The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What a difference five years makes.

Athrawes is on maternity leave from her Head of Maths post in a tiny town in the South Island of New Zealand.  I have just returned from three years in Peru, to teach in what I used to think of as a Phoenix school - rebuilt, renamed, restaffed, rebranded.  

And what a difference, from the old South London performing arts comp.  This new school (brand new school, price tags still on the furniture, paint still wet) is semi rural, but big, in the west country of the UK.  UK education has been 40% privatised these days.  The top and bottom end are owned and controlled by some other agency, not by government.  It's out of state control, but is about 2 years on from having been the worst school in the country, statistically (I should have noticed that, yes, but applied on proximity basis only).  It's wallowing in private funding, I've never worked in any building so modern and luxurious.  I have 30 laptops in the cupboard, that I can give out to kids at will.  My head of department shakes her head in wonder at the thought that state schools have to keep a record and a tally of their photocopying.  It's been a bad school, but has followed a rigorous program of headhunting good, dedicated and imaginative teachers, so without a doubt will within five years be a good school, and within ten be one of the best in the country.  (I have worked in rebranded schools, this one has everything it takes - it's just a matter of time.)

So, Guardian Education, who called me and my blog "jaded", I am officially bright eyed and bushy tailed again.  Working part time, teaching English, teaching Languages (the timetable varies, I taught Animal handling last term), enjoying a cushier end of working in extremely bloody challenging schools for yet another stint.

Rebirth?  Not likely.  Chundering on.  New place, new country, new continent, new shiny suit.  Same wily little geniuses with dogs that eat homework.  Chundering on.