Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I said to one of my favourite students
when her oral exam had finished
and her relief was almost palpable in the air:
“The awful lot is over now, over”.
Sensing in a flash how immediate
the “over” is when we finally get to it,
absolutely an ineluctable end of the track
with no going back.


Gordon Mason said...

So much power in one word.

Jim Murdoch said...

I particularly enjoyed the use of the word "ineluctable" here, one of those 'big' words we feel we need to pause a second before saying just in case we mispronounce it but exactly the kind of word a teacher or professor might be prone to use.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Thank you very much Gordon and Jim.

Jim, it's almost impossible to well explain the Italian final exam's horizon, they are for me hard days, I can do very little for the students and I must deal essentially with colleagues, sitting at a long table with them for at least five hours every morning and listening to their questions ( about subjects like Maths I know nothing about -or Philosophy and Physics- and I am not interested in ) waiting for my turn, five minutes or so every hour. Infinite boredom. Probably the adjective "ineluctable" was born as a feeling in this ill- fated "milieu".
I have always felt an irony what these exams to eighteen year old students have been called for years in Italian: Esami di Maturità. Maturity Exams. I would call them, from the teachers' and students' point of view, Endurance Exams! Fifty minutes to one hour for each student! On six subjects, one after the other with also a change of language at a point! Schizofrenia. Pure nonsense. But it's the law.