Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Homework, as far as I can remember, was a chore. During my formative years, I first attended a school started by expatriates in the middle east. The teachers were mostly housewives who may know something about the subject they were assigned to teach. Homework was a great way to cover up the fact that they didn't teach the assigned material in the class - rather we got it as 'homework' or 'self-study'. So they gave us lots of homework. Ironically, the good teachers felt so enthusiastic about their subjects that they felt we should spend more time on that, so they too gave us lots of homework. Given that 100% of the teachers were either very good or very bad, we were doomed.

As soon as the Maghreb azaan was heard, it was 'down to the study table you go'. Dip your fountain pain into this Pelican inkpot and start on page 5 of English For Today.

One mathematics teacher we had in Grade 5 was the ledgendary Mr A. For his class, we had two notebooks, called c/w (Classwork) and h/w (Homework). Every chapter in our book had 20 easy questions, and 40 hard ones. He would do 10 of the easy questions on the board. Then have the smartest guy in class do the next 10. The remaining 40 hard ones would be 'homework'.

He was directly responsible for the detriment of my handwriting, improvement of my speedwriting and numerical association skills. Since his class was just after the break (called tiffin) we would spend the break happily skipping lunch while finishingcopying our homework from T (the smartest guy in the class). Overtime, the copying would represent a work of art in progress. A would copy from B, changing the statements slightly. C would then copy from B, changing the changed statements slightly. By the time Z copied from Y who had copied from X, the final copied answer differed so greatly from A that it was its own answer. Such, um, teamwork were later proved to be lifesaving during university days.

A: Let x be the number of apples in the cart.
B: Let y be the number of apples in the cart.
C: m is the number of apples in the cart.
D: n is the # of Apples.
E: a = # apples.
F: a = apples in cart (no.)
Z: refer to qn 1 where # of apples in cart is unknown, let this value be x.

Ah, school. Why the sudden nostalgia, you ask.

I was at my friend's place, and just overheard his 12-year-old brother talk to his classmate on the phone.

"Yo, Haseeb, you got the answers to no. 6? Good, come online and I will get them from you on MSN."

Kids nowadays.



Maliha said...

ohhh such wonderful memories! I remember a time when all our exams were multiple choice and someone landed on the answers barely an hour before the exam. I had never memorized a stream of letters (50 all together) in barely 20 minutes.

The teacher may have had his suspicions as to why the average was 100%...but he never let on.

I remember those library days; and writing research papers from scratch! man, if we had google in my day:)

*sniff* this makes me feel old.

hey; i emailed you..wussup with the no-response?

mezba said...

Hey Maliha,

We had online exams for one course during university! Tat's another blog post though.

PS. sorry about the delayed resp, will get back asap.

zingtrial said...

Hi! been reading through your blog liiked it,Nice blog, Thanks for sharing,Wish you well

h said...

LOL, you've used all brown terms i coud think of ...the best was tiffin!!

The Bengali Fob said...

An average of 100% lmao! Maybe he thought the test was easy? Or that he was a good teacher? lol!

Nothing is wrong with teamwork and I don't think there's anyone who can say that they never participated in such valuable and enlightening group work!

BTW Mezba, do you visit Mash's blog? It's really good. Here's the address:

He's Bangladeshi btw.

NAB said...

Dude, this is just freaky. You SURE you didn't go to BIS, dammam??? We had a Mr. A too! For MATHS! And that's exactly what he'd do. He'd actually rip our hides off for not being able to do the hard questions, and then take the entire "period" to solve one himself.
And tiffin break. sigh.
We even had a salah break when the boys would go out to pray in the sweltering heat since we didn't have a big enough prayer room.
All the girls in one side of the room, the boys in the other. Monkey around more than you studied, but that wasn't an issue since you'd be studying from 6-11 at night to catch up anyways. And aaaahhh, classwork! where our teachers would dictate notes to us, or answers to questions, and we had to write 'em down. Go home and memorize bangla just to get frustrated because you had absolutely NO idea what those last two lines even MEANT!

AuditiO Addabaaz said...

hahaha! you remind me of my school back home :( we had FUN! we went to school just to relax and all of a sudden on our final year (class 10) they added stupid tutorials that were worth like 10% of our marks.... so we copied like hell! 5 ppz in a bench... one person had the book open and we did the A,B,C thing that u've mentioned :D [specially those arabic quotes for islam shikhkha!] we made a khichuri out of dhormo ;)

Me said...

Great post (great blog, actually!). I just happened to stumble across it.

Kids do have it "easier" in some regards now a days, when it comes to school, don't they? However, they'll be missing out on future interesting stories!