I crawled out of bed, showered and dragged myself to school. Fortunately, where I teach we only go in when we have to invigilate and that particular morning wasn't an early one.
Shoulders drooping I walked into the staff room. Craig, my colleague was sitting at the corner scrolling up his phone. He looked up at me with the same vacant look I'm sure you'd find in my own eyes at this time of the year. We exchanged details about marking deadlines and he went silent. "I'm dying!!" I confess in melodramatic exasperation. Everything I've been doing for the past two weeks has been revolving around how many scripts I've marked or am going to mark. Such monotanious living really does drain the spirit. Relief swept over Craig's face. He knew exactly what I was talking about and I suddenly felt better because for the first time, I didn't feel so alone.
I'm sure there are hundreds of teachers out there who seriously consider alcohol or some kind of drug abuse to help get them through the messed up answers we get in the endless pit of exam scripts that sit staring at us from our study tables. We question our career choice just a little bit as it becomes clear that a vast majority of our learners still cannot identify a simple pun even after a very elaborate and exciting lesson on the subject. You begin to wonder if you are the problem or if these kids just really don't care, don't get me started on their parents. Are they sure their offspring is studying on those ipads or are they going through social networks and watching schmoney videos? What does it even matter? You will never be free until all 200 scripts have your red marks of approval - or disapproval.
I've tried compiling rules on how to get through the exam season. I've tried to be optimistic and to keep somewhat busy, but at the end of the day, exams mark the end of the honeymoon phase of our career. We're faced with the ugliness that is teaching. The reasons why most people become teachers as a last resort if at all. It all boils down to the the deep dark red abyss.