I have just completed two weeks of invigilating at the UWS exam diet. An interesting experience! People watching with a vengeance!
I had hardly left the uni when they rang to ask if I was interested in becoming a senior invigilator. My reply was ‘Shouldn’t I be an ordinary one first?’ But they seemed to think I was suitably qualified to go straight in at the top! Great pay too. Just over £8 an hour. So I asked for and was allocated a couple of shadowing experiences in Coats Hall with large numbers of students sitting a variety of topics ……… and I was ready to go!
Never have I seen more than two students in the exam session since! I seem to be selected to invigilate for students needing enhanced support i.e. extra time sometimes requiring a computer, a reader or a scribe. Having watched one scribe struggle to understand the terminology in a biology exam, I volunteered to be a scribe if required and these past two weeks have worn three caps in every session. Senior invigilator/ reader / scribe.
A lesson was learned though. Think carefully before volunteering for extra duties! My writing is crap especially when writing at speed. I hope the lecturers can read it! Not every exam is biology! I scribed for politics, engineering, sociology, psychology and was selected for chemistry! My nightmare topic! I know no chemistry and couldn’t understand the questions let alone had a clue how I was going to write out the answers! Luckily he was a no show. I did get one biology exam and the student expressed his gratitude for having someone to scribe who knew the terminology. Saved time not having to spell everything, he said!
So what were my conclusions from the people watching sessions. Well, I was quite pleased with my performance. I could actually spell most of the words. But I was dead chuffed that even when the student galloped on ahead, I mostly remembered the twenty words between my writing and his speech. My memory has been worrying me of late, but I don’t seem to have a problem when I concentrate.
The students though were really interesting. Only one made a plan! The rest bar one waffled their way through. I do think a plan is essential when you have to answer a question via a third party! The one who made a plan wrote a very well composed essay. The one who didn’t but also didn’t waffle, ‘wrote’ two first class essay answers. And I learnt a lot as I rapidly filled two full exam booklets with his answers. I did enjoy working with all of them. Far more interesting to scribe than sit doing nothing but watch them as they write. But I do have a sore wrist.
And lastly of course, I did enjoy regular work and meeting various folk round campus. I even popped up to see my ex colleagues as one of them had a significant birthday. It is said one should not go back to visit, and my previous two visits had proved that point, but this time I knew there would be a wee celebration and it was a great chance to catch up. And find out some of my ex colleagues will be in Auckland, New Zealand, at the same time as we will be.
But that is for a later blog!