Friday 30 May 2014


At the end of a very busy term, exam marking has begun, thanks to a very early exam this year. When the contract came through I was initially very pleased to see the bulk of my work would not take place in the holidays, forgetting how much I would need the break. Now I can't wait to get back to school next week!

This is my 11th summer as an examiner, which must make it my 14th series, counting the January ones. Now I don't have much marking to do - only 45 scripts or so, due to my elevated position. This year I am managing 5 people who are managing 40 examiners, plus 2 examiners of my own. The entry is bigger this year so there is another person doing the same job as me. Last summer I had it to myself and I managed 9 people who were managing around 60 examiners. I had responsibility for the whole unit - 17,000 entries. I felt quite proud of myself.

This conversation still happens all the time, though:
Teacher: It's nice now things have calmed down at work, isn't it?
Me: Oh, well, yes, but I'm marking so...
Teacher: You're marking for [insertexamboardname]?
Me: Yes / No, I'm marking for [insertcorrectexamboardname]
Teacher: Oh, I used to do that (dismissively) but it just wasn't worth my time, you know?

At this point I usually nod and smile, and say something like, "It's only for three weeks a year."
I do not say any of these things:
"I slightly resent the insinuation that your time is more valuable than mine, or that I am slightly simple for wanting to do this work"
"Doing this work for over a decade has given me a better understanding of the exam process than any amount of CPD ever could, even though I teach a different board - what comparable activity are you doing to improve outcomes for your students?"
"I'm not actually marking: I hold quite a senior position which is giving me excellent experience of managing people whilst also demonstrating that I can multitask effectively in a couple of high pressured roles at a time. That goes on every application form I fill in"
"Thanks to my tenacity in this role, I have made a considerable sum of extra money this year from related side projects, thus proving it is definitely worth my time"

I usually think at least one of them, though.

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