Sunday, March 9, 2008

Pedro the Proctor on Pee-Pee Patrol.

I was proctoring a first year computer science exam on Thursday evening. Two hour exam. We're well into Winter Term so the students have 6 months of university exam experience under their belts. They do not, it seems, have their bodily functions under control yet. 30 minutes into the exam, a hand goes up. "Yes?" "Can I get a drink of water?" "No." The stunned look lead to my follow on remark: "I am the only proctor here, I can't let you leave the room." Can I get a drink of water? If only I had a bright orange traffic cone like my son had in his grade one classroom. Headcount. Where is so-and-so? Ah - they have a cone on their desk, they must be going pee-pee.

As I left this parched student, another hand went up. I surmised from the nearly empty water bottle in front of this student what the issue was going to be. "Can I go to the bathroom?" "No" I said and immediately gave the same explanation to avoid another stunned look. 60 minute mark. Mister tiny bladder's back teeth are swimming "Can I go to the bathroom; I drank two bottles of water." "That's not my problem, and NO, I can't let you leave." Focusing on his bladder impaired his ability to comprehend what I told here mere minutes earlier. A few minutes later a few of the students finished up their exams and were leaving. Opportunistic urine-boy fires his hand up "Could I go out with one of these students then come back?" "If you want to leave now, hand in your paper." Somehow he managed to persevere to the bitter end, but hopefully he learned something in that exam. Either drink less water or wear incontinence protection.

Similar thing happened during final exams last Winter. Big gymnasium, hundreds of students, multiple proctors. If Little Johnnie "Two Bottles of Red Bull and a litre bottle of Evian" has to go pee, we'd escort him to the washroom. At one point, we looked around - there were three proctors in the men's washroom! Who was left back the exam proctoring?! We quickly came up with a system - one male chair, one female chair at the front of the room. Gotta go pee? Wait 'til the chair corresponding to your gender is free and go sit in it. Eventually a proctor who doesn't want to see your bladder explode will escort you to the toilet. As I was walking one student back from the bathroom, I asked him why he was drinking a massive bottle of water. "Have to keep hydrated" came his honest reply. Hydrated? This is a freaking EXAM! It’s not a triathlon! Do they televise exams? No. Why? Because people don't sweat. Unlike sports and Dancing with the Stars. Hydrated? Gimme a break. You can't pay me enough to do this shit.