This is a very short semester in terms of teaching weeks. Normally, we devote two of those weeks to in-house semester examinations. For our seniors, this is a quick way of checking they're on target for the main event next semester, when they have the separate ordeals of trial and real A levels to get through. For the juniors, this is their first exposure to CIE-style examination questions and it gives them a taste of what's to come. While I'm not a big fan of examinations per se (and I don't think any teacher really likes them) we have to accept that they are a necessary evil. Consequently, we prefer to keep them to the absolute minimum. As I say, teaching time is precious at KYUEM, and so this year, all the seniors are taking their exams currently, and all the juniors will do so after returning from our mid-semester break on October 13th. In this way, for each year group, only one week of lessons is actually lost to examinations.
Our semester exams this year will also act as a litmus test to see if we're missing Saturday morning classes. Longer term readers of this blog will know that during the last academic year, we held classes at KYUEM on alternate Saturday mornings. These classes were unpopular with teachers and students alike and so we decided to alter our weekly timetable slightly in order to be able to cancel them, with no loss of teaching time. I promised our Board of Governors that if the results of KYUEM's in-house exams this semester were significantly worse than previously, I would reinstate Saturday classes. There is, therefore, quite a lot riding on the success of examinations this month. In any event, and as always, I hope all our students do well in them.
I mentioned the mid-semester break - the week of October 6-10. You may recall a recent post when I told you we were conducting a gadget audit of unrecorded electrical devices in student accommodation. Apart from the ubiquitous refrigerators, we have encountered rice cookers, microwave ovens, even portable air conditioners. This week, students are being told that all such appliances must be removed by the end of this week (October 3rd). If we find any of them still here after the break, they will be confiscated. They constitute a real risk of fire and are not necessary in a boarding school. The issue of fridges remains as previously: seek formal approval to have one and we will consider all such applications very seriously.
If any of you are travelling out of Malaysia during the break, I wish you a safe trip and a pleasant holiday. My wife and I are headed to Xian to get up close and personal with the Terracotta Army - a lifetime's ambition about to be realised.