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