Mr. Collis, Man of Marking

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - By: kate.l

Not only can Mr. Paul Collis, the Head of English here at Brentwood, juggle flaming batons and ride a unicycle, he is also a highly-regarded exam marker within the BC Ministry of Education.  As equally adept at explaining the intricacies of a Shakespearean sonnet as he is of appreciating the Steelers’ blitz package, and as likely to be found reading Dickens’ minor novels as Hines Wards’ tweets, Mr. Collis travels to distant conference rooms whenever English provincial exams require marking on the Island to dot, blot, and speckle his ink on the English 12 essays of students from across BC.


He still remembers his first day marking provincial exams, describing it with simile and allusion: “as mentally draining as Purgatory,” and he was daunted by the volume of papers to grade, the unbroken silences of the atmosphere, and the dizzying speed of the process. He has since gained a supernatural level of patience, along with an addiction to coffee. As modest as Mr. Collis is, within the ministry he is known as a Section Head, whose role it is to supervise a team of up to 30 markers and to harmonize standards and marking protocol. His specific focus lies with the original composition portion of the provincial exams, so the next time he tells you to write a strong introductory paragraph, to use artistic description, or to avoid the first-person keyhole like the plague, you had best heed his advice.


Mrs. Hedquist (synthesis) and Mr. Ganley (poetry) also marked thousands of provincial exam papers in early February, and they will be joined by Ms. Day Reynolds in July, and Brentwood’s students of English are now the beneficiaries of their collective marking wisdom.
Eric D

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