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Pet Peeves

2006-05-12 10:29

  A pet peeve is a term in English associated with something specific that gets on your nerves. One little thing will throw yousintosa tantrum for hours and make you lose your mind. I don't know how to say it in Chinese, but the meaning is something that just makes you incredibly mad.

  In this world, I have only three pet peeves that will drive me crazy. Number one is racism. Two, those who don't respect what I've done. Three is lying to my face. I absolutely can't stand any of these three.

  Mr. Ward had a single pet peeve. Cheating.

  It is considered unprofessional to let your pet peeves or annoyances get in the way of your job. When you let anger take you over, you make decisions that you will regret.

  I remember many times after tests, Mr. Ward found that the students sitting around me had better scores than the others and the further away a student was from me, the worst his grade. Mr. Ward suspected that some of the juniors "accidentally" got some of my answers.

  So he and I had a very interesting talk about cheating.

  He told me that he really couldn't stand the idea that all that he was teaching didn't even reach the student and the student would rely on cheating to pass the class. That is a very valid statement, if I were a teacher and caught someone cheating, I would be very unhappy. Mr. Ward stays behind after school for office hours and because he always teaches until everyone understands, cheating is just a kick in the face for all of his hard work.

  Mr. Ward once told me of some of the ways students have tried to cheat. The list sounds like a resume for the movie "Dumb and Dumber".

  1.Student A intentionally "drops" his pencil an unusually far distance from his desk. So he stands up and waltzes slowly across the room to retrieve it. On the way he passes an innocent victim who's paper is left slightly in the open. He glances at the papers looking for circles, which indicate finished answers. He bends over slowly to get the pencil and walks back slowly glancing at papers left and right. The funny thing is during multiple-choice objective tests; the pencils seemed to fall quite a lot. Whereas short answer and proof tests had some magical spell over the pencils to keep them from falling.

  2.The old cheat sheet has been used for decades even before I went to school. The idea is you get a piece of paper and you write down all the formulas, rules, notes, definitions, and everything else that you will need for the test. And some how get access to it, during the test. The most common way that Mr. Ward said he has seen this done is with a tiny bit of paper taped to the inside of the kid's palm. The paper is no bigger than a half dollar, so the smaller you can write, the more formulas and definitions you can fit on it. Mr. Ward told me that one time he caught a student doing this when he was handing in his test, the student gave the test with the hand with the cheat sheet stuck to it and Mr. Ward saw it instantly.

  3.This is by far the stupidest thing I have ever heard, well stupidest thing to do to cheat. Two students who were very good friends decided that they didn't want to study for a test one day and they came up with an idea. One student remembers half of the formulas and the other remembers the other half. So when it came to test time, they would each take their half of the test and then tell the other person the answers. How was this done? Listen to this. The kids sat right next to each other, but they couldn't look over otherwise Mr. Ward would see them. So what did they do? The answer was Morse code, with pencils. Well it really wasn't Morse code. One kid would tap his pencil lightly five times indicating he needed the answer to number 5. Then the other kid would tap what ever the answer was. They had a whole system worked out for fractions, decimals, equations, and everything else. No they knew what they were doing so they didn't tap too loudly or frequently. They would change from pencil taps to taps on the chair to taps with their feet. Well it ended up working out like this. Mr. Ward walked over and both would stop tapping, he walked away and they would start again. He then figured it out after some really strange answers to the some of the questions, but that didn't matter because neither scored very high.

  These incidents aren't very rare.

  The last day of the entire school year, all I have left is my math exam and I would be home free for summer. We walkedsintosthe classroom and sit down; there seemed to be some definite tension in the air because this is the biggest test of the year. I saw some kids trying to do some last minute studying, some trying to calm themselves down by breathing slowly and some saying a silent prayer.

  Mr. Ward goes to the front and starts handing out the tests by rows. After explaining the rules of the test, he said very clearly and concisely, "If you cheat, I will take your test and tear it up. You will get a 0 for the biggest grade of the year. So folks, if you haven't figured it out, that's a bad thing." Mr. Ward had somewhat of a robotic make up not only mentally but physically also. He moved very effortlessly and efficiently about the room and during every test he goessintosa sort of RADAR mode. He sat at the front and scans the room for anything that may look like cheating. During this RADAR mode, if you were cheating, you would be caught. Guaranteed.

  Our test started and I was sitting there and working away quite quickly. I looked around with 15 minutes left, because I had finished and was checking my test.

  I noticed something very peculiar!

  Mr. Ward was staring right at one of the kids that seemed to be only half way done with his test.

  Every test we took, there was always that one guy scrambling at the last minute to finish his test. He would turn the pages and you saw blank spot after blank spot. Sometimes I even saw entire pages that were left blank.

  Mr. Ward did not take his eyes off of this kid, it seemed weird to me. For the remainder of the test, Mr. Ward watched that kid as he struggled furiously, flipping papers back and forth and writing furiously and erasing even more furiously. He seemed to use his calculator a lot more than he needed.

  After the test was finished, Mr. Ward gave his end of the year speech. Basically along the lines good luck and good job. Then I saw him beckon to the kid he was watching and tell the kid to go in the hall.

  Mr. Ward walked out of the room andsintosthe hall silently. He closed the door and from that moment on, I heard about 4 minutes of Mr. Ward yelling at the kid. He got his test ripped up and a zero for the end of the year exam and also failed for the quarter and had to take summer school.

