The Norman Transcript

Columns

November 27, 2013

The ghost in the hallowed halls

NORMAN — The rumor is academic ghosts hang around making mischief for students and teachers finishing up the end of the semester. Final grading in particular seems to attract the spirits.

Teachers hear this one often from students.

“I can’t find my final paper to turn in — it was right here in my backpack. Someone or something sneaked it away. I just need a couple of days to do it over. Please?”

Or when the final exam is a bust.

“I can’t explain it. It’s like someone kept whispering the wrong answers to me. I know now they were wrong. It wasn’t my fault, really. Can I make it up some way?”

Or when all else fails, this one comes up.

“I had three finals in two days. I know you, of all teachers, will understand. How could I possibly be expected to pass them all? Can I please take our test over again?”

This ghost seems to love slipping around professors and teachers as well as students, hiding graded papers, moving things around in their desks so they can’t find them and, in general, making their lives more interesting than usual. The ghost tries in every way to keep teachers from meeting their deadline for turning in final grades.

A few teachers are likely to say to the director, “I don’t know what to say — I had all the grades ready to turn in, and now I can’t find them. It’s like they just disappeared into thin air. You don’t suppose the janitor threw them away, do you?”

This brings an eagle eye from the director, who by now is used to paranoia setting in each time final grades are due.

“Send them over to administration then later,” he tells the teacher. “But it won’t look good if your students don’t have final grades reported. You’ll be the one to have to explain that to their parents.”

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