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Law Professor Says Students Aren't the Only Ones Nervous About Exams

Call me self-centered, but I can honestly say that at no time before or during any of the hundreds of exams I took in college and law school did this thought ever cross my mind:

Is my professor nervous?

Yet according to Jay Wexler, a professor at Boston University School of Law, at least some professors are just as nervous as their students during each exam. Wexler wrote yesterday on the PrawfsBlawg that his class' environmental law exam was set to start in a few minutes, and he had gone to his office early "to sit here and wait for 'the call.'" He explains that "the call" he dreads has never actually come in eight years of teaching, but would hypothetically come from the registrar during the exam telling him that:

something has gone terribly, terribly wrong on my exam. For example, I don't know, something like the plaintiff's name keeps changing and so the students can't tell who I'm talking about in the second paragraph, or maybe there's a sentence missing or a page missing or it says there are three questions but there are only two or I don't have any idea what else "the call" might be about. 

Despite his eight "call-free" years, Wexler admits that he still "freaks out" during each exam hoping he doesn't get it this time around. He even has dreams, he says, about outlandish scenarios where he asks a long question about church-state law on his environmental law exam or accidentally writes one of the questions in a foreign language.

Wexler's discussion of "the call" has already sparked numerous comments from other professors about similar fears and even some examples of "calls" that actually happened in real life. One commenter writes that in his second year of teaching, his exam time coincided with a long faculty meeting. While he was sitting in the meeting, the registrar walked in, scanned the room, and pointed to "the distinguished senior person sitting next to me, who quickly scampers out of the room to deal with her exam problem. I lost a year of life from that scare, I suspect."

Posted by Bruce Carton on December 17, 2009 at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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