Every now and again the question of paying reluctant eleven plus candidates to do papers comes up.
“Oh, Mother Dear, of course I will do the paper – but it will cost you!”
“Well, all right, but you can’t rush this paper. You must take your time with the questions.”
“Oh, no! You are not going to use that egg timer on me again? I hate the pressure.”
“Well, dear, you need to remember a little story.
In an hour glass the sand takes exactly an hour to empty from the top to the bottom. You usually have to take fifty minutes on a paper – but remember we are giving you an extra ten minutes to look through the paper so that you can plan your time.
We will use our other sand timer – the one that only lasts ten minutes. When the sand runs out on those ten minutes you can start. You can not start before the time – and you can not leave your desk before the sand in the hour timer has run out.”
“But mum, it is not fair. An hour is a long time. I am sure I can finish ahead of time.”
“Yes, but the sand timer was invented to allow work men to be paid for each hour that they worked. Any way if you finish early you can always watch the sand running. You will be able to see that the conical shape of the sand in the bottom glass matches the shape of the sand in the top glass.”
“No more. I will do the test for nothing. Please don’t give me more information than I need. Please just leave me to it.”