Today was the first quiz for the students. Without getting into how basic the math on the quiz was (we're talking elementary school math) I have to say that a majority of the students really have no idea how to behave in a quiz given in an academic setting.
All 300 or so students in the "Diploma Foundations" group took the quiz today. I wrote three versions of the same quiz to be given at three different times today and had to be present at all three. Luckily, I wasn't the head invigilator so I got to watch the other teachers yell at the students instead of me getting worked up over things.
The first one was well organized and managed by a Lebanese woman who was good at intimidating the students. The quiz began at 8:00 and even though one of my classes usually begins at 8:00 on Mondays, a majority of my students were late. About 5 or so tried to get in after the quiz began and were denied access.
Overall things went well the first two quizzes. The third quiz was the largest group and contained my worst class. I especially enjoyed watching that class wind up the head invigilator. While I had no desire to have blood pressure go through the roof, it was gratifying to see that I'm not the only person they piss off. Instead of having some of the worst offenders say, "Teacher, why are you so angry?" I got to have them ask me, "Teacher, why is that woman so angry?"
While seeing students see how far they can push teachers is nothing novel, I did see a few things that qualify as not really understanding what school is about including:
Not bringing a pencil.
Bitching over and over that you want a pencil even though you only brought a pen.
Not bringing a calculator despite being told over and over the week before that you aren't allowed to share. (While I think that this particular point can be a bit pedantic, I completely agree with it in it's capacity in teaching a lesson.)
Asking for a calculator every five minutes until the head invigilator threatens to kick you out of the exam.
Not making sure that you're on time because the teacher told you that you can't take the exam if you're late.
Bursting into the room 35 minutes late and announcing that you were there to take a test.
Not looking at the review materials or even looking over the book before the quiz.
Getting upset when you don't understand a question and insisting that this was never covered in class and telling the teacher that you were "going to take this upstairs."
The quiz was not only their first Math quiz, it was their first quiz as college students. As I've said previously, the schools here have let the students down and they are pretty low academically. In addition, they have never really learned how to study. Whereas Japanese University students can be pretty lazy, at least they have a base set of skills of how to study if they are required to. For the most part, my students are pretty good guys but unfortunately no one here calls them on the stuff they pull. It's part of our job to mold them into upstanding citizens. That doesn't mean that there aren't a few real pricks in there.