‘Twas the night before A level grades…

… and not one teacher could sleep.

The irony of writing my first blog on the eve of the first set of A level results that I have overseen as a Head of Department, but not taught, is not lost on me and perhaps the reason for being an apt time to begin.

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It seems strange how, as a teacher, the summer examination results are often considered ‘our’ results and not those of our students. I wonder if this is due to the pressures that teachers are now under for them to perform and produce grades from their students, as opposed to teachers wanting their students to get the best grades that they are able to achieve?  It’s a feeling of willing the grades, hoping the questions cover the aspects that were taught, ensuring that everything has been done to meet the targets that have been set by a data manager that generally has never set foot in a classroom.

Targets – that is the word that flummoxes me the most since coming into teaching. Targets are something that are set for sales people, not for educators. But, targets are now set for teachers to achieve from their students. It is as though those sponge like brains are actually commodities that can be sold not nurtured. So, instead of developing hearts and minds, we are encouraged to almost treat our students like cars that can be sold to ensure that we hit the annual grade targets when the figures come in each August.

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With all the annual scare stories being published and shared online over the past few days, it would seem that neither students nor teachers know what they are walking into and opening up to find in their brown envelopes tomorrow. It seems that some stories are saying there are more higher grades than ever before and other reports scaremongering the fear of asking for any re-marks. It has amused me that universities appear to have the luxury of gaining the results that students and teachers have worked blood, sweat and tears for before those that have attempted to gain the targets set – and have ‘accidentally’ informed students ahead of results if their university places are confirmed or not.

In the meantime, I, and I am sure many other teachers and Heads of Departments, find myself unable to sleep, having a much shorter holiday than any of my non-teaching friends realise and wondering the impact of the results that are opened and analysed tomorrow will end up affecting my job, my department and my schools position in the ‘all important’ league tables.

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