Once again, this year I'm an invigilator for A' level exams at a Winchester 6th form college. The difference is that this year I'm also invigilating at a local school for GCSE year kids.
What a difference!
The A' level kids are more mature and know that this is their big opportunity in life to open doors, potentially go to university and impress future employers. They're a joy to work with and they know that invigilators are there to help them achieve their maximum potential within exam board rules and regulations.
To a large extent GCSE students treat exams as a laugh and some kids try to see how far they can take the invigilator before they get to breaking point. Inexperienced invigilators are all too easily taken in by multiple toilet requests, items falling on the floor and the wish to be "liked" by the kids. Unfortunately being liked is an impossibility as much as a mistake. The key is respect and that's not an easy commodity to come by these days.
Kids are too aware of their "rights" and that invigilators have little recourse to any form of redress if challenged, but some seem to have little realisation how important GCSEs are and treat the whole exam season as a game. On two or three occasions I've noticed kids put their heads on the desk and go to sleep, and in a couple of exams I've seen the same two kids not even bother to pick up pens, let alone try to attempt any answers.Whether asleep or awake it's their exam and as long as they don't disrupt the exam, or cause any form of interference they can do what they want. As an adjudicator that's not my problem. My job is to make sure those that do want to do well have the best possible chance to do so.
Whether A' level or GCSE I have the greatest respect for those kids who overcome the pressure of the exam 2 months and go on to the next level of their education. I'm proud to be part of it.
Blog on, Dudes!