Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Midterm Time

Midterm time, and I'm depressed.

Usually I get depressed after I have given midterms, when I have solid evidence of what a lousy instructer I have been, but this season I have decided to get depressed ahead of time. I do like my job, as I've said. It's the best job for me, it's a job that needs doing, I love the work, I like the students, I like that moment in the classroom when I can feel connection sweeping from me to them and minds are lighting up everywhere, I even like it when they aren't getting it, and I step back and say to myself, all right now, what then? and find some other way to get to them. I love know how to do this job. I like being good at it.

It's just the exams. Boy, do the exams suck. I give the exams, and they take the exams, and the answers are so often so awful. Such sure evidence that nothing I have said in the classroom has made it into the land of their souls. I thought their minds were lighting up -- but no. The cave stayed dark. Or it is lit with someone else's light, I guess. Or, maybe (this is when I am most hopeful) they only can't communicate the light inside. (Don't I wish.)

Occasionally I consider doing away with exams. Why do they need to be examined? I rail. Start the revolution here! I declaim. No exams this term! It is an outmoded system! Down with the midterm! Down with the final! A's for All!


Don't I wish.


zelda1 said...

You reach them, even the really dim ones. Maybe they don't get it all, but if they get a little, if one tiny flicker goes with them, then, you have done your job. Not all of your students are going to go on to get a degree in English, but, for those who do, you open the door and for many you open many doors; and you invite them in, and they never leave. I wonder what it was that I was doing before you said that word, the one in the writer's group, it was Latin and I wanted to know what you knew and that word became a spark that lit that flame and when that light flickered, well, you know the rest. So don't get depressed, not at all, you do a great job.

Anonymous said...

The worst feeling is handing back a lousy exam to a student who has really poured their heart into the class. I had kids saying yesterday, "I really do love this class...except for the exams."

Exams take a cooperative learning experience and pit teacher against student. Oh, and the grading is really, really tedious.

CB said...

consider that they aren't test takers... if it helps.

Anyways, I'm a student, and privileged to student reach them; you touch them and I know because they talk about you and you are who they tell their friends to take. And you're the awesome one.. the renouned one.

Trust me; you're great.

delagar said...

Not test takers -- an excellent point. That does help. It's not really what I'm teaching them to do, am I? Or why they're here. Or what we want (the students or me or the culture): people who are good at exams. Thanks, Mouse.

CB said...

no it's not... we want good grades ,yes, we want to be able to say hey look my kid is smart and this A proves it, but really, the tests don't matter. Actually, we hate tests alot; we bitch about them lots.

We want grades, but no test....I want application. Yup, I'd rather be forced to apply than to test. I may stand alone.

Most just want a grade--without the test.