Ready For Posting
Yesterday I finished the GCSE English Literature marking of a centre of 230 students that I had been working on since the end of May. With two exam jobs running concurrently, there were times when I would obviously be marking/moderating other work, and a feature of both jobs is to review the work of other examiners as well as check Report writing, so it wasn’t a case of working on this one centre full time for four weeks. However, it is still the case that over that four week period this has been a consistent focus. In this respect, that is an interesting phenomenon of the marking process: to have the responsibility for the work of all the students in that school’s large cohort.The bags in the photo contain all I have done to date, including the one large centre.
Spending that amount of time on this single centre – even if spread out – one develops a strong sense of the candidates’ particular characteristics, which includes obviously teaching styles/approaches and how well the students have absorbed and interpreted this. I’m not giving anything away that is confidential – and wouldn’t – but individual schools can develop quite distinctive and therefore richly variable characteristics and that is phenomenal to experience. Now, rather than map out the ‘difficult’ territory of that comment, I’m going to leave the observation unchartered for now, and just say that this school’s students responded with consistently informed understanding and could articulate this at least clearly and often with considerable flair [that latter observation just wants to poke a hole in so many recent - and annual - hot air voice bubbles wherein cartoon captions constantly and erroneously debase the writing skills of the young].
This wasn’t meant to be an essay and I simply wanted to get that picture posted at the head of this posting, but I have a little more to say: it also takes a certain kind of resilience to read the 230th response to Of Mice and Men and know you must treat that response with the attention and freshness it deserves. The paradox is that Curley’s wife only wears so much red to signal danger as well as sexuality, and she has a finite number of sausage curls hanging meatily or metaphorically about her infinitely interpretable face, but each time such details are reported and explored there is an individual start point to that long and indefinite lineage of answering.
In closing this cathartic little break from the further marking I still have, it’s worth mentioning a glorious educational resonance from the tens and tens of thousands of students responding to An Inspector Calls. This year they should have an absolutely rock-solid appreciation of Priestley’s presentation of the insidious evil of capitalism, now played for real in the recent and continuing revelations about British banking practices. Where the rare student still hasn’t fully grasped the ironic complexity of Curley’s wife’s presentation, not one has been under any illusions about Birling’s representation of greed and selfishness. Informed, articulate, politically and morally astute!