Was part of a team that gave an exam. It was fun to see the faces of the students contort with every question. You could almost say that, if teaching was a marriage, we definitely consummated it yesterday.
All that except, that was not exactly how it went down.
I was in charge of preparing some of the questions. I was walking up and down the room trying to keep up an austere and friendly demeanor at the same time. Trying to meet the gaze of each student that happened to look up like ” I am watching you!”
And you know students; they ask! And what I discovered was: woe be unto anyone who cannot answer their questions properly.
Well excuse me if I don’t know all of biochemistry by heart!
Sometimes you should not give away the answers while trying to clarify things. At other times the question in question was not from your portion of the course. And still at other times, even if it was you who prepared the question, you just can’t be too sure.
So anyway, I tried to explain what I can, told them to answer to their whim for other questions and for the questions that I had prepared, I would say: “Tiyakew tikikil meselegne; esti bedenb eyewina siraw “
It was in the middle of all this that I was called by a student. He was sitting with his legs crossed. Not like the one you do when you are in the middle of an exam, and you really have to go, but have no choice but to keep it inside. No, Ellen DeGeneres style. He shows me a question. I give it a look and try to walk away with the usual ““Tiyakew tikikil meselegne…”. But I did not get far before he calls me back (“not so fast buddy”), same question, and starts to explain things to me, underlining words, scribbling synonyms and shit! He went through the choices one by one for me and he let me go when he thought he had found the answer.
And tell me what’d I say ? “Where do you get off lecturing me you Mourinho-act-alike little fool?! Meet me outside and I ma fuck you up! …or vice versa…”
But did it stop there? Oh no! Kid calls me again:
“It’s you again smart pants?! You really are asking for it!!”
This time it was not one of my questions. At the risk of putting down another guy’s question preparing prowess, the question was ambiguous. The previous night I had tried to clear it up for myself but couldn’t. It went “what is the key ….of…?”
He says “What does it mean by ‘key’?”
In situations like this, when you are not really sure about what is meant by the word “key”, enlightening/bamboozling demands that you should switch to Amharic:
“wesagne malet new”
“gin eko bizu wesagne …..och alu”
“ betam wesagne yemimesilihin melis” … “ and let me go, please?!”
He fills in the “right” answer, oozing with confidence some might mistake for arrogance, his exam paper upright, for all unknowledgeable teachers to see.
Liked the kid. It is students like him that make teaching a fun challenge, the way it should be. And as a teacher I am a work in progress. But every day I learn more and finally I am starting to think that I really could get to like this ASTEMARI business. Like, this is my domain!
We do it with class baby!
Then again Wul Drant endalew…
T, remember eleventh grade, Amharic class, we would study whole reading passages because some part of it would appear verbatim in the tests? Betty would not remember because she used to be a girl. Don’t get me wrong; she is a girl still. In fact she is a beautiful girl whom I would like to take to a room, close the door, bolt it , turn on the lights( damn! teregna nen), close the windows, draw the blinds, check that the door is closed,
You get the drift
In one of those passages there was a quote-it appeared on a test- from this fellow who went by the name Wul Drant: ” Filagot yaletesetiwo ewir new ; tesetiwom yalefilagot bedin new”. Sorry for the not-politically –correctness of “ewir”.
Doesn’t anyone think that it is time to find replacements for those kinds of words in The Bible? Especially the ones in the gospel where Jesus cures this ….. and that ……… ? I know they are only words but … they do not sound great.
So I don’t believe that I was born to teach (like hell you are not!). But now that I am starting to want to be a teacher, I think what I lack in tesetiwo, I could make up for with hard work. And that includes putting an end to this post and preparing notes for my classes which will begin in a week’s time.
PP (post post): For what it’s worth Ato Ka, the guy’s name was Will Durant.