Out of all of the ongoing dramas, Coursework Deadline is probably the one that causes me the most stress. I know it’s a control freakery thing. Marking exams and writing reports is pretty much down to me. I know the deadlines, and technical hitches aside, it’s up to me to find the time to complete these things. (If anyone finds they have some extra time, please send it this way. I could do with a whole heap right now.)
Does the phrase “why do I bother?” spring to mind? I keep asking myself that. It’s not like I actually care any more whether some of that group pass or fail. In fact, if I’m honest, I would be gutted if some of them walked away with good grades because they just don’t deserve them. But I still carry on, trying to find ways to interest them in what the exam board says they must study, but fighting a losing battle. In this case, I’m doing it simply because it’s my job. I don’t want to be seen as the incompetent one here, the one that can’t cram a bunch of knowledge and concepts into kids who have gone well past the stage of independent learning, or who can’t extract from these kids a decent answer to a dumbed down question.
And here we return to my initial point: the extraction of coursework. We’re talking about a bunch of kids who can’t be bothered to write more than a few lines in a two hour mock GCSE exam. You think they’re going to willingly produce coursework that they’ve had to do in their own time when they could have been getting drunk or stoned or in trouble? You think I’m going to do it for them, like some other teachers come very close to doing? Well I’m sorry, but no. We may have results and league tables to consider, but I’m quite principled about this. Not only is it cheating, but it also teaches the kids not one single positive lesson for life, and surely that’s one of the most important parts of my job. (Okay, you can lead me away on my high horse now...)