I’m not a person who is particularly easily annoyed, but I was a bit annoyed yesterday. I had a student who was sitting Advanced Higher English – only the one student. It's a national exam which requires an outside invigilator.
This exam may be an hour and a half (one question) or three hours (two questions) – depending on which other options the student chooses. This student was doing the three hour exam, in a room by herself with the invigilator. However, our exam section had misinformed the invigilator that she was only doing the one-and-a-half-hour version. So the invigilator wrested the paper from the student after an hour and a half and, despite her protests, sent her away. Fortunately the girl sought me out; a colleague fetched me from the class I was teaching; and I managed to get the paper back and the exam restarted. But by that time, the student was in floods of tears and probably not in the right frame of mind to do her best.
Now, goodness me, anyone can make a mistake and the original mistake wasn't the lady's fault. But it seems to me that if I were an invigilator and a twenty-two-year–old girl sitting Advanced Higher English assured me that she was supposed to be in the exam room for three hours, I think – even though that wasn't what I had been told – I’d at least investigate: let her start writing the second part and then go and find out what the situation was. Wouldn’t you? Rather than insisting the girl leave and just going off and having a cup of tea, as this lady did?
The invigilator wandered in from her cup of tea while I was sorting this out and didn’t seem at all worried. It was by then 3.30 pm and when asked if she could stay and invigilate for the next hour and a half, ie till 5 pm, she said well, only till 4.45 because she was being picked up then.
Another 15 minutes would clearly have been too much to ask. (We did get someone else to take over from her.)
I don’t mind mistakes. But I do mind sheer unhelpfulness.
Cats in drawers, however, I do like.