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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mark, learn and inwardly digest



This has been a day when, apart from a slump on the balcony when I arrived home has been continuous academic action – stretching I might add, late into the night time.

Some of the time spent at home on school work was a punitive marking exercise to ‘bring people down.’ As I have mentioned before the thing that our school does best is cheat.

I have been informed by people whose non-racist credential are impeccable that cheating in school is a time honoured custom in Spain and which seems to have reached its apotheosis in our school.

Whatever way of cheating you have heard of is practiced in our place. They use notes, books, each other, mobile phones – anything on which or in which information can be displayed or stored. Things have reached such a pitch that a meeting has been held and member of the PBI have had to agree to new and more stringent methods to try and limit the extent of this widespread infection.

One boy, a plausible enough child, who sits at the back, gained a frankly impossible mark in the last examination. The head of English immediately said that he must have cheated. He was suspiciously near to the best pupil in the class (who got 100% in the latest test) and his eyes certainly seemed, to put it mildly, slippery.

This time the test was designed to test a little more than putting the appropriate word in the appropriate space – though I wrote exercises of that type to lull the guilty into a hopeful state of putative cheatiness. Little did the gullible (a word recently taught to the class) know that the exercises on which they could cheat easily had a pitifully low tariff while the real marks were reserved for the writing of sentences.

The proof of this particular pudding was in the fact that the suspect candidate had a mark some 40% lower than his previous effort. How are the cheaters fallen!

It also helped that for the duration of the test I was standing within feet of the candidate at the back of the class. His little face was a picture of frustration.

Exam ever is beginning to break out with classes demanding full details of what elements of English are going to be in their tests. The meeting of the English department which was held early in the day was a masterpiece of controlled hysteria with a plethora of dates of and planning meetings for a whole raft of looming examinations. I found it hard not to start giggling!

I have had to make my tortuous way between buildings a number of times today and each time my little fan club of small people called my name and demanded to shake hands and pass a comment about my tie! I have no idea what’s going on, but I suppose that I should enjoy it while it’s happening and accept that next September is going to be rather different.

At the end of school today (a little before if truth be told) I went to the monastery near the school. This used to be the place where you could see part of the Thyssen collection, but that has now been moved to my favourite gallery on Monjuïc MNAC. My visit was hurried as the place was going to shut, but it was long enough to see that it was a place that I would have to revisit. With camera.

Meanwhile I can relax with the thought that my marking is done and a selection of significant sayings on Education, Learning and Language has been magicked up by me and a selection of dictionaries of quotations for some aspect of the committee which is organizing the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the school. This is the sort of thing which is seen quite distinctly as my ‘thing’ by everybody else – so I have to keep up my reputation as Mr Literature and General Culture.

And I still have not been given my contract.

But I have a plan!
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