I’ve been invigilating GCSE exams over the past two weeks and it has given me food for thought

The Invigilator

The box of exam papers securely sealed, we walk through the waiting throng,

like judges to a court case;

Never looking at the pupils who nervously babble and act like none of it matters,

little realising what they face

If they don’t do well, get the grades that count. Will it be retakes for them or just

run onto the next hurdle and leap?

Because that’s what they see, another impediment in their way of reaching adulthood.

But as you sow, you shall reap,

But they don’t see that, they don’t know; they may think they do, children often do,

but they are all too young to know;

As an adult, one who knows, you want to give a speech, tell them as they wait to open the paper,

rush so they can go,

But they wouldn’t listen. But they listen now, as the Invigilators ask them to come in,

no talking, exam conditions the moment you enter

That room, where each desk is labelled and each label is recorded and each record

ticked to send to the exam centre.

“Any mobile phones or other devices to hand in?” There are usually a few in varying sizes.

There can be nothing on the desk

Except the transparent pencil case, the exam paper, the name tag and a bottle of water, the label removed.

The first request,

Whispered “please can I have a pen?” You know there will be many more; it depends on

the subject but guaranteed

Is the toilet request. You have to wonder if they were never told to go before they come in,

but it’s always agreed.

No talking, not even when you walk them to the loo; no talking or turning or looking around.

A level playing field for all

Without cheats or bullies demanding your tuck, each child has the same chance in this

solemn exam hall.

Tissues for noses, rulers for Maths, rubbers to rub out mistakes; my mistake, they’re called erasers,

political correctness I presume;

How times have changed since I sat my O Levels when my lucky mascot sat on my desk and

no one left the room.

But you know some will fail and there’s not a thing you can do. The ones who finish five minutes in then

put their heads down

On the desk and fall asleep. They didn’t listen in class or revise their notes; they won’t know

the difference between a verb and a noun.

But there’s nothing you can do for them, the decision is made. But you still hope they may

find a way through the maze,

The maze that is life with wrong turns and dead-ends, the jobs they may find

to fill all their days;

But others keep writing almost up to the end when the “pens down” order is given and

their fate is sealed;

The ones who have snoozed their way through the past hour make light of the

life changing moment like it’s no big deal.

The papers are collected in order to mark; it’s such an easy job to collect them and

put them back in the box to return

To the markers, the faceless deciders who will do as they are directed by

people who have little or no concern

For the future of these children whose lives stretch ahead with endless possibilities, but for those

who finished early and fell asleep?

I hope you find what you want, that the hurdles are not too high or too close as you leap.

Good Luck the Class of 2015

About Sophia Moseley

Freelance Copywriter, Feature Writer and Author. Looking for that illusive job that every working mother craves but surviving, just, on what I can find. My writing and poetry keeps my sane. Watch this space.
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