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Monday, June 24, 2013

The girl who wrote TESTES


One good pedagogical practice retained alive in Kabesa is group evaluation. Like the Board exam papers, as soon as the exam’s over, teachers of the same subject sit together.
Last year, I was teaching Physics and by default I was pushed to the science group. However, this year it’s completely different. Because I teach Social Studies, I am disposed to History and Geography group.
For the first few days, I could not resist myself laughing. It was strangely funny that a science teacher is correcting history and geography papers. As two papers concluded, it made me feel more homely checking the humanities than those numerical science papers. I have to check Adolf Hitler of Germany to Benito Mussolini of Italy, Mesopotamia in Iraq to Mohenjo-Daro in India, River Mississippi in the U.S to river Murray darling in Australia, Mount Everest in Nepal to Jhomolhari in Bhutan, and rice cultivation in Pakistan to Masai herders of Tanzania.  
The pen is mightier than the sword: My friends checking papers in a group
Today, in the menu, we had class eight geography papers. My friend Mr.Tashi Dorji has prepared tea momo and cool drinks. We completed twenty six papers of class VIII A and took rest to have the drink and momo.
Few minutes later, we unanimously made an attempt to check the papers of section B. My friend Ms. Neljur Wangmo, examined the objective type questions and threw the papers in front of me. I had my share in awarding marks for fill in the blanks, matching and one-word- answer questions.
As usual, we went on checking the papers seriously. From the pile of papers, I picked one which immediately ignited an uncontrollable laugh. As I laughed loud, my friends gave me a stunning look. We are six in our group, including the principal and the vice principal.
I read the script written by one student. It was a fill in the blanks question. My friend Mr. Tashi Dorji, the subject teacher, told me to read loud so that the whole group can join the laugh if it’s really funny.
I did as he told. The question reads like this:
The pH of the soil can be tested using……………[ kept blank]………. The children were asked to fill it with one word.
That child has written, the pH of the soil can be tested using testes. The entire group then began laughing. But the principal seemed quite serious. I repeated it again…testes..testes..and so on.
We would not have laughed much for so long. But two reasons kept us prolonged.
1. As Tashi sir asked me, “What’s the name of that boy?” Every one curiously waited to hear the name. I quickly flipped back to the first page and noticed the writer was a girl.
2. I did not know why the principal was serious and Ms. Neljur [who recently joined after completion of her studies] sitting next to me kept on pinching my thigh. Later, we learnt that they were uncle and niece.
The answer of the girl reminded me the danger of memorizing facts. Rote memorization is never a good thing.
The real answer was, Soil Test Kits. But, in her ears, she might have heard or bypassed the information from the text as Testes.

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