Thursday, 10 May 2012

Evil Invigilation

Invigilating exams is the new form of torture. Death by boredom. I notice that it doesn't say anywhere in my contract that I have to sit in a room for 3 hours, with 50 smelly and extremely anxious (hence the smelliness) students for three hours with absolutely nothing to do. That's because recruitment of lecturers would be arduous if they knew that it included regular bouts of such torture.

So, there's nothing for it but to amuse oneself whilst having to watch them sweat. So, for the uninitiated, here is the guide to surviving three hours of evil invigilation:

1. Greet the students, seat them and thank them for coming (well, it is nice of them to turn up).
2. There will, inevitably, be only one chair between two invigilators, so stake your claim the minute you enter the room.
3. Once you have the chair, fill out the paperwork. It takes less than 2 minutes but that only leaves 178 minutes to go.
4. Now you have completed the formalities, you need to invent interesting ways to amuse yourself so here goes.
5. Count how many people have shoe laces.
6. Walk around the room, sniffing the delicate aroma of the great unwashed, and estimate how many of these vastly superior and intelligent beings, have not heard of deodorant.
7. Wake anyone who is sleeping (including the other invigilator).
8. Put the air conditioning on 'arctic' and count how long it takes for one of the brave souls to ask you to turn it up.
9. Read the exam paper and estimate whether you would pass or fail (of course you would pass, you are a lecturer for goodness sake).
10. Observe the students carefully, it is usually easy to tell which ones have revised and which ones haven't. Go around the room and behind each student, indicate via a series of hand gestures and facial expressions to the other invigilator, what chance of passing you think the student has.
11. Tell the students they only have 15 minutes remaining when they actually have 45 minutes, and laugh at the panic that ensues.
12. Finally, to mark the end of the exam set your timer on your iphone to play 'There may be trouble ahead...' by Nat King Cole.

There you go. Three hours of boredom. Sorted.

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