Good but Strange

Normal Wednesday morning. Biology Lead, Biology follow, English Literature, Chemistry lead, Chemistry follow. It’s not 10am yet. I feel we are going to laugh about this schedule one day. That day’s not here yet.

And there’s one more Biology to go before the end of live classes back in the U.K.. Oh, and Delph’s here too doing school, but early mornings never seem so hard for Delph. Probably because she just outright refuses to wake up before 8am. It’s like trying to wake up an open-mouthed, hibernating hedgehog. Oh to be 13 again.

Anyhow. as soon as Lu logged in to her last Biology class, the news came. Not from the teacher either, but from a fellow pupil called Emma.

Lu said from salon table where she sits, to the sofa next to the salon table where I sit. ‘Emma just said IGCSEs are cancelled.’

Choke on coffee. Not even because they’re cancelled. I’ve been obsessed about this since early October, when Wales’ exam boards cancelled their exams. It’s been four months since then. Writing to the school. Writing to the exam board. I did that last week. And then a kid called Emma gets there first.

I was consoled that Lu’s Biology teacher, Anni had no idea either. None of the teachers did. The head of exams at InterHigh did say we would probably find out about cancellations at the same time as the professionals. He was right.

It made doing the following lesson on genetic mutations quite problematic. Pearson exam board released a statement. Basically, they explained IGCSE exams are being replaced by teacher-based assessments. Exactly what form these assessments will take is still to be decided. There might be another set of mock exams. We don’t know yet.

Still, with this news, Lu’s joined the rest of the U.K. We’re not expected to find an exam room where she can eek out her knowledge. We can rest easy and keep going as we are. This is good news.

I was celebrating. Everyone else got up – even the teenage hedgehog – and we all celebrated. Except for one person. Interestingly, I made one classic mistake here. I thought Lu would have been happy about it. Instead, Lu’s eyebrows hitched up – and then she shouted at us. A lot.

Huh. I wasn’t expecting that. I guess I’d expected she’d be pleased she wouldn’t have to sit exams. Who likes sitting exams? Lu never seemed like she wanted to sit them.

But perhaps this isn’t the point. The following morning, Lu had Chemistry again – before it was even fully light outside. Her teacher, Dr. Song (super smart, don’t mess with me) gave the kids a special talk. A sort of grieving speech over them not doing their exams. It caught me sitting on the sofa next to the salon table. Dr. Song didn’t celebrate this news. And my kid really responded to it. This pandemic truly is strange times.

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