Sunday, May 28, 2006


I'm in the throes of marking (or, as I believe it's called in America, grading) Higher English papers. Higher English is the national exam taken by school pupils in their second last year of school, and is the English part of their university entrance qualification (as well as a general English qualification for those not planning to go to university). I have 207 papers to mark, all Paper 1 - each paper has answers to questions on two passages. I've done 75 of them; I have to be finished by a week on Wednesday for them to be posted the following day. I've done this for years and though it's very boring, there's a certain masochistic pleasure in getting through them. Though I do take it seriously; it's important for these candidates.

When I myself was doing my Highers, I vaguely assumed that they would be marked by someone in a suit, sitting at a desk in an office somewhere. Not by a woman at her kitchen table, wearing slippers, half-listening to a CD of George Gershwin's piano music, drinking coffee and trying not to eat biscuits to relieve the tedium.

Off I go to get on.


  1. Oh, that last paragraph made me LAUGH!! Such wonderful imagery!

    I love, love, LOVE your garden photos and I've been meaning to comment but instead, I've been dodging in and out of blogs, reading to catch up and not taking much time to say hello. So, hello! Gorgeous, gorgeous blooms and foliage...thanks for sharing them!

  2. I didn't imagine that was how they would be marked either! I always thought it would be some very serious process - because it always felt so serious!

    Hope you managed to avoid the biscuits.