Tuesday 29 April 2008


The first day of the exam term is hard work.

It is the day that second and third year students
submit assessed coursework essays.
I accepted about 800 essays
and spoke to many of the 300 students who came into the office.
I have known the finalists since they started as anxious Freshers
and will not see them again now until Graduation.
They were relieved to pass over the essays,
the product of hard work and late nights.
Some students have overcome great personal challenges
to get to this stage. I admire these young people.

It was good to wish them luck for their exams
and hear their plans for the future.
One young woman, a talented Shakespearean scholar,
will be moving to Brazil to work with street children.
I was surprised and touched
to receive a bunch of beautiful white chrysanthemums
from a young man who has been consistently late
at each deadline apart from this, the most important one.
He is only slightly older than MasterM
who phoned shortly afterwards to tell me
that he had just taken his first A Level exam.

When I came home the sky was black and thunderous
and then the sun shone
creating a rainbow of startling intensity.
I hope that somehow all my finalists
find a way to their own pot of gold.


Lina said...

Can I be one of your students? You're such an inspiration and your posts always make me stop and smile x

Mary said...

Ok too weird - I am about to post another rainbow photo - and one of my contacts at Flickr posted rainbow photos too -

How lovely nature is.

As are you!

Fairlie - www.feetonforeignlands.com said...

I got a bit stuck on the fact there are 800 essays submitted - that's a huge amount of marking! How many people does it take to get through it?

Ali said...

Your post gave me tingles. And I think you deserved the flowers (what a lovely gesture).

Anonymous said...

Do you have to stamp the late ones with a big red stamp? I would feel bad about that...

driftwood said...

how lovely to be such an important part of all those young lives, with such potential. I hope master m feels his A level went ok.

dottycookie said...

I hope (and I am sure) MasterM has done himself proud!

Ugh, finals. It still makes me feel physically ill to think about that time.

But what a thoughtful young man to give you flowers! He'll go far ...

blackbird said...


A bunch of flowers is a lovely thing to bring you. Thank heavens he made the deadline.

BreadBox said...

Good luck to MasterM (but only if he needs it!)


Anonymous said...

What a lovely gesture, the flowers. It's so nice to be appreciated. You deserved them, I am ore than sure.

Joanne said...

After all this time I still mark the year in terms (although having just finished my MA perhaps this isn't so surprising) and I still feel echoes of that intensity you get around exam time, when you are only living in that moment and cannot think beyond it.

How nice to be able to guide these young ones through it. You deserved every petal, I'm quite sure.