Laugh in the face of stress

21st May 2004 at 01:00
Misbehaviour in exam halls seems to be getting worse. Larking about, playing "chicken", smirking at examples of bad hair - and that's just the invigilators (page 4).

Now the OCR exam board says pupils are disruptive too, using their mobiles and even turning up drunk for exams (page 1). Could these reports be connected?

Of course, tales of bored invigilators from The TES website can be put down to teachers letting off steam after the evening marking. In their different ways, both stories are symptoms of our high-stakes, high-stress assessment culture. Is it any wonder that, on occasions, some pupils "lose it" or that teachers resort to ridicule?

If misbehaving is on the increase, it might be down to changing social attitudes (and cheaper booze). That is something teachers, more than most, have to deal with.

Sometimes, you just have to have a laugh to keep you sane.

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