Back in the day, when I was still teaching, there were exam sessions held in the gymnasium. Before the session, some unlucky class would schlepp about one hundred and fifty desks to the gym where they would be lined up in rows and adequately spaced apart to prevent cheating. Students would file in at the scheduled times, return texts (hopefully) and sit in assigned rows. Teachers or administrators would read out the exam rules and once the exam began the invigilators would start ambling up and down the aisles of desks, ensuring that students were doing their own work and perhaps answering questions about the wording of tests. I made it a goal to stay entertained while performing this supervision, so I carried a notepad on which I recorded all manner of random detail that struck me. I also wore comfortable shoes and attempted to make as many zigzags through the aisles as possible (no Fitbit required in those days) in my hour long shift. Here are some of the notes I made:
Very short observations from the gym-Exam Session #3-January 2013-Physics 11 and Science 8.
Sixteen Physics 11 exam writers and one Science 8 class-11 boys and six girls- all right handed.
Two invigilators, one ivigilatrice and one invigilateur-both right handed, one with a double cowlick and the other with a single, but most troublesome, cowlick currently overshadowed by a static electricity issue.
Four-the greatest number of presharpened pencils on any one desk.
One boy who had perfected the, “how ‘bout I stare into space and pretend the test in front of me doesn’t exist?” method of test writing.
Three versions of a universally recognized “thinker pose.” All involved placing the right hand on the right side of the face- one with a fist against the jaw, one with two fingers pointing up at the temple and the others curled under and one with a finger over the upper lip.
One rendition of the classic “Scream” painting, minus the horrified mouth part.
Two practicing yogitas-how uncomfortable looking but they got in the lotus pose somehow.
Five boys wearing something red.
One boy maintaining his status as “the guy with the coolest shoes” from last year.
Four students wearing glasses-all boys-no idea how many contact wearers.
Two boys in need of Kleenex and asking for it…
One playoff beard
Sunkissed Brunette-lightest hair colour/Flat Black-darkest hair colour
Seven left side of head parts, one centre part, three right side parts and five no parts.
All students born between 1996 and 2008
As this was a relatively small group of students, I ran out of fresh details to comment on so I rewrote question 4 from the Physics exam to make it more entertaining (and only slightly inaccurate:)
4. If seventeen students weighing no more than 54kg on average all sit on the Southwest side of the gym except one weighing about 40 kg, what is the probability that the 40kg student will be launched into orbit should the two invigilators end up on the Southwest side? (Please show your work)
Exams in the gym are a thing of the past and many students and teachers are glad of it; I’m happy I have a memory for the archives.