Monday, May 25, 2009

Pocket guide to portray a Good Student

Do I give off the impression of being a very good student?

Maybe, maybe not? Chances are it is a yes (I have heard this from both close classmates and distant juniors)

The truth is, those who know me would know that I was and still am not as hardworking, proactive, diligent and attentive as what my student image project me to be.

I APPEAR to be only. There is a difference between appearing to be a good student and being one in essence. A few tricks here and there - boom! There you go, harmony between teachers and students. After all, both teachers and students are always looking for the same thing - trouble-free co-existence.

Tonight, I am going to reveal a few insider's/ tried-and-tested tricks in portraying a good student!

Sleeping in class. No one can escape the occasional heavy eyelids in a mundane class. But, even if you have to sleep, don't do it too openly, please. Usually I assume the 'The Thinker' pose:

1) Head lowered.
2) Right hand on table, on notebook, holding a pen.
3) Left hand supporting left eyebrow.

So it seems like, you are just frustrated/bored: something totally overlooked by teachers in class. There was this day in Form 5 when I was sleeping in my 'The Thinker' pose while my friend in the conventional head buried on the table pose, next to me. Our BM teacher whacked her table, waking both of us up. She got lectured, I got, "Loretta, do you need some Chicken Essence?"

Last minute homework. When I was home-tutored by Miss Leong, I used to get 2 essays as homework per day. And I would do them the last 20 minutes before she arrives, sometimes hidden in my room or even the toilet! Essays are easy to rush - introduction, point 1+2+3, conclusion. But 20 minutes was my fastest record.

What if I had only 15 minutes? I would simply write something as the introduction (anything random or irrelevant but then you would have to cancel it more violently haha), then cancel everything out. So that when questioned, my answer would be, "I tried but I couldn't think of a way to start." Usually it will end up with the teacher telling you how to start.

What if I had only 10 minutes? I would just prepare the framework. The important point here is: to act confused. It will seem like you did your research and preparation but am merely confused by the topic.

What if I had only 5 minutes? This is risky and definitely requires experience: argue with the teacher about the topic. Just blatantly disagree with it. For example, 'Discuss the disadvantages of playing video games' - "If I discuss about video games only it will be insufficient as what about other similar technologies out there like computer games, internet games, etc".

What if you totally forgot about it? Don't look like you 'forgotten' for too many times. Out of the 10 times you forget, make 9 times a case of 'miscommunication'. "Eh, I thought it was due yesterday so I did not bring it today!" or "I thought you said page 63 and not page 36. . . "

Forgetting to bring books. My Science teacher in Primary 6 asked all other students to take me as a role model and be 'attentive' in class, when I was only being so cause I forgot to bring my notebook and she was damn scary with this aspect. Tip: Stare straight at her, trail her finger as she points to the blackboard, don't give too many nods(!!), instead appear to be pondering (shows that you are thinking!).

Underprepared presentations. Supplement with creativity - do something outrageous, something your teacher can never expect. For an oral test for the same BM teacher in Form 5, I gave a monologue on . . . . . . "What I thought about the night before my oral test". So basically, I just sat in front of her, talking about what I was thinking at that time *shrug*. Zero preparation, 100% attention and affection haha.

The same goes for paper presentations. You might lack substance or research but kill it with your presentation - colourful pictures work better than 1000 words of description, use quirky words instead of textbook words only. Simple things like that.

Question and Answer sessions. Scariest part eh? To avoid being called, instead of the traditional eye-contact-avoidance, try my ways and see:

If it is a Maths question, start scribbling on a piece of paper or calculator, but point here is DO NOT APPEAR TO BE COUNTING TOO FAST OR ANXIOUS. Take your time - make it seem like you know what you are doing and eh, you are just taking your own sweet time doing it! Another alternative way is, act like you are looking for paper - usually teachers will bypass you if it is not a question which requires you to do it on the blackboard.

For questions which tests your memorising skills, like my grade C5 Moral haha - look up at the ceiling for a while. Make it seem like you were just searching and then 'found' the answer.

If all else fails, and you were called for a question. It is not the end!

Even if you don't know the answer, don't let out the big 'I don't know' straight away - it will seem like you don't care or did not even bother to think! Try this: Open your mouth and make it seem like you are about to give an answer, then hold back and say, "Erm, actually I am not sure". The teacher will either prompt you or say it is alright. If the teacher does prompt you and after some time, you still don't get it (!!), wait until a point where you can counter with a question of your own. E.g. "But I thought we use that formula for air pressure, so we can use it in this context as well?"

Talking too much. There are times when you talk a bit too much, not realising the teacher is there - no sweat. Change the direction of the conversation. If you were loud, then try to involve the teacher in the conversation - "Don't you think so, teacher? The globe is really getting warmer isn't it?". If you were soft, then try to switch the topic to something serious/dramatic/academic-related - "I still think we should ask the teacher about that question."

There are much more tricks of course, but Miss Good Student here is getting sleepy from a full day of work!

The point of this detailed discussion is not to spoil or be a bad influence to students, instead it acts as a little guide to being nicer and respectful to teachers much like how one must know how to interact with the society.

It is clear that these are not tips on how to butter-up or polish-shoes of teachers. It is on how to live in harmony with teachers, being a little nicer to them so that they can be nicer to you as well!

Should anyone need more tips or have their own tricks to share, please drop a comment - my blog caters to the young generation that is students :-D

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