The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Posts are a little hazy along the production lines at present.

There's a standard habit in UK state comprehensives. It recurs with any teacher who is leaving at the end of the term, when management assumes they're slipping and backsliding on their basic duties, as final term cabin fever sets in. I guess said manager figures that they themselves would have their own sights set elsewhere, so why wouldn't everyone else be operating in a walking dreamworld of abdicated responsibility?

Hmm. Not my style. But I digress.

The standard response is to get your money's worth out of said exiting malingerers by another route - by increasing the number of substitute teaching they're awarded in the average week.
If they're just going to function as another warm body in the room, why not put them somewhere this figures as a job apex, right?

I see the logic.

Except, I'm trying very hard not to lose focus or to disappoint my students by enacting half-arsed rubbish lessons on their batttered brains. I'm trying to maintain the same high standards I expect of them at any other time of year.

But still I'm caught in the assumption of abdicated weight - the tectonic gap of teaching: three hours' extra substitute teaching a week.

I still have to write longhand reports, process 350 folders of coursework, give speeches at graduation evenings, organise and plan inventive lessons, and plan, administrate, staff and deliver a revision school the size of a small primary ... but now I have to do it in three hour's less time.
Four hours if you count the time spent writing incident reports for little Arron, who locks the strange supply teacher out of the classroom, or Antoine, who throws a mouldy banana at the whiteboard, or Patrice, who decides to try to bite Gemma's wrist till her teeth draw blood in their midweek French zoological experience lesson.
All of which makes my admin record look slapdash, means I'm missing report deadlines, turning up late to graduation, submitting coursework at the final moments before deadline; to my managers' eyes I appear to be doing exactly what they assumed - cutting corners. Leaving in spirit, long before I leave in body.

And that annoys me.

I have a mountain of dogsbody work to catch up on.

Blogging - that reflective externalisation of internal processes - can be awkward on top of the rush season. At the moment, it comes last on the list.

My apologies. Normal service will be rushed, hasty, and often delivered a day or two overdue.

And will resume; as soon as I've given these damn overworking naysaying unbelievers what for. I'm going to teach them a lesson.