The Paper Trail

Last week, I finally finished all my exam paperwork. It was, to say the least, a somewhat mammoth task. We were told at the end of last semester that we would have to compile a portfolio (of seven documents) for each of our classes. That is six in total. We were sent a model of a Chinese teacher’s class, to show us how the documents should look. However, there was no explanation as to what numbers appear in some of the documents and where they have come from.

I did it as best I can, before word reached me that it was wrong and we had to do it another way, so I did that before changing it again a third and final time! When I actually knew what to do, it was not too arduous, but this was scuppered by the total lack of direction or instruction in how to set out the documents. Some of the documents, such as the listening exam questions, I already had. Others I could download already complete from the website, but one was more complex. It required adding two different sets of numbers from a previous document onto it. However, this document had to be created from scratch which meant that I had to enter all the students details individually. Not so bad with a class of ten students, but when you have a class of 34 it causes a few issues! It was a case of copying and pasting the details from one document to another, but because the documents have different information on them, it was not so simple a job (they all had different columns in them, for instance).

What was worse was one of my colleagues, who is, shall I say, not computer literate (to put it nicely). She claimed she didn’t even know how to copy and paste. So, not only did I have to do my documents I ended up doing most of hers. In a drop-in session that our liaison teacher held for us when it was discovered we had all done different things and we were all lost, this colleague got into a rather loud and quite long argument with the dean of the department, in the corridor, basically saying they should sack her. The dean countered by stating they couldn’t and (eventually) she calmed down.

We were given an extension of a week, and the documents were submitted last Friday lunchtime in the cafeteria. The liaison teacher came to our table. She took my documents, sat behind me. My colleague was sat opposite me, facing this teacher. She kept saying that the teacher was pulling faces, so I was braced for a problem, when in actual fact, the only thing that was wrong, was I had not put the dates on the documents. I think she was quite pleased with mine. They were well-presented (and hopefully accurate….). But, even at lunch, my colleague was still unclear which documents to sign and which not. She claims that paperwork is not her thing; computer issues certainly aren’t. I’m not good with technology (or, indeed anything practical), and particularly on Excel, but I muddled through in the end. This will be something that needs to be done at the end of every semester. Oh how I look forward to the summer and having to do this again (though next time, I think there will be less confusion about things as we’ve done it once).

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