Thursday, 20 December 2018

Exam results are out

and there has been the usual "human interest" piece in the paper about the students who did exceptionally well.
I suppose it is a good thing. Perhaps it gives other students something to aim for - or perhaps not.
Ms W came "equal top" in her  year this year. She told me, "I'm glad it wasn't just me. I'd rather be friends with L(the other girl)."
She has had a few "lucky you" type comments too. Why?
She worked for her results, worked very hard.  Maybe it is a little easier to be a boarder and have that regular timetable and somebody else preparing meals? No, she still had to do the work. 
I looked at the other students, those mentioned in the paper, those some years ahead of her who have just done those final exams.
The Senior Cat read the article too.He is always interested in such things.
Their schools were mentioned.
   "Aren't there any state schools in this list?" he asked, "Oh yes, here's one."
   "There are several," I said.
   "Mmm..." The Senior Cat was not impressed. I know why.
I can remember the mornings the results came out when he was the headmaster. They results were printed in the state newspaper back then. (Nowadays you go online to get your results.) The Senior Cat would lie there until he heard the paper go thump in the front garden. He would rush out to get it. We would hear the inevitable, "Where are my glasses?" and then silence as he began to search the numbers. He would groan as a student had not done as well as the teachers had hoped and be delighted when they did do well.
The phone would start to ring as the parents and the teachers called him. I can hear him saying to parents, "X....  did do well. He worked hard" and "I'm very pleased with Y's results. She put a lot of effort in."
They wouldn't be "top" but the Senior Cat knew each one of them. He knew whether their results reflected the work they had put in and the work the teachers had put in. In a smaller rural school where everyone knew everyone this sort of knowledge was (and probably still is) commonplace. 
There were immense problems in some of the schools the Senior Cat was sent to. He was known as a "troubleshooter" - sent to difficult schools to sort problems out before being moved on to yet another.  He had teachers who barely knew the subjects they were teaching. One of my teachers at such a school admitted to me, "Cat, I am one chapter ahead of you in the textbook. Please don't ask questions because I can't answer them."
It was one of the many things about which I kept my mouth shut. It also didn't stop students earning what we called "credits" in any subjects.Why? We worked. We were expected to work.
Yes, the students whose names appeared in the paper  yesterday are undoubtedly "bright" - and they had teachers who know their subjects.  I am sure they also worked for their results. 
And there are many other students out there who have come "top" in an entirely different way. They did the very best they could.
Ms W knows that. One of her class mates is a girl who really struggles at times. She has a hearing loss.
    "You know M..... did really well. She passed everything," Ms W told me, "But boy did she work for it."
    "Did you congratulate her?" I asked
    "Of course and her mum and dad are really pleased too."
That's the way it ought to be. 
I just hope that all those students who worked to the very best of their ability get congratulated too.

1 comment:

jeanfromcornwall said...

You are so right, Cat. It is all about what the sstudents put in, and the exams are not a particularly good way of identifying the ones who have worked their socks off. But this is the system we have at the moment.
I think of a quotation from Garrison Keillor - "Lake Wobegon, where . . . .and all the children are above average." What a place!!!