For most people, May is about spring flowers, sunshine and bank holidays. What innocence! Every Year 6 teacher knows that May is really about Sats week, and the tantrums, tears and tests that go with it. Here are five things that make it even harder:
- It’s all your fault The children will hold you, their teacher, directly responsible for the existence of Sats, no matter how many times you mumble explanations about "government targets". Accordingly, they will assume that you are having the time of your life administering the tests, when, actually, you are inwardly weeping and considering a career change as a landscape gardener.
- The weather will misbehave In a freak weather plot twist to confound even Michael Fish, Sats week will be the hottest week of the year so far, despite the fact that there was snow on the ground a few days beforehand. You and the children will have to gaze out from your stuffy classroom as the rest of the school frolic on the field in the sunshine.
- Hazards are everywhere Part of the job of invigilating means steadily pacing the room. But you will always fail to account for the out-stretched foot of a child who has slumped down in their seat in apathy or despair. On the plus side, your subsequent stumble and recovery will make the kids more cheerful than they have looked all day.
- You can’t interfere In a moment of torture worthy of the Spanish Inquisition, you will be forced to watch passively as a child writes the correct answer to a question, stares at it in puzzled disbelief and then rubs it out. The horror!
- You will survive Despite planning afternoons of delightful activities, the reality is that by lunchtime the children will be running on pure adrenaline and you will spend most of the rest of the day trying to referee a feral game of rounders. But at least the traumatic experiences you’ve been through will have bonded you and your class even further.
Kate Townshend has been teaching in schools in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire for over ten years now. She loves Year 6, but is less keen on Sats.