The tension leading up to May and June for almost every student and teacher is intense every single year.
You can almost hear like a buzz at school – ‘Revision’, ‘GCSE’, ‘A Levels’, ‘Grades’, ‘Fail’, ‘Success’, are all whispered around you and the general tempo of the school speeds up tenfold into a whirl of people running around (sometimes literally) from revision session to exam, to revision session to exam. My GCSEs are next year, but this year in June we had ‘mock week’, and it was my first experience of being in the near center of this mad rush. Before I had managed to observe it from the outside, but this time I got sucked in, and finally discovered why everyone becomes so stressed during this period.
I am only a few months away from leaving school and I’ve been reflecting back on my school life. I remember so many times counting down the years I had left until I could ditch school and finally get on with my life and I have to say it is with some relief that I have finally gotten to my last year. I hated school with a fiery passion as a child, feigning sickness and throwing tantrums, getting into hysterics because the last place I wanted to be sent was school. Being bullied most of my childhood didn’t help, but that wasn’t the only reason I detested school.
The curriculum we have to study at school is absolutely HUGE. In England, we have 2 years to cover about 14 (long) textbook’s worth of information, which is followed by a series of around 25 exams at the end of year 11 (15/16 years old).
Obviously when kids find out just how much information they are expected to retain in this short amount of time, they often panic, ‘How are we going to get through this?’, ‘There isn’t enough time!’, ‘I’m never going to remember it all’… But what we often don’t take into account is that the teachers are presented with the exact same syllabus, and have to TEACH it to possibly hundreds of kids, plus marking homework, plus having their own personal lives, and an extra bonus is that all the kids are asking them the questions above – which they themselves have been asking for years. In my personal experience, almost all of the teachers I’ve ever had have found the syllabus overwhelming and their stress levels can often supersede the normal limit.
o When we are 7 & 8, we practice ‘exam style’ questions for our end of First School exams.
o When we are 9 & 10, we do previous test papers to make sure we get the best grade possible in our Year 6 SATs.
o At 11, 12 & 13, we study for our end of Year 8 tests, and move from Middle school to College.
o Ages 14, 15 & 16 we are told to put our heads down and focus on our education, as our GCSE results will decide what job we will get.
And from what I’ve heard this pattern continues all the way through A Levels and University.
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.