Right Place – Wrong Space

Right Place – Wrong Space

My first teaching job was in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. It was a school of 800 students, grades 10-12. I was teaching chemistry and physics.

Exams were held in the gym and students were given 3 hours to complete them. Subjects were row specific, and a course like Chemistry 11 might fill two rows due to the relatively large number of classes. While teachers were primarily interested in supervising their own exams, we were, in fact, there to supervise all students who were writing.

On this particular morning, a student arrived about fifteen minutes late. He wasn’t one of my students so, of course, he made his way to a different row. He found an empty desk with an exam on it. He sat down and proceeded to write.

After about twenty minutes he put his hand up. I happened to be the nearest teacher so I approached him and asked what his concern was.

This is the wrong exam. I am not taking this course. I took it last year.”

I had to ask, “Really? Hold it now, you have been writing all this time and only now realize it is the wrong exam. How is that possible?”

I don’t know. The questions seemed kind of familiar.”

He told me who his teacher was so I passed the message on. His teacher came over and showed him to the correct row. He started in on his actual exam.

I don’t know if I was impressed with the fact that he was one of the first to be finished. Later, I did ask his teacher how he made out. Apparently, he did pass his exam.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. This guy started late and finished early. He had a such a level of focus that he was twenty minutes into the exam before he realized he was in the wrong row. I guess that takes a certain talent.

I wonder what he is doing now.

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