Jonathon M Lewis; local head teacher
Finally! After a tumultuous week for the Garioch Academy community, all is rosy after Deputy First Minister Swinney’s exam results climbdown, comparable in scale to an abseil down the face of Arthur’s Seat!
In a strange way, I have mixed emotions about the exam results reverting to the teacher’s estimates.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted for our young learners, but it was briefly refreshing that when disgruntled parents phoned up to complain I had someone else to blame.
And complain they did – rightly so, of course! From S5 whizz kid Emily Low who is now the proud and deserved owner of five higher A grades, to our redoubtable S4 grinder William McTavish, who has shed blood, sweat and tears for his now reinstated C grades in English and maths, we are fiercely proud of them all.
There are still some disappointed pupils, of course. Dylan Gillespie, one of our more creative S5s, is near inconsolable after he didn’t follow through with his plan in May to blackmail all his teachers into giving him an A for his estimates.
“If only I’d stuck in, Mr Lewis!” he wailed down the phone to me. Sadly, this rather sums up Dylan and his issues with commitment.
There has been speculation about the accuracy of teachers’ predictions, given that this year’s projected results were so much better than previous years.
Of course, the cynics fail to take account of the small but statistically significant phenomenon of candidates making a pig’s ear of their exams.
Every year there are some kids who have a “nightmare” in one way or another resulting in outcomes significantly worse than were reasonably predicted.
Everyone who sleeps in, misreads the question or chooses exam day to turn their back on formal education and join the circus impacts the stats. But, obviously, none of that happened this year, so the trend of all results would have to be upwards.
At Garioch, I’m proud to say that with our years of teaching experience we made a point of factoring that in.
For example, on a clear day with the wind behind him Stevie Kinnear was capable of a B in maths, but we predicted that he’d have stayed up until 5am playing Fortnite, so we gave him a D.
View from the midden: rural affairs with Jock Alexander
It’s been a discombobulating wik in the village. The village skweel has reopened efter several months.
Ab’dy is feeling a mixture o’ worry, concern & enormous relief that the wee terrors hiv gan back, and certainly we’re a’ gled that we only hae fower pupils, so keeping them apart isnae ower hard.
Especially efter we pit each kiddie in the middle o’ een o’ Haldie Winton’s tractor tyre inner-tubes.
We also, in common wi’ the rest o’ the north-east, hid a month’s rainfall in twa oors last Wednesday.
It wis nae taking time tae come doon, nae fine, especially fan I couldnae find the snorkels I hid tae pit on my coos the last time this happened.
Some of the mair traditional villagers hiv been waving aboot their copies o’ the Auld Testament, saying that syne we’ve hid the pestilence and the floods, we can expect the locusts ony day noo.
I da think we hiv the climate for it masel, but this year, a’ bets are aff.
Maistly though, we hiv been watching uneasily as the Aiberdeen lockdoon his been extended for a second wik.
Will it continue for a third wik? Will it cairry on for a month, causing great woe for a’ Aberdonians as their liberty is curtailed, their social contact is reduced and they miss oot on their half price lunches every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday till the damn thing’s passed?
There’s nae lockdoon here yet at least. Oor ootdoor village square pub is still ga’an like a fair.
You may be wondering fit wye we dinna hae feel young gypes swarming aboot the pub and causing it tae be shut doon here an a’.
Is this because we country-dwelling fowk hiv mair sense and are mair responsible aboot such things?
Nah, it’s cos here we ging in for serious drinking, fit means we sit hunched o’er wir pints and nips nae spikken or socialising wi’ naeb’dy. Ye see, it’s nae pubs fit spread the virus, it’s fowk. Steer clear o’ them and yer laughing.
And so we cast sympathetic eyes in the direction o’ Aiberdeen, in the grip of fit can be regarded as a richt aul’ sotter.
We are also looking worriedly at the school in Peterheid fit they’ve had tae close, and hiv heard Nicola saying she may extend Aiberdeen’s lockdown into the Shire if analysis shows the cluster has spread.
All of which explains fit wye, fan she is nae patrolling the square, Feel Moira can be found hiding ahind the bins at the B9001 junction, and leaping oot in front o’ ony cars coming fae Aiberdeen fit try and turn left into the village. Cheerio!