I’m in the middle of marking my kids’ HSC trials at the moment. It’s a slow, painful process, where I get through an essay every half hour, write more in feedback than the kid wrote in their response, and beat my head against metaphorical and physical brick walls in utter frustration.
Unfortunately, the performance of this cohort has not been as good as I had hoped. Many of them are entering that awful ‘blah I hate school fuck the HSC’ period that seems to happen every year, which means they couldn’t be arsed actually, y’know, trying. Some times I wonder what the whole point of the exercise is, apart from trying to keep me in a job. It feels more about pushing the kids towards an exam than it is about educating them, and when it comes to marking time, it just makes me tired and grouchy.
I guess part of the problem is that the HSC has become so broad. Once upon a time, you only really considered doing the HSC if you planned to go to uni. If you wanted to do something else, you left at the end of Year 10 and got a job or whatever else. Now we have kids in Year 12, studying at a higher level than they will ever need in their life, and it all feels so futile.
Or maybe I’m just glum because I have a good 10 hours (at least) of HSC marking ahead of me. It’s going to be a long, sleepless week…
Can you believe it is that time again? I certainly cannot. Yes, I am once again frantically writing reports.
My Year 12 students, bless their lazy little hearts, finish their schooling in less than 4 weeks. That’s right, I have only 15 more lessons with the little tykes to pull their marks up from ‘dismal’ to ‘OK-ish… errr… kinda’. Can I do it? Hell no!
But, I can’t say that on their reports. I have to accurately describe their achievement (or lack there of) without taking away their hopes and dreams of HSC success. Sure, you will get into university, with your score of 22% in the course. Lecturers ADORE students who don’t know how to write properly (no – seriously. That’s why we have so many foreign students with poor English skills come to Australia to study), so you will be JUST FINE. That smarty pants over at that selective school in Sydney isn’t going to beat you into that spot at uni, no sirree.
Hell, even for the kid who got a whopping 12% for the whole course, I can’t bring myself to be totally honest. No dear, your understanding isn’t limited… I would describe it as basic. Much gentler to the soul (and to myself in the afternoons when I get fun calls from parents). Veeeeeery basic.
Then I get to give the children some advice for how to prepare for their examinations. I tend to stick by the old standard ‘ensure you revise by looking over all set texts and the work that you have completed on them over the course’. This works for my 5% of students who have even done all the work. The rest, well, it’s a filler. I can’t very well say ‘You have 6 weeks until your exam. Perhaps you should OPEN the set text. Look PAST the cover [yes, I know it’s shiny and colourful, but FOCUS]. Read the damn thing!’
Oh dear god, my kids are going to fail.