rip out page twenty-five.


last night kind of sucked. tuesday night was alright. i had another proctor with me, and we only had about twenty students. last night, i had forty fools, and i was all alone. so, five minutes before start time, the exam coordinator busts through the door. "you passed them out yet?" "no," i said. "perfect," he said, "follow me." he motioned for me to grab the box of tests and leave the classroom, then he made an announcement. "we're going to be a little late starting the test, but however much time we take, we'll add it on to the end."

outside the classroom, i asked what was wrong. "there are answers in the test," he said. goddamnit, i thought. who the hell cares. just throw them out. "we have to rip out page twenty-five." i failed to see the point. just leave it in, and don't count them. i voiced my opinion. "why can't we just leave them in?" he shrugged. "i don't know," he said, "it's what the professor wants." well, the professor shouldn't have fucked up. we sat there, and we ripped out each page twenty-five in the stack of tests.

i went back into the classroom and distributed the exams. we were still on time. as the thin red line moved past the twelve, i made a weak announcement. "well, it's 6:30, you can go ahead and begin." it feels weird being in that position, telling people what they can do and when. it's even weirder when, during the test, students will come up to me and ask to use the bathroom. "of course," i always say. jesus, what am i to them? some kind of nazi schoolteacher?

but i guess that's the mentality here. once, the work study girl was running late for class. "maybe i'll just not go," she said, defeated. "why?" i asked. "the professor always gets upset at students who come in late, and he gives them a hard time." she was visibly panicked, and i was glad i wasn't her. eventually, she mustered enough courage to show up tardy. "what the hell was that?" i asked monika. "apparently, she has a professor that likes to make an example out of late students." "that's terrible," i said. "yeah," she said, "she was so worried she was thinking about not even showing up to class. what kind of message does that send to students?" i turned to emily to get her input. "what an asshole," she said.

"what's the rule on cell phones?" an older black student asked me. "is it okay if i go outside? i just wanna see if my wife called." do whatever the hell you want, man. "sure," i said. another woman, well into her forties, possibly fifties, asked if she could go outside and have a snack. have a whole meal, i don't give a shit. "no problem." what's the incentive for enforcing rules? the whole place could be a big cheating shitshow, and i wouldn't mind. i'd sit back, relax, and still collect the overtime at the end of the month.

they were quiet and well-behaved, little docile thinkers in debt. a typical pose is someone reading with his hand on his forehead, a look of warranted worry. after all, it's over ten thousand dollars a semester riding on one little three-hour exam. what an ordeal. what a terrible thing to put someone through.

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