I’ve had a few people suggest I write an account of a “typical” day at some point. One of the plus points of my rather varied job description is that I probably don’t have typical days! But here’s what I did on Thursday, to give a flavour.
Arrive at around 7:55. Double check with Head of English on the required texts for the AS resit module exam this morning, then raid the cupboard and take them up to the exam room (no-one warned me that heavy lifting was part of being an exams officer!). Set up the exam room, checking we’ve got all the extra time candidates correctly shown on seating plan. Back down to check the invigilators have all arrived and are set for the exam.
Then Lesson 1 – Lower Sixth class – handing back test papers and continuing with the latest topic. At one point I used to rant and rave when kids who could do better wrote rubbish on tests, but these days I just tend to point out that if what they got now isn’t what they’d like to get in the actual exams, they need to figure out what went wrong and think what to do about it. One of them has already taken the initiative to arrange to see me outside lesson-time to go over a problem area, I’m glad to say.
Lesson 2 – Year 7 – constructing triangles with ruler, protractor, compasses. I do feel sorry for the ones who always end up with wonky lines or circles – not least because I was very much like that myself. 10 minutes into the lesson, one of the senior invigilators comes to tell me the Exam Board Inspector has arrived. I assign work for the rest of the lesson in half a minute then leave her with the class (she is a retired teacher) and head off to Reception. Exam Board Inspectors come once every year, unannounced; if you aren’t compliant with regulations, they can potentially stop the school being an exam centre, so they are every bit as serious as OFSTED! Fortunately all goes well – I know it should because we are careful to follow all the rules, but there are changes each year so there’s always some element of nerves. He departs part way through Lesson 3, which was a free – so I go for an early break, feeling a cup of coffee and a biscuit is a suitable reward!
Then at break, a medical mock interview. Doesn’t go brilliantly, so we arrange another for Friday.
Lesson 4 and 5 are both U6, but the classes are a real contrast. The first one are super-quiet, and just sit there working away, with an occasional question. The second are lively, with a number of slightly off-the-wall comments and questions (they often describe themselves as “mad” or “strange”).
Lunchtime – a bit of a break (= sitting gossiping in staffroom for 15 mins with a couple of the invigilators), marking to finish, and the afternoon exam to set up.
Then after lunch, another L6 class – lesson delayed in starting because a whole load of them were having sports team photos taken at lunch, and these have overrun – grrrr. More test papers to give back – some of them who’ve done well are quite self-critical (and need reassuring), whereas some who’ve done badly seem to think their marks are quite good – despite the fact they’re wanting a top grade in their A-level. Hmmm. Schedule in a time to explain to them how modular exam marks work so they realise they need to do well this summer!
Rest of the afternoon spent working on some number crunching (aka “Academic Statistics”), a spreadsheet to help with building a particular type of sundial for our Comenius project, the rooming for some timetable changes we’ve just had to make recently and looking for something fun so Year 7 can practice their drawing techniques without dying of boredom.
Intended to get off home early, but a previous student, now in the final year of her degree drops in – I end up sitting chatting to her for an hour or so. Then cycle home and do very little; by this stage in the week, I tend to think I’ll do things on Friday (I have quite a bit of free time on Friday) or at the weekend.