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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Last of Days

The end for some
Not perhaps in the biblical sense (isn't it odd, that our culture is impregnated with so many biblical references, even in this increasingly secular society?) but we have 6 days of school left.

Well not strictly true.

We have 6 days left before the prizegiving and the seniors disappear for their study leave and their big exams.

It has become apparent that my senior computing class is reacting to the diminishing number of remaining days in the usual way.

1. The "I know" group. These students have been working to a careful plan since week 1. Their work is being handed in for assessment and grading in good time. Almost all will pass.

2. The "yeah, yeah" group. They've started to increase their work rate over the last term, rushing in their assessments as the deadline looms. Many if not most will pass.

3. The "Oh Shit" group. Every time I announce the number of remaining days, they look shocked and betrayed. How could I have let them down so badly? Why didn't I remind them that there were only so many days left ages ago? It was my fault. I should have pushed them harder. It was my fault; I should have given them more homework (as if much was done by them if I ever gave it out). It was my fault; I should have done the work for them. Maybe one or two will pass.

4. The "I don't give a f*ck" group. They've given up. They have no idea what they have to do, they make no effort to catch up, and they don't seem to care. (They do, or at least some of them. Sometimes I can see the expressions of despair crossing their young features. Then the next day, it's back to the blank, emotionless mask) some in this group don't even know what planet they're on, let alone what the date is. The Marijuana crop has been good this year. None will pass.

Student being told 6 days left until exam

I cannot remember what group I would have been in when I was at school.  I like to think I would have been in group 1, but I was probably in group 2/3 when I was at high school, group 2 when I went to technical college, and definitely group 1 when I went back to University in the 90s.

I don't blame or get angry with the students.  I try and cajole them to get on with it, but I know that for some, the idea of working to a deadline is completely alien.  Their maturing teenage brains are still in adolescent configuration, and they don't always respond in a logical manner.

We do our best.  I know that most will mature into likable, responsible young adults, but for some the road to maturity will be hard.
Roll on the prizegiving

PS Highlight of the year. Tana Umaga, the last captain of the All Blacks will be at the prizegiving, presenting one of his scholarships. It was a very decent thing to do, encouraging academic and sporting excellence from many disadvantaged areas in New Zealand. For many of our students (and staff) it will be the highlight of their school year. For any non-New Zealanders reading this, please be aware that:

1. Football (Rugby Union) is the next thing to a state religion in NZ

2. The All Blacks (The NZ national Rugby team) are deified (unless they lose, especially lose to Australia)

3. Tan Umaga is/was the high priest


  1. Yep, it's hard to to get excited about Tana coming to prizegiving. The squash player at the sports prizegiving just wasn't in that league.

  2. Richard (of RBB) you must stop going to the Nuova Lazio pubs and RSA to watch your football and get to sports bars with a better demographic. Umaga played Rugby UNION not LEAGUE.

  3. Actually, Tana played Rugby AND League

  4. It is very exciting! Wish I could come, sadly I have other school commitments. I am firmly in the yeah yeah group - always have been, always will be.

  5. "Tana played Rugby AND League"

    Yeah, I knew that but why spoil a good story?

  6. Tana who? Ha ha. Wouldn't that be funny if a fella from Top Town didn't know. Yeah I know I know I know I bloody know. I just wish he was there for those kids who need his input as well not just the ones getting a prize. We could have Peter Jackson. But he didn't grow up in Top Town ...

    I was a mixture of 1-4 through out my years of high school. J Gestapo asked me yesterday to tell the staff meeting group about what vertical rolls were like for me. I said I couldn't remember and I still don't.

    I like 'oh shit' least they've finally doing something. The 'I don't give a' just piss me off. Go home then.


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