Switching the exam mode πŸ“

The academic year 2020-21 has been unique experience for the teachers, students and parents, with the online mode of learning. The kid is in Grade 11 and had changed school after his 10th. He went to his new school to write their entrance exam for admission and since then hasn’t set foot in the campus. No uniforms of the new school has been bought. All the books were bought via Amazon.

There are a few of his old classmates too in Grade 11 in the new school plus a majority of new faces or more correctly new voices. The teenagers are a difficult bunch to teach and the online mode makes the task no easier. They can hide behind their screens quite effectively and remain mum during an online class; it’s like they have finally in their possession a cloak of invisibility πŸ‘€. The majority of the class remains mute even when the teacher asks for a response and the requests from teachers for switching the camera on are also met by deaf ears. The kids prefer to type in their response in the online chat saying their audio/video has developed a snag !? What can the teacher say ? There are a few kids though who speak up and are prompt in responses.

The social distancing queue to enter the exam hall for the KVPY exam, Bangalore

The tests are online too, much to the absolute delight of the students. The cameras are mandatorily switched on for the exams. Though the faces are visible, the monitoring is not adequate and so the exams end up more like an open book tests πŸ˜‰. You have to feel for the teachers as they do the corrections online and try to decipher the handwriting of the kids in the scanned and uploaded answer sheets.

What about typing the answers down and then uploading the document ? “We are slow at typing and hence need more time to answer.” comes the reply from the kids. And time being a constraint for tests, that idea is thrown out of the window!

The online classes have their advantages and disadvantages – one advantage being the amount of time saved by not having to commute in the Bangalore traffic. It makes life so much easier and saves hours otherwise wasted sitting in traffic. The major disadvantage being the amount of time spent in front of the computer screens; takes a toll on the eyes and body.

The lack of verbal response from the students for questions combined with the similar answers from Google for the online written exams, resulted in the teachers having serious doubts whether the kids have actually learnt anything in this academic year and so the final year end qualifying exam, they decided to conduct it offline; “Come to school and write an pen and paper based test. Then we will understand how much you actually know!” announced the teachers ☺️

The kids were not prepared for this. When the announcement was made, it was the last class of the day and there was only half the class in attendance. Soon the message spread like wildfire and the class Whatsapp group was flooded with messages from the kids. And interestingly to the amusement of the teachers, as expected, the kids who were most quiet in class were the most vocal in protests πŸ˜€.

“What if we get COVID 19 while coming to school to write the exam?”

“How will we write for three hours with our masks on? The specs start fogging and it is very uncomfortable?”

“Our parents are working, they cannot drop us off. Will the school provide the transport?”

“We don’t have practice writing a three hour pen and paper exam!?”

The school did not budge. Most schools in the city are conducting the final exams offline for the higher classes. The principal took time out to address the student’s concerns and assured that all necessary precautions will be taken for safe exams in school. And since it is a matter of only three hours for five days, the parents will have to make the arrangements for the pick up and drop.

The students not to give up so fast, they had more concerns…πŸ˜‰

“Can the exams be postponed? There is so little time to (start) study !”

“We want more gap between exam dates. The entire syllabus is coming and it’s vast!”

Again the teachers advised them to stop spending so much energy and time on WhatsApp and instead start studying !

So ultimately the students have resigned to the reality of a looming a paper and pen based exam. Days of intense studying and burning mid-night oil lay ahead. The teachers have tried to allay the kid’s fears of scoring low saying the correction will be lenient.

And so the exam season is here – qualifying exams, competitive exams, pre-board and board exams, theory and practical exams. Here’s wishing all the kids and their parents very best of luck🀞.

Till next post, take care !!

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