As I open my drawer to pick up my identity card, I can hear the excited chatter of dozens of teenage girls queueing up outside in the corridor. I hang the card around my neck, pick up the keys to the other office, check my in-tray and turn on my computer. As I wait for it to whirr into action, I can hear the Head of Year 11 outside the office calling for 'hush'. She is now reciting names in alphabetical order and the girls are walking silently, one by one, along the corridor to the 'Old Hall'. All becomes quiet after the last girl is called. Younger girls arriving for school will be diverted to their lessons by other routes this month, this corridor is now officially 'out of bounds' except for members of staff and exam candidates.
I check my emails and then get up to leave the main office to go to the exams office where I spend 7 hours of my working week. I open the door and walk down the now silent corridor. Aware of every noise that I make as I walk as quietly as I can. The noise of squeaky shoes is always amplified during the exams period. I squeeze past the 8ft screen which bears the school logo and declares 'Silence. Exams in progress'. Past the signs reminding students that they must not take mobile phones or any other electronic equipment into the hall with them . It is so quiet in this area of the school, you can hear every tick of the clock, every creak of a floorboard. As I pass the doors to the hall I can hear the invigilator saying 'The time is now 9 o'clock, the exam will last one and a half hours. You may now turn over your papers.'
And somewhere deep down inside, in the pit of my stomach, I can imagine how those students are feeling. And I wouldn't swap places with them for the world!