For one horrible moment I thought that next week which I have been looking forward to was going to be ruined because of the noxious presence of extraneous kids. My idea of paradise, a school drained of the unruly horror of actual students was going to be blasted by economic disaster.
Spanair has gone bust and we were flying some of our kids off to who-cares-where and now they (whoever they are) have to find alternative transport. I was transfixed with despair at the thought of a surgically clean school being polluted with disgruntled students who were unable to participate in our Trip Week, mainly because of the realization that someone left back at base would have to look after them in their lessons.
Buses, train, AVE, horseback, hovercraft, pogo stick were all suggested by me in an excess of fear that my pseudo-holiday was about to be ruined. I even suggested making the trip into a pilgrimage so that we could justify the kids walking if necessary.
But crisis management is something this school does well. It is unfortunate that it also precipitates the crises that necessitate the crisis management, but we have to be grateful for small mercies. An announcement was made in morning break which suggested that various alternatives were already being explored and that the kids should be safely (if possible) away at the appropriate time.
A week today will be the last normal teaching day for my 2BXT, and I think that the rest of the school will be safely away by that time. Nothing, absolutely nothing has been said about what we Ones Who Are Left are supposed to be doing.
I have plenty to do during this unnatural week and it would be great if I were able to get into the writing for my Art Book – though those capital letters are a little pretentious for what I am seeking to achieve. But it would give me a couple of days to break the back of the project and anyway it would give me time to get together a series of pictures that will be necessary to make the thing work.
I will also have marking to do and I have vowed that I am never going to do any marking at home again. We have an enforced eight-hour day and that is long enough for anything to get done – and if it isn’t long enough then it simply is not going to get done. I have adopted this policy for the last few months and, while it does make for some fun-filled and frantic days, it generally works out.
Of course there are some things that I will do in my spare time at home connected with school that do not count: reading is an obvious example. Especially reading about (art or Art) and reading literature.
I cannot bring myself to tolerate the mealy mouthed pretentious indulgence which usually constitutes writing about education. Suzanne is different and she rejoices in the stuff that makes my blood run cold and, even worse, actually puts educational ideas into practical operation in her classes.
I tell myself that as an Art Teacher she has her own room, own equipment, a practical bias and enough time to develop concepts whereas I am an itinerant teacher with no base and no storage in my teaching spaces.
I have realized that the last sentence is not strictly true as, in one class I have the upturned lid of a paper box to keep my text books while in another I have attempted to utilize the space around the television, CD player and computer in a video storage cupboard for the stuff for Media Studies, Current Affairs and Making Sense of Modern Art. To say I am squeezed is something of an understatement!
Tomorrow is the next in my opera series in the Liceu and this is either going to be a revelation or an explanation of why this piece has never been played in the Liceu since in was written in the last quarter of the eighteenth century by Vicent Martín i Soler – a name, I am sure you will agree, to conjure with. OK, his librettist was Da Ponte and Mozart wrote an aria for inclusion in the opera and it doesn’t matter how much you say that in his day he rivalled Mozart and Salieri, there must be a reason why this Catalan composer has not had his opera presented once in Catalonia in the Liceu in the couple of centuries that have elapsed since the first performance. I wait to be convinced.
So far into the season, with the exception of Carmen, I have not been to anything that I have known well. And tomorrow I am presented with a composer whose name I heard for the first time when I read the prospectus for the forthcoming season.
Educators need to be educated too! At least I am with Suzanne on that one!