Wednesday, April 10, 2013
There's One Book Clint Won't Be Selling Back. From Ron in Racine.
We had the first of the closed book tests this morning. Students don't even bring material in the hall for this. They have calculators, graph paper, and blue books.
After getting them all started, I wandered down one floor to my office and on the way back to class stopped in the men's room.
Propped carefully behind the commode in one of the stalls was a copy of the text for my class. I couldn't help myself. I opened it up and saw Clever Clint, a student in my class, taking the test one floor away, had written his name and email address on the flyleaf.
He had apparently stowed the book here for nefarious purposes, or maybe, oddly, he left there, 80% hidden.
I used to be a nice man. I used to have a sort of understanding and compassion for students. That was a long time ago.
As I paged through his book, I found that he had "cleverly" marked several of the major theorem pages with paperclips. It's a gigantic book, more than 1400 pages, and the paperclips would indeed speed up one's retrieval of info.
I tore each of the paperclipped pages out and folded them up in my jacket pocket. Then, and I hesitate to say this out loud, dropped the rest of the book halfway into the clean water of the toilet bowl, leaving it soaking, just the top edge of it in the air, iceberg style.
I went back to my classroom and proctored the continuing test.
At about halfway through, Clint stood, stretched and walked toward me.
"Could I make a quick bathroom break?"
"Yes. That's just fine," I said.
He was gone a little longer than that sort of thing would normally take, and his face was white. Not once did he look up at the front of the room, and he had the student next to him bring up his test at the end of the period.
I sometimes wonder about who I am, what I've become, but there was a thrill of victory for me in this moment that I'm not entirely sure I like.