Wednesday, 20 July 2011


As we get fully into exam time and marking I have started to get a bad case of endoftermitus. The symptoms of this disease include not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, bad moods, frowny face, not liking children/students, marking and report based boredom and repeated dreams of a palm fringed beach every time you close your eyes. This disease, which afflicts only teachers, can leave you feeling quite drained. There is no cure, but fortunately all symptoms usually disappear by a specified date, which in my case is 7 days away.

This leads to my next point, how to not die of boredom when invigilating exams over 3 hours long. There are several options available to you:

1) Daydreaming – This is a favourite one of mine. It is a very good option as you can kind of pretend to be looking at the students and walking up and down while doing it. It can also be about anything at all, including things which are hideously inappropriate because so far no one has invented a way of seeing your thoughts (well without the aid of brain scanners). Fortunately for me I have always been talented at this. My daydreams can last at least an hour, but 3 hours is pushing it...

2) Marking – This is the kill 2 birds with one stone option. Start to get through what they produce while they are producing it. You’re bored doing exams so I’m bored marking them. A safe and quiet option, but sometimes its difficult not to tutt very loudly and groan at some of the ridiculous things you read.

3) Sharpening pencils – You have to have a lot to sharpen to last 3 hours, but it can be quite therapeutic. Beware of blisters when you have sharpened more than about 40 pencils.   

4) Looking through travel guides and brochures – I love to do this but with it comes a slight sense of shame. I can’t help but feel a bit guilty that while the students toil away I’m planning my next trip outta here. So you must hide the travel guide inside the cover of a serious looking textbook.

5) Doing the S4 French exam – This feels like an ok thing to do because it is helping to improve my French. The trouble is it is essential to remember to take the French-English dictionary into the exam with you and you can get so absorbed by trying to understand the French that you forget to periodically scowl at the students and hand out more paper.

Well tomorrow I feel trying like option 4 or 5 as I’ve already exhausted all the others.

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