Obviously I have neglected my blog for quite a good amount of time despite it being school holidays. The whole thing is due to two main reasons, SPM and Tweet-Up Kuching. That said, be ready for updates coming in fast and furious as I meet deadlines for my blog post.
Here, I tell you a bit of what happened during SPM, and what SPM means to us chief invigilators. Some people do take us under-paid invigilators for-granted, and I think it’s time that changed.
While some were already celebrating the start of the holidays come 1st November, I was at a meeting room listening of the obligations I had for the next three weeks.
The fact that the Malaysian Education Certificate, or better known as the SPM examinations is sort of a ‘life deciding’ exam makes the briefing for us chief invigilators so important. In the briefing, we were asked to sign a pink slip which sworn us to secrecy, while the man in-charge continued his relentless reminders of what trouble we would get into, if a mistake on our part was to happen.
The reminder soon felt like a subtle warning as he said that a slight problem could turn into a national issue, and that we, as chief invigilators would probably end up in court facing charges.
Making it even more obvious was the huge pile of work placed right smacked in-front of all us chief invigilators. I sighed at the moment I saw it as I knew, holiday was on hold until further notice. Anyway, I was determined to get my turn over with this year, and hope not to be re-elected next year. You see, where I work, invigilating SPM is by turn. This year was mine.
Monday came quickly, and the whole journey of invigilating SPM began with waking up as early as 5AM. I was told that some had to wake up at 3AM, so mine is considered, ‘okay’. The journey took me to a certain building where I was to collect the examination papers with a fellow invigilator. I arrived at 6AM daily, and by 6:10AM was already on my way to the exam centre (the school where I invigilate).
One must wonder why I need to be so darn early particularly considering that exam only begins at 8AM. Well, we are required to be at the centre an hour before the actual exam, and with my centre known for its gridlock roads, I just had to come earlier despite the fact that the journey only took 30 minutes.
My assistant would be already at the school preparing all the needs for the exams, so when I came to the centre at 645AM, I’d just need to double check everything prepared. I had in advance already prepared the invigilators timetable, the seating plan, and so much more.
There isn’t much to say when the exam is going on, except the fact that the invigilators rule in the exam halls, but outside, it was under the school’s jurisdiction. This means that smoking, un-tucked-in shirts and other mess was not our problem. Cheating and fraud during exams however was our problem, and that was dealt with a report to the ‘higher-authorities’.
Most of the time, the breaks between papers would be filled with light conversation and preparing for the next papers. We were lucky that the centre we invigilated was kind enough to provide some food for breakfast. However, lunch is on us, and we are not eligible to claim for it. Don’t ask why. I don’t have the slightest idea why such rule applies.
For SPM, some papers end at 4:30PM at the most, and packing of everything would commence before the chief invigilator (in this case me), would have to rush to a certain location to deliver the exam answer sheets. Being late means I would have to answer to why I couldn’t deliver the papers in time.
By the time I reached at this location, it would already be around 5PM something, and a journey back home would see me reach a little around 6PM. As I was told, my arrival time at home is still better than some who arrive after 8PM, and so, I can count my blessings sometime.
Anyway, the fast driving, the constant walking and the huge responsibilities does take a toll on my body and mind, and hence why I could not find any time to update my blog anytime during SPM. When I had the day off, it was to do urgent errands in regards to Tweet-Up Kuching.
At the end of the day, I have never felt so relieved that SPM was over because a huge burden has now gone away.
From the way that you are describing your job description as the chief invigilator for SPM, I dare say that the job demands a separate paid salary basis, with full travel and allowance claims (including hardship and food, of course !!)
It is after a special case, more like a special team. At the same time the responsibility and pressure to undertake such an important job should be put into better perspective, as everyone would agree, SPM is the decisive point of a student’s path, whether he will make it through to tertiary education, or slip out into other alternatives.
Then again, we should have all learned by now, how unfair the world is. We can voice up our thoughts and opinion, and I encourage you to do so more often. Your blog entry will serve as a strong reminder, and I am sure, a reference for future decision makers to come. Not many people dare to speak up, or care enough to gather their thoughts and take action.
Do take your rest, my friend !! You have earned it.
Unfortunately, such suggestions are not yet implemented by those concern, and its still bound to us.
I hope in the future, things will change… and I’m getting the two weeks rest I need, but now, it’s all about personal stuff to prepare for the opening of school.
I woke up at 4am just to allow myself to catch the 6am ferry, if not I would not reach the school in time for invigilation. By the time I reached home it was nearly 8pm. That did not include our concern for our own safety crossing such a wide river which was infested by crocodiles. Besides, my car was badly scratched when getting on and off the ferry. Nonetheless, we still did our job sincerely despite all the difficulties. The invigilation really took a toll on my health too. It was extremely exhausting.
I know right? I hope I don’t have to do it again.. man… it’s really not a great thing to do yearly..