Scotland has just wrecked my August security bubble. You know when you are in the nice, cosy part of the holiday, far too far away from the end to panic and enough into it to feel like a fully functioning human again – I don’t have to go to bed at ten o’clock every night, make my lunch 14 hours before I intend to eat it or worry about what to wear the next day – screw the ironing! I’m in the depths of holiday paradise, I’m wearing it creased. I was feeling great but Scotland ruined it.
How dare they give out exam results so early! What the hell! No one needs their results this early, they are doing it just to show off AND start the whipping up early.
The whipping up has now begun. There is nothing we can do about it, we knew that from the moment the kids sat down in the exam hall. They will, normally, get what they deserve. But what if they don’t?
According to the news yesterday, the Scottish Qualifications Authority have admitted that the maths paper they gave their students was too hard and clumsily and publicly intervened to lower grade boundaries. Were they right to do it? Probably, because as we know, parents, local authorities, Ofsted – they don’t want to hear about national blips. Schools are made and broken through their results and no one wants to hear any excuses.
It’s fair enough, we wouldn’t expect it from any other industry but unlike other industries we are dealing with live, largely unstable investments. You can be the most inspirational, the strictest, most experienced teacher in the world but you can never fully control the factors that will influence how your student feels on the day of the exam. To see a child you have put everything into, hours and hours after school, defending him against your colleagues, sit at the back of the exam hall (where he specially requested to sit) doing NOTHING is a slap in the face and incredibly selfish. And even though you did everything you possibly could, short of doing the exam for them, you will get the blame for their results.
I had one of these students this year, it’s been a long time since I have. I know why he did it and I know it was nothing to do with me but we will both take the hit for it. I sympathize with his predicament, I really do, but he just pissed over his own future – spiting only himself. I don’t get that.
So thanks Scotland for reminding me that results day is much closer than I want it to be. You have reminded me that when all’s said and done I am, in fact, a percentage; a percentage that will contribute to a department percentage, to a school percentage, county and national.
Obviously if the results are good I will be punching the air, celebrating this faceless system but if not I will accept it entirely as my responsibility, desperately try to find out what went wrong (no doubt using more percentages) and beat myself up about it until next year’s results.
Because that’s what teachers do. Let the Blame Game commence!