Being a fresh professor, just out of the Post-Doc oven, i was quite excited about my FIRST-EVER invigilation duty with a conviction that no cheat shall pass my hawk-eye.
On the anticipated morning, as soon as I entered the examination hall, i could sense the eagerness in the students. they know me! Some of them knew it would be detrimental to look anywhere else but the sheet because I embodied the invigilator that comes with a sense of finding the truth. To be absolutely sure, I wiped my glasses vigorously with the end of my cotton shirt. I scanned the examination hall very carefully. Visibly excited, I felt the surge of a super power that could see right through the students, to the core of their souls and judge if this student is worthy or unworthy of giving an exam (which most probably does not matter in the long run anyways). Feeling this way, I instinctively thought about Gandalf – the righteous old fool from Lord of the Rings. Ever so watchful, ever so powerful, being a decision maker of a perhaps not so significant exam!
While scanning through the students, my good sense told me that there are most probably 3 types of ‘examinees’.
The first category (just like every gradation, where you start from the top and expect it to be the cream of the lot, I will be as cliched as possible) consists of students that wrote, wrote and wrote and never looked up till the last minute. I assumed that these students have been studying all day long (or better all year long), waiting for this day to show their mettle and as soon as they looked at the paper, realized that they have all the answers and decided to make use of the three hours they got, acquiring the gratification of a great test (for how long, I don’t know).
The second category looked at me as I passed, perhaps afraid, perhaps collecting their thoughts before they wrote. This was a rather peculiar batch. Although I wanted to do a body scan and check every student, I resisted the impulse of frisking each one of them. Every time I passed by such a student, he/she fidgeted. But as is in the court of law, according to the presumption of innocence, everyone charged with a penal offense (here, cheating) is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So, I had to delay these very specific activities till I could notice an abnormal twitch on the innocent.
and then was the third category. The ingenious cheats that never got caught, doesn’t matter how much I looked. They had mastered the art of deception at such an early age, the future managers, leaders and what not! Those were the ones (in my imagination) that cheated as soon as I turned.
I came up with an original idea (pun intended). I so perceptively strategized that If I were to sit at an empty desk, just as a student, I could camouflage myself and wait for that one invigilator moment! Unfortunately , I was unsuccessful and the 1 hour exam time passed peacefully (dreadful moment as an invigilator).
Update: With three exams down and no cheat caught either I am a poor invigilator or the students are honest