students need to read the bloody question

black and white books education facts
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The words can swim before your eyes

In a sea of letter soup.

But focus, please

And read those bloody words.

I hope you won’t look back

And wish you’d taken precious time

To write about the things they asked

And not the things you think you want to read.

The students in our school are sitting mini assessments this week so that teachers can see where they are doing well and where they need to brush up.

Today I sat in an English one and I wanted to bang my head against the wall.

The teacher got the students to read the extract and not write anything. She gave them a whole ten minutes to just sit and read and digest the piece and consider how they might answer the question at the bottom of the page.

She then gave them 20 minutes to write their answer.

At the end of the assessment, one student agreed to have their work put up on the screen so that the rest of the class could see what they had written.

Admittedly, it was really brave of the student to offer up their work and I applaud him for that.


After ten minutes of focusing on reading the question, he had evidently not read the question.

For me, it was infuriating to see that he would have lost half of his marks because he didn’t read it properly. I wanted to pull my hair out, given that they had been told to READ IT CAREFULLY.

Apparently, it happens regularly. The teacher told me that the vast majority of them will have written about the wrong thing.

It just got me thinking about how many times people lose out or fall out or get angry or sad for no reason at all. People always read want they want to read and they need to just slow down.

If I can give you one bit of advice today, it would be to slow down. Make sure you understand before you react. You might not be losing marks in an exam, but you might lose people or opportunities.

So just slow the fuck down!!!!

Much Love

Rachel xx

9 thoughts on “students need to read the bloody question

  1. ๐‘น๐’๐‘ฉ๐‘ฐ๐‘ต ๐ŸŒ‹

    Hey, I totally agree that this aspect of schooling is tragicโ€” the way that small misunderstandings can lead to disproportionate loss in marks (and self-esteem etc), even if the original spirit of writing creatively, or whatever, was completely followed. This made me skeptical as I was going through school, it just seemed silly and toxic.

    It was shocking to see you mention that the teacher said that the majority of them would misunderstand it. To me, there’s a systemic problem there that needs fixing. Schooling has remained basically the same for decades, but I really think it needs rethinking, taking into account how differently peoples’ brains are wired, and to take more advantage of the various strengths that different people have.

    Fortunately for me, I did mostly read things correctly. However, my youngest brother has always found spellings difficultโ€” in a way that is not down to lack of practise or lack of exposureโ€” and he repeatedly fell into this horrible trap of misunderstanding very small things and ending up with highly variable marks. He could not even correctly predict how well he had done in an exam, because of this. And this was despite repeated attempts to fix the problem by deliberately re-reading things. If anything he found that more time just made the problem worseโ€” because slowing down and re-reading just didn’t help him. This was stressful just for me to see him going through. It’s clear to me that he has the dyslexic kind of brain wiring. The whole school system for me is just too rigid, and unnecessarily stressful on kids.

    I totally agree with your advice, though!

    1. patientandkindlove

      I couldn’t agree more, and I think that it’s going to really upset and frustrate me as I go through my teaching career. I hope that we get a government that shakes things up one day. We need big changes to be made but it’s going to take someone with some guts to implement it.

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