This is new...
And now I can add to it. Thanks to the wonders of wireless routers, which now largely blanket my department and much of my campus in juicy broadband, I am actually blogging while administering a test to my undergraduates. No, seriously.
It's an interesting experience, actually. I'm about four feet away from the front row- specifically, from my student Jeanne* who appears to be feeling the strain, but is not freaking out. I'm pleased because she's quite studious and doesn't need to freak out. This is in stark contrast to Margaret over yonder, who is plenty bright but, apparently, refuses to study or attend class. Obviously, this calls her brightness into question, I know.
This is always an interesting time for me and my students. On the one hand, tests are usually times when I can get random things accomplished that don't require my full attention- you know like blogging. This is somewhat relaxing for me. On the other hand, while my students generally seem to find me to be approachable and friendly, they often describe my tests as being less pleasant experiences. As a result, they get anxious and, seeing as how I can sense that, it makes me a little anxious too. I usually spend the class period half out of my mind with worry that I made it too easy, or too hard, or too complex, or too long, or even that it's littered with typos. So, really, testing is an ordeal for us all. For my students it begins days before the exam and finishes in class. For me, it begins during the exam and ends days later when I finish grading. And ironically, despite all of the conflict between instructors and students, we really do go through the same agony around test time.
I joke about undergrads from time to time... sometimes harshly... but the truth is, I really like my students. Guys, if any of you ever read this, please know that a lot of your instructors (including me) really like you. Some classes we may even love. We often sweat bullets watching you trying to answer questions and feel miserable when we see you answering the wrong thing.
Hang in there. We're on your side, even if it doesn't always seem like it.
* Names changed to protect the innocent.