In preparation for the coming mid-term tests on Monday, the class last Wednesday was mainly a session of revisions and reviews. Students got a chance to ask questions, make requests, and clarify the things that bothered them. It was a surprise to all of them that this teacher from Nigeria was not familiar with (or at least not open to) giving students “review materials” ahead of their test.
“In Nigeria,” I said, half in jest, “students are not given to this much indulgence as you American students.” Back home, teachers take it upon themselves to surprise students in whichever possible way. Students would go into class one day just to discover a surprise test, with no way of knowing what to expect from the teacher. Do not get me wrong, this is not always a good thing. But here in America, not only did I have to give them the “areas of concentration” as we called it back home, with details of how I expect them to answer the questions, multiple choice or not, I was also made to promise that there would be at least a few more “extra credit” questions, set to help everyone get a chance to come out in good grades. To be clear, I do not have any problem with this. The students have worked so hard to overcome all linguistic and phonetic obstacles of learning Yoruba. It is only fair that the examination be made to test their knowledge, and not to punish their ignorance. Therefore, there would be multiple choice questions. There would also be fill-in-the-blanks, as well as questions requiring long and short sentences.
The students’ boldness and the willingness to ask questions at all times is one of the pleasures of teaching.