Four days ago was a major day in the Davey household. For the last two years, Michael has been studying for his GCSEs and the 25th of August was verdict day. I have spent the last two years watching (and nagging) Michael to complete his coursework, to meet the deadlines and do some studying. In the weeks of the exams, I would remind him to revise instead of playing the XBox and was generally met with comments, such as "It's alright, if I don't know it by know, I never will, so there's no point in revising."
It was a worrying time. Especially when, as a teacher, you know how hard GCSEs. I know they say they are getting easier each year, but I honestly don't think they are. When I did my English GCSE, it was 100% coursework and no exam. Now students have to know at least 24 poems and a novel (without notes) plus be able to analyse unseen texts. When I did my Drama GCSE, there was no exam - you just had to act. Now they have to analyse a range of plays and their own abilities. And that is just two examples. It was definitely easier in my day.
I think I was more worried than Michael especially as there was so much riding on him getting a 'B' grade in English, when he was only predicted a C/D. Fortunately, I am an English teacher and examiner, so I was able to help him at home on a one to one basis in the last few days - any more than helping in the last few days would have been too much for the mother/son relationship which I have always tried to separate from being a teacher.
So, the day came and off we drove to school. Neither of us spoke on the way. Opening the envelope, we were both a bag of nerves but we didn't need to be, for Michael surpassed my predictions and got 4 Bs (including the necessary English) and 6 Cs. He was a little disappointed not to get an A grade in PE or RE but then he did better in other subjects than predicted and 10 GCSE passes for a child with dyslexia who needed a scribe for his exams was brilliant.
The following day, Michael went to college to enrol but found out that he was one point short of what was needed to do all 4 A Levels, so he has dropped Psychology but still going to do A Levels in Law, Philosophy and Media Studies. That should keep him busy for a while!
So one year of nervous waiting for results done. Just next year (for AS Level results) to do, the following year (for A Level results) to get through and then the following year, we will be awaiting Natasha's GCSE results and so it will continue. Augusts are going to be very stressful for the next 7 years!