Invigilating students writing tests is arguably the most boring part of teaching. When I was a student myself, teachers would bring newspapers to amuse themselves with while sitting for hours on end in oppressive classrooms and wondering whether the students have unionised already and will stage a revolution to overthrow the tyranny of the teacher. It never happened during my student lifetime, which means it’s bound to occur now that I’m a teacher myself, so that I could get the full enjoyment out of being trampled to death by a horde of frustrated kids.
Like my teachers before me, I don’t take any interest in the students’ struggle. I’d like my efforts to be commensurate with my wages, but I already work considerably harder than what I’m paid for, therefore there arises no obligation for me to be committed any deeper. I can’t say that I bring newspapers to read while on my watch – I make use of current technology to pass away the time of torture for those sitting the test and time of dullness for me as the not-so vigilant overseer.
I’m gradually getting the hang of it – of trying to do something at least marginally productive during the time that is bound to be wasted – as illustrated by the following sample of activities I indulged in during my most recent babysitting, I mean studentsitting session.
- I updated my Instagram with my latest rubbish phone snaps; reorganised (again) all app icons on all my phone’s screens; messaged a few colleagues who were at work and not currently invigilating anyone, therefore disinclined to entertain me; and set up a new email signature for my phone, saying, besides my name, Sent from my dumb mobile device. Then I grew bored with the phone and decided to take it a level up.
- I switched on my hardware-keyboard-equipped tablet with the intention to blog a little. My tablet does not have its own SIM card with a data plan, so I proceeded to set up a hot spot to make my tablet receive my phone’s 4G data without the need for cables. (I don’t carry any cables to class because I would be in real danger of using them to strangle myself in frustration.) The hot spot I set up worked. It was my first time trying, so I was pretty pleased with myself.
- The cheating students proved to be too distracting for me to do any blogging, so I warned them (again), Zip it up for gd’s sake, you’re disturbing me, on which they did zip it up (for a while), allowing me to surf the depths of tech net to see what I can do about the increasingly annoying Instagram adds evilly masquerading as regular posts. It turned out I can do next to nothing. Even if I were willing to pay to remove adds, such option does not exist. There is one way, which involves rooting your Android / jailbreaking you iOS, which I wisely decided to abstain from since I wouldn’t know what I’m doing.
That’s one thing I share with my students after all – we don’t know what we’re doing. There is one difference though: I know that I don’t know what I’m doing, therefore I avoid doing it, whereas the kids don’t know that they don’t know what they’re doing and erroneously think that they know what they’re doing. Are you following me? In any case, I have to excuse myself now, since I need to stand up and yell at the students present to put their bloody hands so I can see them and stop Googling the test answers. Or someone gets hurt.