Over the weekend, I visited one of my college teachers. I was meeting him after quite some time, at least 3 months (and once upon a time, I would visit him at least twice a week. Alas, life!). It was good to once again talk at length of academics, books, teaching, the college, ex-students, the current lot of students and all that. And when you are talking to teachers at this time of the year, you just can't stay away from discussing examinations and students' performances.
After nearly an hour of conversation, I remarked, in the way ex-students are wont to do, that one doesn't get "good" students like us anymore. Earlier whenever I said something like that, I would get hardly get any reaction apart from a nod and perhaps a smile. I was surprised when my professor vehemently agreed witgh me and then deplored the "falling standards." Earlier whenever we touched upon this topic he would talk about how students these days hardly seem to read anything or their general lack of awareness even of the literary greats. This time he observed that it appeared thet students these days were not even reading trash (his summation of the Mills and Boons or the Twilight kind of stuff). When I remarked that the students couldn't be that bad he agreed and said that they actually were worse. And he offered the recent examinations as an example.
Now teachers will find this bit familiar. Assessing examination papers is one of the most soul-weary chores in a teacher's life (from my personal experience, I can say it ranks a little above taking the daily roll call in a class). Teachers normally look at things to enliven these dreary chores. During paper assessments, it is much fun to read out to each other, what students have put down in their papers —believe me, reading out bits and pieces of student's creative efforts can offer much mirth. This time around, my professor and the others in his department noted down certain spellings from some of the answer sheets. And my professor offered me that list as proof of his poor opinion about the current batch of students.
I have, with his permission, reproduced the list below. All the spellings were taken from the answer sheets of FYBA Communication Skills. (Apparently, FYBCOM Business Communication students are more creative and would give Shakespeare a complex when it comes to spelling or creating new words.)
As my professor pointed out, most of the spellings above make sense phonetically. But it does appear the students have only "heard" or "spoken" these words and never encountered them on a page.
After going through the list, I commiserated with his lot, both as a student and an ex-teacher, and offered to attend his lectures once again.
"No. You will be worse. . . lost without your MS Word."
He, as always, had hit bull's-eye.