Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Simply a moment

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!

14 comments:

Cheri said...

I remember that hush. I wouldn't want to go back there either. You've captured it well.

Rhona said...

I love the way you've described this and feel like I'm there with you. Emily doesn't have another exam until next Tuesday x

Ruth said...

You took me right back ... apart from the bit about mobile phones and electronic equipment! They hadn't been invented when I did my O Levels!

Karen said...

What a lovely evocative moment. I almost felt I was there with you x

Louise said...

oh my I remember it well!! beautifully described.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Wow - I totally feel the tension in that hallway! So well written.
Rinda

Sian said...

No, don't think I'd want to be in their shoes again either..even though I still count my sixth form years as some of my happiest ever. Must be like childbirth - when you forget the bad bits!

Scrappi Sandi said...

You certainly know how to build the tension!! All I can say is...been there, done that...didn't enjoy it first time round, would certainly not want to go through it again! Thanks for 'the moment'! :D

Elizabeth said...

Oh, I remember exams week in our school. It really is scary stuff until you open the exam and start answering the questions. Soon you wonder why you were ever afraid since you do know the answers.

Irene said...

Beautifully written and you certainly captured that moment of dread on hearing a voice say, you may now turn over your paper. In my fifties, I was silly enough to place myself in that position again and once more experienced that feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach. I passed the exam and felt like a teenager. Some things never change. Thank you for sharing your moment.

alexa said...

So very atmospheric - wonderfully described. And yes, it's reminding me how glad I am not to have to take exams any more! That statement by the teacher? Yep, it was just like that in my day too. Wonderful, and thank-you so much for joining in...

Missus Wookie said...

Oh I remember those times, like so many not something I want to face again. Princess has done two of her three, next one on the 28th. Clear water bottles and pencil cases will be ready...

Ladkyis said...

There must be something wrong with me. I never felt that fear. A few butterflies of anticipation but never that dread. I am amazed to remember that I assumed I would pass. So sure of that and yet so insecure in everything else - and so easily intimidated.
Goodness me you have stirred up a lot of memories. Thank you for sharing and giving me so much to mull over.

Becky said...

Gosh! This took me right back to school and exam time! Great piece of writing :)