Saturday, August 29, 2009

damage control

I knew it would come to this. I knew that I would procrastinate marking my students' trial papers until it was too late.

Thus, I had worked out a PLAN: I would finish marking the objective questions first. That's the easy part - a bit tedious, but relatively easy and pain-free.

Then, I would move on the the structured questions in the Moral papers. This requires a slightly more effort but still, quite tolerable.

After all the easier parts have been completed, only then would I mark the dreaded essays. I have 136 scripts to mark. It's very much lesser than the 200+ I had to mark when I taught the afternoon session. But these 136 scripts also happen to be much, much longer! (unfortunately, they took me way too seriously when I told them to write beyond the expected 120words)

Even after I've separated the question papers from the answer scripts, the pile still looked insurmountable.

But I've worked out a plan for that too. I would mark around 20 papers per day. The school break would be 10 days' long so, I would dedicate the first three days doing the easy bits, and the rest doing the essays.

See. My PLAN is workable, and failure-proof.

*cue for laughter*

But fast forward to today - with only 3 days left before school reopens - the PLAN obviously didn't work.

I haven't started marking the essays and the Moral papers.

Apparently, buoyed by my success with completing the objective questions, I stopped adhering to the PLAN. Figured I needed a break. Only the break lasted a little too long.

So, now that I'm jolted back to reality, I've come up with another PLAN.

Hahaha (Don't you dare laugh. Only I'm allowed to laugh at my own misery)

I'm going to concentrate on the 3 classes I teach on Tuesday first. Since I can already anticipate their "Did I get an A?"/"What did I get for English, Teacher?" questions.

Hopefully, by Tuesday, I will finished marking their papers and hand in their score sheets to their respective class teacher. Because, even if you're NOT efficient, you have to look as if you are... hahaha

Then, I will clock-in how many OT it takes to complete the rest of the marking.


Do you think the plan will work?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Petua Berhenti Merokok

The Ministry of Health has given out posters on '12 Petua Berhenti Merokok' to schools.

Anticipating the students' backlash, the PK HEM warned the students not to tear the posters which will be put up in each classroom.

The announcement was made in the weekly assembly. Less than half an hour later, I went into 3H for Moral. The said poster was already up.

It was still intact. However, there are a few alterations which completely distort the original message:

1) Instead of 'Jom Berhenti Merokok', the poster now reads: 'Jom Merokok'

2) 'Bebas Daripada Rokok' became 'Bebas Dari Ada Pokok'

3) 'Petua Mengatasi Keinginan Merokok' ---> 'Tua Mengata Ingin Merokok' (!)

I know that I have to assume the role of the disapproving adult, but I cannot help but marvel at the students' creativity and be amused by their sense of humour.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Moral Quandary

I had a rather horrible past few days. There were many incidents which convinced me that today's kids are horrible. I dreaded going to school and making my way to class when the bell rang. And once in class, time seemed to pass very s l o w l y...

I truly felt for the first time that I might just hate my job.

My theory is that the academic calender shouldn't stretch more than 4 weeks long. This current stretch has been in session since 15th June! 7 weeks down, 3 weeks to go. 10 weeks in all! Adoi... There should be little breaks in between for the sake of the teachers' sanity.

Alhamdulillah, that dark phase had past. With only 3 weeks to go, I'm beginning to see the faint light at the end of the very long and dark tunnel... hahaha

Anyway, marking the Moral papers for the first time provided me with some comic reliefs. Marking is generally a very tedious job. But there are bound to be a few scripts out of the whole pile that will set you off laughing out loud.

Example A:

There are bound to be students who will leave a personal message, expressing guilt or appealing for compassion.

Example B:

You will encounter numerous spelling errors. Some of these errors will inadvertently distort the points that the candidates wanted to convey.
Keluhuran Perlembagaan means Keagungan/Kemuliaan/Kebesaran Perlembagaan.

But KeLURUHan Perlembagaan means the disintegration of the constitution (!)

Other distortions of Keluhuran:
Example C:

The question asks the students' opinion about someone who opted to forgo a higher-paying job overseas in order to serve and contribute to her own country's growth.

The expected answer should run along the lines of:
-Cinta akan negara: mempunyai perasaan sayang dan ingin memajukan negara.
-Sanggup berkorban untuk negara: rela pulang ke tanah air demi berkhidmat ke arah pertumbuhan negara.

Most of the students wrote something similar to the above answer. Except for one. He answered:

Unfortunately, I couldn't award marks for politically-incorrect answers, no matter how honest they are.


Based on my first experience of marking the Moral papers, I think that we need to do away with such tests all together since they are invalid.

If I remember my EDUC265 correctly, a test is valid if it measures what it is supposed to measure.

For example, if you have a test which requires the students to write everything they know about WW2 in 5 minutes and then proceeded to mark the students' papers based on the number of words the students had written, and not their content, then your test is invalid.

It might be valid test to measure speed-writing but not a valid test to measure the students' understanding of WW2.

Similarly, the Moral tests are not measuring anything worthwhile. Why then should we continue administering them?

I'm not proposing to do away with the Moral subject all together. The syllabus does contain important issues for the students to be acquainted with. But how do we make sure the students internalise the theoretical knowledge found in the textbook? Is it even possible for teachers to inculcate the listed values in the students simply by spouting their importance 160mins a week in class?

There has got to be a better way of doing things...