Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another Classroom Spontaneity

We published the quiz results last week, and alphabetic grades were used.

Several students came along to ask me, "Sir, 'B' means how many marks?" etc.

The conversion to alphabetic grades was not done by me, so I told them I honestly do not know (actually, too lazy to find out, too).

But one student - who got an 'F' - wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.

"Sir, please at least tell me if I got more than 30 marks... please..." he pleaded.

Why do these people expect us to remember everything? There are at least 70 people in the combined E&E classes, and the grades are based on the averages from 4 quizzes! How should I know how many marks he got in average? I had already submitted the papers to the administration!

I told him as much, but he insisted, and it was annoying me to pieces. Then the light bulb went on. "You know what? 'F' stands for 'fabulous'." I wrote on the whiteboard as I spoke the words.

Those who overheard started laughing. That insistent student laughed, too (albeit a bit more bitterly than the others. Understandable).

Then I continued. "And 'E' stands for 'excellent'." I wrote below 'fabulous'.

A student chimed in, "'D' for 'distinction'."

"'D' for 'distinctive' - not 'distinction', because the previous two are adjectives, so this has to be an adjective, too."

But I was stumped on "C". "C" is for what? I didn't want to use "credit", so I asked the students to volunteer to finish the list. And below is what they came up with, collectively:

I love the 'Bad' and 'Awful' part. But I'm still unhappy with "C". It's not even an adjective! And I think "D" should perhaps be 'Distinguished'...

Any idea? :-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

An Impromptu Comic Strip in Class

"An impromptu COMIC strip, not "an impromptu STRIP". Sorry to disappoint any would-be voyeurs...


Just before the Christmas and New Year break, my students had their last pop quiz for "Control Systems and Automation".

While they have their quizzes, I usually doodle something on the whiteboard as a time reminder. Usually it is something simple - and "explosive" - like an exploding cannonball with a fuse marked in terms of remaining time, or a bunch of dynamite sticks with a countdown timer. But that day, I decided to do something a bit more elaborate:

At the last-5-minute point, I allowed a 20-minute extension, upon their petition, making the remaining time 25 minutes.

Well, to be honest, I had anticipated they would ask for an extension - as usual - so the following three panels were not a last-minute change of story line. I had already pictured the story this way since the beginning.

The moral of the story (to my students): no matter how much time I give you, your end will still be the same. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha (laughing diabolically).