Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Teaching Blues part 4

Depending on what kind of student one is, today is either D-day or V-day at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde where I teach two nights a week. It's the end of the term which means...class cards distribution! For the uninitiated, it means today is the day students find out whether they flunked or passed the courses for the term. (Interesting aside: when I was in College, I never did get to enjoy this annual rite. Somehow, I was impervious to class cards day - I never, not even once, bothered to get my class cards on the day of the distribution itself. Oh no, it wasn't really because I was confident I would pass every darned subject - although I did. It was just something that I couldn't find any meaning in. Must be one more reason why some professors really hated me with a passion).

It is one of those days when the air becomes thick with anxiety and a deep sense of foreboding. One can actually feel it while walking along the corridors of the College. And believe when I say that today, the supposed teleserye ng totoong buhay pales in comparison to the variety, the range and depth, and the profundity of the emotions displayed.

I have been teaching for more than five years now and yet, I still do not get it why students can't get this basic logic straight: professors do not manufacture grades, we only compute them. Students themselves make or produce the grades - they take the tests, they prepare case work and projects, etc. We only tally the scores and compute based on the pre-agreed weights. (In fact in my case, I do not even do the computation - someone at work does. And technically, she doesn't do the computation either - microsoft excel does). And yet, come class card distribution day, some students act as if we are the ones at fault if they get negative grades.

When I was a newbie professor, I would actually go as far as manually computing the grades in front of a student to justify the end grade. But not anymore today. I have learned to put on a "Medusa" expression on my face - you know, that look that says "ask a question and risk being turned to stone with just a stare." Of course this does not stop some really clueless student to still complain.

So today, some professors will have to be prepared to face the possibility of having to roll their sleeves and change flat tires (I have done this twice already in my first year and since then I have learned a valuable lesson - if you flunk bullies in your class, park your car somewhere very safe; better still, do not bring your car on course card day). Also, some professors' list of most creative pleas will become longer - necessity is after all the mother of creativity. And of course, some professors will definitely lose their cool today and some blood pressures will shoot up.

It will be bedlam. And call me twisted, it will be somehow fun.

Thank God, I had a valid reason to ask for an early schedule for my course card distribution when most students wouldn't still be in school. So most likely, I will be dumping all my class cards in the "unclaimed" box and then turn off my cellphone the rest of the day. I will also be parking my car somewhere safe and far just in case. But then, I will missing on half the fun.

1 comment:

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