Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sigh, it's that time of the year again. The most aggravating time for a teacher. And the worst part is that these papers aren't going back to the kids, just their marks, so it doesn't help leaving exasperated red-inked comments like "Do you even know what's in your syllabus?!" Or "I shall hold you personally responsible in the event of my mental breakdown!"

In particular, being an English teacher has to be the stressful job ever at evaluation time. When I first started out, I was tickled to death by the absurd things I read. I thought they were the absolute height of hilarity and would note down and quote the unbelievably whackier ones. Then came stage ii: I was no longer amused but outraged by the indifferent mangling of tenses and verbs and prepositions. I'd slash through the offending lines and mark them "MEANINGLESS!" Or sometimes "ABSOLUTE RUBBISH!!!" Then came stage iii: I'm now completely inured to it all and resigned to the fact that these kids are just incapable of constructing proper sentences in English. I don't open the papers anymore with any sense of anticipation at being entertained or having my ulcer act up. I just sigh and get on with it.


10 Things Teachers Would Love to Write on a Student's Paper

1. I would not allow this student to breed.
2. This student has delusions of adequacy.
3. This student is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.
4. This student is not the sharpest tool in the shed.
5. Student has been working with glue too much.
6. If this student were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.
7. Gates are down, lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming.
8. It’s hard to believe the sperm that created this student beat out 1,000,000 others.
9. If this student had two brain cells, they'd kill each other.
10. This student has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.



  1. now now... don't get so harsh on the "jungs" (pronounced with a y not jay he he).
    "Final exams over" happens to be the most favorite phrase/dream for the toddlers, permanent-teethers and early teeners, and while you can expect the bare minimum sense of learnability that keeps the (b)rats still in the race, donot stress yourself expecting them to outdo Shakespeare himself when it comes to (a) interpreting something (b) commenting on the same. (I know you gave up in disgust a year ago perhaps, so this time it should be lot easier..)

    But have you thought that these are students you taught for a full-year, and had sufficient time to get them a notch higher on their past participles and "i before e but never after c's, generally".

    Did you innovate in your teaching style so the slowest was at par with the pace of the syllabus?

    Did you ever redo a lesson as 12 students absented on a certain rainy day?

    Or were you too busy meeting your own targets in terms of lessons covered?

    Tell me, do you have a favorite student? And if yes then is he the one who laps up every word you say and is meticulous in homework/assignments? What about the one who keeps playing pranks on you? Will you hold his paper through greater scrutiny?

    My intent is not to add to your pre-existing woes (self-made in my opinion) but only to understand the mind of a teacher.
    I always had these questions/opinions, but never the courage to voice them.

    And since you talk about "stupidity all over the A4 sheets", let me share my own bit (and here I was the student in 6th std. I suppose...) We were asked to make sentences with a certain phrase... and I got stumped over by this strange one "bone of contention". So while its difficult to remember the exact sentence I made (or I may be too ashamed to share it here), it had its inference drawn out of contentedness and a dog's liking for bones :)
    Over the years I may have covered a lot of laps in the proverbial rat race, but this one phrase keeps reminding me of my humble beginnings.

    So Teacher, Leave the kids alone!!

    (and sorry if the long rant bored you much... i'm sure there were at least 5 grammatical mistakes above that you noticed... another reason why the intelligent ones keep their answers short...)

  2. btw me again... wanted to compliment you on the hilarious "10 things teachers would love to write..."
    1,3,6,8 and 9 are simply outstanding... keep the good humor coming... and enjoy the summer hols... (aren't teachers lucky there compared to us officegoers?)

  3. tinks, these aren't schoolchildren but undergrads...aged 18 to 25 maybe. And the papers aren't necessarily from my college because they're University exams (much like Board exams) where all the papers from different colleges are taken together and have their identification numbers torn off and secret codes given them instead so no examiner knows which college papers he/she's evaluating. So it's not like I'm evaluating students who I've personally taught.
    Also, by the time a student goes to college, he or she is pretty much beyond any grammatical rectification. One of the major problems of free (or heavily subsidised) higher education here is that every school-leaver enrols for college irrespective of whether they're academically inclined. And then proceed to slack off and enjoy college life. I'm sure you did that too.
    About all those teaching style questions, the almighty syllabus lords it over us all and with all the extracurricular happenings which take away a lot of class time, our main worry is how to at least get through the course. It's a tough job.

  4. apologies, for completely misplacing you in the academia...
    I'm sure there's a whole host of reasons (positive ones) for my goof-up... you'll agree!

    but the questions i posed still remain, though you need not answer them. I'll go hunt down a primary school teacher who complaints on paper checking...

  5. btw, this appeared on my "quotes dashboard" on google personalized home and quite relevant here:

    I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.
    - An English Professor

    English Professor in Aizawl, to be precise :)

  6. I can sort of empathize. Altho I havent corrected papers, I do take practical classes. And kids making the same doing the same mistake for the nth time is not v amusing.

    Even if the kids are never going to get the papers back, you should still pour out your disgust on the pages. Nobody's going to read them right? Be cruel and cutting, good for the soul, am sure:)

  7. LOL LOL

    I generally get to edit work done by my peers and I understand the frustration you must be going through (grammer chhe tawk han sawi takah chuan :))

  8. btw, I never preview my comments. feel free to circle my "... making the same doing the same mistake for the nth time is not v amusing" with huge red circles and write ATrocious! or

  9. Jimmy btw..u know me, and I know u:)

  10. Thanks for understanding, guys. One of these days I'll post some of the most atrocious howlers I've had the misfortune to see :)

  11. "brutus you are a brute" says one answer paper.(as told by waternymphprincess???) hahaha

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  13. "brutus you are a brute"



    heeee hawwwww....donnnnn keyyyyy...lolzzz

    i love dat...

    *sori J ... :D ... but its funny.. :D

    wont laff dat loud again :D

  14. When will you reach stage 4? That is: get married, have children and then take out all the classroom frustrations on the poor innocent kids. That's the stage my mom is in right now, and sadly never seem to leave this stage. haw haw haw.

  15. Hey maybe we need to revamp our methods of teaching to let the kids know the beauty of the language.... I used to like the kind of lessons they had in our Kannada text book until they started asking questions in the exam like on what date did the following person do what? All this instead of talking about how this great person influenced the coming generations with their achievements and stuff like that...

  16. lolzzz my sides ached laughing!! no rather my stomach where i have my stiches on(i just had an operation remember??) ached ..lolzz.boy!! do i know what u go through!!good to be back here j..this is one place where i get to read good stuffs besides my are you..had a beautiful baby girl on 12th april..miss u