me?

Frogdancer said...

Kelley: I don't know. Would anything get smeared on me???

Phoebe: Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. I'm smiling all over the place.

River and Lightening: you two have such great stories. L, I would've dumped him too. Who needs pressure like that? R, what wouldn't we be and what wouldn't we do if we had our time over.....

Kin said...

Awesome story. I love the mental imagery you create. Don't pick on my spelling please, I had an exam today, and my hand hurts.

Speaking of my exam, I was in a room. By myself. For 3 hours. With All My Notes less than a foot away the whole time. Oh it would have been so easy. If only I wasn't such a bloody goody-two-shoes.

But at least I know my 51% was earned ;-)

maybaby said...

This is why I teach kindergarten and not secondary.

I'd have to be too hard on the older students.

Last year I walked through my oldest son's bio class. He was sitting with his head down on the table and his hood pulled up over his face. Apparently he'd decided to take a nap.

I walked up and kicked his leg as hard as I could. He came up off the table and whipped back his hood. When he saw me standing there, he went white to the lips. I bent down and hissed in his ear that if he EVER did that again, he'd have much worse than a bruised leg. He's never put his head down in class since then. He'll often put fantastic, creative effort into avoiding school work and chores.

You should show that dictionary to first year teachers to let them know what they're up against.


Marita said...

Fantastic. I wish I could have been there to see it.