  That was the first and the last time that I have seen Mr. Ward ever yell like that. Apparently the guy had written his answers inside the sleeve of the calculator and every time he was "using his calculator" he was really looking at the formulas and other stuff he had written inside of the sleeve, which was all in vain because Mr. Ward spotted it a mile away.

  “Pet peeve”指一种总是烦扰你,让你感到不安、厌烦的小东西,这个小东西能让你生几个小时的气,让你失掉理智。不知道中文应该怎么译才好,反正它比较准确的意思就是你讨厌的东西。

  在这个世界上,我最讨厌三种东西:第一是种族主义;第二是不尊重人;第三就是当着我的面讲谎话。这些都是我绝对不能原谅的。

  那么什么是沃兹先生厌恶的“小东西”呢?

  考场上作弊是件令人恶心的事,这也是沃兹先生的“pet peeve”——最讨厌的事。

  如果让烦恼的东西影响到自己的工作,那是不理智的。作为一个老师,他既要学会控制自己的情绪,又要不放弃做人的原则,这实在是件不太容易的事。

  那么,沃兹先生是怎样处理考场作弊案的呢?

  记得经过几次堂上考试后,沃兹先生发现我的前、后、左、右的邻座的考试成绩都不低,而且是以我为核心向四周“辐射”——离我越近的成绩越好,越远的越差。他怀疑是我的邻座们“无意”中借鉴了我的答案。

  于是,他和我就有关考场作弊一事曾有过一次有意思的交谈。

  沃兹先生告诉我,作弊之所以最让他不能容忍,是因为作弊使得他的教学没有存在的意义,是侮辱他的辛勤劳动。

  沃兹先生给我讲了不少他“侦破”的堂上作弊案。听那些故事就好像是在看那部《傻瓜和大傻瓜》的电影。

  镜头一:A学生考试时,故意让手中的铅笔“掉”到地上,因为是故意的,所以滚得很远。于是,他大大方方地站起来,慢慢地横穿教室去捡铅笔。在去的路上,左顾右盼……然后,缓慢地蹲下身去捡铅笔,当然眼睛是看着人家的试卷;在回坐位的路上,又是左顾右盼。奇怪的是,如果考试是标准化的多项选择题时,“掉”铅笔的人特别多;如果考分析题,大家的铅笔都不“掉”了。

  镜头二:在考试之前,把与考试有关的公式、法则、定义等等,密密麻麻地写在一张小纸条上。能使小纸条顺利地带进考场的办法是多种多样的,最流行的方法是把小纸条藏在手心里,考试时,一有问题就可以看看手心。也有的把公式写在鞋底边上,有问题就低头系鞋带。一次,有一位学生交卷时忘了左手心的秘密,用左手把试卷递给老师,让老师抓了个正着。

  镜头三:两个好朋友决定为了节省复习的工夫,一人记一半内容。在考试时你做上半部,我做下半部。为了使对方得到答案,他们竟发明了一套完整的密码系统:坐在右边的一位,需要知道第五题的答案时,他就用铅笔在桌子上轻轻敲五下,坐在左边的一位回敲两次——表示答案是B。更有趣的是,他们竟然还为小数点、分数、方程式等都配有特殊的密码。为了避免敲桌子的声音来得太频繁,他们还不时交换使用动脚点地的方法……

  这样的故事还有不少。

  这是整个学年的最后一天。完成今天的数学考试,暑假就要开始了。同学们都很兴奋,但看得出来又都很紧张,因为这是今年最大的一次考试。

  我坐在自己的坐位上,看见同学们有的正在做考试前最后五分钟的复习,有的正在闭目养神,有的正在小声祈祷。

  沃兹先生开始发试卷,他先讲了些考试的注意事项,然后用很严厉的口气说道:“不要作弊!如果我发现你作弊,我会撕了你的考卷,再给你个0分。如果到现在你还没有认识到作弊不好,我实在是为你感到内疚。”

  考试一开始,沃兹先生的眼睛就像雷达似的有规律地在教室里扫描,任何作弊都别想逃过他的搜索范围。

  做完全部试题,我一看表,还有15分钟。

  我开始注意观察周围的动静,看看沃兹先生,他总是眼睁睁地看着一个家伙……

  嗨,有情况!我的直觉告诉我,气氛有点异常。

  这位老兄几乎每次考试都是很仓促地在最后一分钟交卷,而他的卷面总是留有大量的空白题。沃兹先生的眼睛一直没有离开过他。

  这回他表现得更惨,他把试卷翻来翻去,又涂又改的,老是在计算器上算不清楚,一直折腾到交卷。

  考试总算结束了,我为这位高三的同学深深地舒了口气。

  沃兹先生按照惯例给我们作了年终讲话。无非是些“Good luck”,“Good job”之类的话。

  讲完话,他走出教室,又回过头来把那个他盯了一个小时的家伙叫了出去,还顺手关上了教室的门。

  几秒钟后,走廊里传来沃兹先生愤怒的大叫声。那个家伙考场作弊,沃兹先生咆哮着,把他的试卷撕得粉碎,当场把他的全年成绩、学期成绩都算成0分。

  这是我第一次也是惟一一次看见沃兹先生发这么大的火。

  你猜这个自作聪明的高三家伙搞了什么名堂?他把一张写满公式、答案的小纸条夹在计算器的外壳里,当他假装计算时,正是在偷偷作弊。

  沃兹先生的雷达扫描没放过他。

  明年沃兹先生给新的学生讲故事时,在他所列的作弊方法里一定又多了一种。

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