Blogspot: The Secret Teacher: Reflections on exams

Exams

Blogspot: By The Secret Teacher

FIVE years of planning, marking, of encouraging, cajoling, of blood, sweat and tears – all culminate in one day in August when students congregate at school to find out their results. There is no better feeling for a teacher than seeing the smile of joy on a students face when they realise they have the results they need to pursue their college course or apprenticeship. Likewise, teachers share in the sadness of students who realise that the plans they have set their heart on, will not go as expected, that they will have to re-sit subjects or change their A level courses.

Students can fail to achieve their grades for a number of reasons. For some, it’s because they didn’t put in the effort or left it too late, despite the encouragement from teachers and parents. Yet I can’t help thinking that it’s often down to how fast you can write, with those who are slower, not making the end of the paper and being penalised. Or if you happen to have a bad memory and can’t remember quotes and precise facts then your worry and can’t concentrate. Misreading a question because exams make you feel sick, or feeling ill so you aren’t focused. You could know a subject inside out and be able to debate it with teachers and students, yet if you forget to priortise factors or link them together then you will be marked down. I feel that exams become more about formulas of writing than encouraging students to think, explore, reflect and enjoy the world.

The government should be allowing students to be creative with their ideas, to be able to explore their passions more and allow greater flexibility with exam answers. We should encourage students to appreciate the world around us, to think about others and show compassion and moral integrity. We should teach them about the world, how to make it a good place and allow them to realise future success isn’t just about getting the top paid jobs and making lots of money. Success is about working in a job you are passionate about; earning enough to support yourself and live a happy life; about being compassionate and kind; looking after our environment and being the best that you can be.

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