Tomorrow morning will herald the standard news coverage of teenagers crying with joy and disappointment and the usual debates on whether exams are easier, harder or both than the ‘good old days’. Yes, tomorrow is exam results day for A Level students, and for the A2 students, tomorrow is the day they find out if they actually have their place at their chosen university, or not. And if not, they get to join in the fun that is ‘clearing’, or explaining to parents what went wrong.
It’s the night before, the morning everyone has been holding their breath for. And it’s not just the kids that are nervous, the teachers are feeling a bit sick too.
I know, because I am already nauseous. I will arrive at work tomorrow at 6.30am to ensure that our IT systems hold up. It feels very weird, because I’ve already mentally moved on to my new school and all preparations are focused on my school for September, but I’m going back to the old school for results.
Why am I feeling so nervous then? What possible impact could this have? I’ve left. This is my old school. Well, it’s because I care about the individual students. Every single one has had an impact on me and the way I look at teaching. Each one of them is important as a person. I’m under no illusion, that these exams impact on their lives way more than mine, and as such I have a responsibility for this to be more than just a job. It’s a conscience thing. Cue some of that Catholic guilt really kicking in.
I’m realistic, I predict that they won’t all get A*s, but I do want them to get the grades that they deserve based upon the work they put in. I’m reasonably confident that they will. But nothing is ever certain.
For the majority of them, I believe that they have listened to my advice, taken my teaching seriously and have done their best. This is the most I could possibly hope for in my students, and I can say with my hand on my heart that I will be as thrilled for the student who I am hoping beyond all hope gets that C, as I will be for the one who I am banking on breaking the 90% barrier. Why? Because I know that that is the academic best for those individuals. I just hope that my gut feeling is right for most of them, and the few that I worry about I am wrong and they worked harder than I thought.
Whatever happens, I know I did my best from a teacher’s perspective. Your best is good enough, because you can’t give anything more. Good luck guys.