Thursday, 22 December 2011

Year twelve examination results

came out yesterday.
They always come out a few days before Christmas and there are mixed views about this. On balance I think most students are just glad to have the waiting over and done with. Those who have done well sigh with relief. Those who have not done so well try to forget while festivities take place.
I went to school long enough ago to have faced an entirely different examination system. We did one set of "public examinations" at the end of what is now Year 10. It was our "Intermediate" year. Our results also came out in a very public manner. They were printed in the state newspaper. Many students rushed into the newspaper building in the city in order to get the first edition of the paper. The rest of us waited anxiously for the thud of the paper on the front lawn or drive. In our family we then had to wait for my parents to open the paper and look - or so my mother thought.
I was the first child in our family to be put in this position. I can remember my mother saying, "You can wait." I did not want to wait but I did not dare do otherwise.
Fortunately my father was equally anxious to know. There were other students at the school who were in the same year as me. He had not just one child to worry about but many. My mother still insisted we wait until after breakfast. Her argument was that she needed to get on and get things done and nothing was going to change the results.
My brother managed to learn from this. When his turn came he arranged for a friend to 'phone him at a pre-arranged time. I have forgotten what time or how many times the 'phone was to be allowed to ring but I know it was early enough in the morning for us all to be in bed. My brother had let me in on the plan. Shortly afterwards we hugged one another in the bathroom knowing he had done well before the paper even thudded onto the lawn.
His friend's sister did the same thing for me when our next set of results came out. She had been let in on the secret and offered to do it. It is the only time I have ever welcomed the sound of the telephone ringing early in the morning.
My mother never knew. We were still on a rural telephone exchange and the 'phone did occasionally do odd things.
Now examination results come privately in the post. Students can also look their own results up on a website if they obtain a PIN number to do it. The world does not need to know how well or badly you have done unless you choose to tell them.
My father was talking about this yesterday. He remarked on how we had always been seemingly willing to wait and how he felt we should have been allowed to open the paper and see for ourselves.
I must ask my brother to tell him what we did.

1 comment:

Frances said...

Motherhood gave some girls their first taste of power: some could not use this well.
Teaching, of course, reinforces this. The teacher is the best informed, the most knowledgeable person in the room. Some extrapolate this to the rest of their life.