The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Thursday, December 02, 2004

This week, the Peter Principle has me pounding my forehead against the walls in frustration.

The local council asks me to deliver a training seminar to all the first year teachers in the area. They will not pay me for delivery, on the principle that I am already paid for teaching during those hours (although I'm not), but will allow me to charge money for the time spent preparing.
Hence, one over prepares, of course.

Today, three hours before the seminar was due to begin, I was summarily informed that the school's supply requirements are substantial today, and I could not be allowed offsite cover to go to the seminar.

"You do understand that I'm not attending the seminar, don't you? That I'm delivering it?"


"Why is the cover requirement so heavy today?"

All the first year teachers are out on a training seminar this afternoon, so there's no-one to cover your lessons.

"And who do you think is going to train them?"

In order to be paid for the fourteen hours of work I've already put into preparing this seminar (thankfully run as a self-directed unit), I have to rush to a neighbouring school, leave equipment and instructions out on the desk, and hope staff take any notice of them, and rush back here to teach.

While simultaneously hoping these staff from schools all across the borough don't notice what school has shot itself in the foot quite so publicly.

Students I expect to find priorities difficult to grasp, to make mistakes in how they frame a request or demand, to err on the side of short termism in their planning. Adults are more difficult to forgive.