What makes a marker tick?

28th August 2009 at 01:00

My wife belongs to that strange sub-species of the human race which defies any rational explanation - SQA exam markers. This is indeed a strange animal. Not only is it prepared to undertake the most mind- boggingly boring task known to the teaching profession, but it is willing to undergo a complete personality transformation in the process:

Friends and colleagues are agreed

A friendly soul she is indeed

Who does her utmost to appease

(Bends over backwards just to please!?)

A refuge to lost dogs or moggies

Who'll cry her way through mushy movies

She helps the kids with last revisions

The gentlest of dispositions


Come exam time . transformation!

Approach with care and trepidation

Lest death you seek or ghastly seizure

Best keep well clear of . Ebeneezer!

Because, when armed with blood-red pencil

Or other "putting-down" utensil

Then out the door flies generosity

Enter grasping, mean monstrosity

Peering o'er censorious specs

(No favour giv'n to age or sex)

She dreams up methods, none too soft

For finding ways to take marks off!

So, forget "Well Done", in sky-blue Bic

A "smiley face" or a kindly tick

No, to issue crosses is her goal

And our Mrs Meanie's on a roll

Nerves a-twitching, nostrils flaring

Eyes expectant, glowing, staring

The pencil jerks, excited, shifty

Another one's scored less than Fifty!

One more has buckled to her will

And failed to gain their "Higher Still"!

Yes, now her pile is one text lighter

She's nobbled one more poor, wee blighter

A parent's hopes, a pupil's dream

Extinguished by her Marking Scheme

(unless they can connive and deal

And pass through some accursed appeal!)


Come the final marking paper

Cruella's grip begins to taper

And soon she will revert to type

Resume the form we know and like

Emergent from this year's psychosis

The SQA metamorphosis!!

Dave Ross, Valentine Drive, Daneston, Aberdeen.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today