I am living in a nightmare,
surrounded by schoolbooks.
Irish, English, French, Maths.
Folders lying open,
There is a timetable up on the wall.
A date on the calendar clearly marked,
June 5th. Leaving Certificate begins.
Just in case anyone could forget.
This is it.
Tomorrow at 9.30 am,
Fourteen years of education will be tested.
What valuable lessons have been learned?
Rock formation, quadratic equations,
questions on Shakespeare and poetry.
Who has listened, who has studied, who has the best memory?
The check list is complete.
Pens, pencils, rulers and set squares,
all present and correct.
The tools required to complete the task.
There is talk of failing,
of calculators running out of battery,
of trick questions.
The sun has decided to shine,
raising the temperatures,
adding to the heat already felt.
Watching the build up,
is like reliving a past memory,
which I very carefully buried.
The recurring nightmare, where I rush to a classroom late and in a panic,
to discover I am in the wrong exam, totally unprepared.
A nightmare my child has yet to dream.
As a parent I am pushing my children on,
so they too can have the horror of this nightmare,
come back to haunt them in their dreams for the rest of their lives.
Usually a parent would do anything to spare their child pain.
Well here I must confess.
I love my children dearly but,
nothing would ever make me repeat my Leaving Certificate exams.
I have bought my son various treats,
and tomorrow I will wave him off and wish him well.
But when I close the door after him,
my over riding feeling will be massive relief.
“Thank Goodness it is him and not me!”
Many speak as if these exams are the end.
In reality they are just the beginning,
the first step on the road to independence.
There will be much more learning ahead for my son.
and hopefully a lifetime of new and exciting experiences.
Contrary to what is often said,
I do not think schooldays are the best days of your life.
For my son I know he still has those days to look forward to.
Just the matter or a few exams to get out of the way first!