So why am I not feeling happy?
Not only is today Friday (well, it was when I wrote this), but also it is the last day of pseudo-work before the long weekend, to which colleagues have been looking forward with an almost unhealthy greed! There is an air of desperation about a single day (and not the day on which I have six periods to teach) which shows like nothing else the true state of exhaustion of the staff.
After this tantalizing taste of freedom there is an extra fortnight before the Easter holiday – and even this release is a truncated form of what you would get in Britain with only seven working days of holiday rather than a full fortnight being allocated for the vacation.
The one thing which is similar to Britain is that my colleagues here share the same delusions about the summer term.
I have already heard colleagues saying things like, “The summer term goes so quickly” and “When the sixth form goes we will have extra time” and other statements of equal hope but little reality. Colleagues will be absent and extra time will be missed; examinations will need to be supervised; odd little events will suddenly be organized which need our attendance. In short, time will be illusory and weeks will be exactly the same length as in a term which is perceived to be more strenuous.
Although teachers are expected to say this every year that they are in teaching, I do think that this term has been one of the most arduous that I have ever endured. Not only has the content been taxing but also the sheer number of days that we have been in school has been enervating. I will be very glad when this term is over and I will gleefully enter into the collective delusion about the easiness of the third term.
Although it was rather an expensive way of doing it, I have been amused and delighted by the new car and I am still, continuingly fascinated by the way that the car switches seamlessly between petrol engine and battery, sometimes using both at the same time. I am beginning to suspect that the little graphic is a lie and I am kidding myself about what is going on! But the silent progress I sometimes make is more than satisfying!
I am now listening to Bartok as I make my way to school. This is part of my bulk buy of CDs which of late have tended towards Bruckner and Mahler - rather heavy going for first thing in the morning! The present Bartok is now exactly hummable but the astringent almost-melodies are refreshing and match the driving skills of my fellow motorists as I make my stately ecological way along the motorways.
For virtually the first time in my experience I am actually enjoying driving and I like the car. This reaction means that I do notice the little (or not so little to my way of thinking) things that are not working as I expect them to. My greatest gripe is the music.
The reproduction of the music is fine I have no complaints about that – it is more the fact that the information about tracks is not being displayed on the screen when the various devices are linked up. In theory I should have all the information which is displayed on the IPod screen on the display in the car, but this merely gives a track number for the CD player and doesn’t even give you the total number of tracks.
The information about performer, orchestra, and movement is totally absent, and yet according to the information in the guidebook it should be part of the driving experience.
Well, it isn’t and I am not pleased. I am more than half inclined to go back to the dealer and see how they respond to a request from a customer after the money has all been paid in! But I hold myself back from doing this in the fear that I am not following an instruction of mindless simplicity which will make all things well.
My first period has been turned into a study period and even that is cut in half as I am shortly to be relieved by a colleague who will take the latter part of the lesson. The second period is a Departmental Meeting which I assume will be given over to marking (which I have done) and then I have a free. This is the sort of teaching that I could take up as a career! Pity this is the exception rather than the rule!
Where did Saturday go?
The Family came down for lunch and then stayed for the more than satisfactory win by Barça over Seville.
I was tricked into going into town with the ladies for shopping. I thought that we were going in for food and other essentials: the ladies had other ideas.
Many clothing shops later I felt that I deserved the coffee that might as well have been strapped to the neck of a Saint Bernard dog for that state that I was in by the time that at least half of us sat down!
In C&A a father a daughter hogged the only two seats for those waiting for the people trying on clothes. In spite of the poisonous looks that I gave them both neither relinquished their hard gained comfy chair.
It took me a while to remember that, having exhausted the delights of the haute mode of the men’s section of C&A and feeling like a plane crash survivor staggering in a desert of tat, there were benches just outside the store. Thus armed with my trusty mobile phone which is always charged with numerous “Amazing” stories gleaned copyright-free to satisfy my sci-fi addiction (though not always charged with money for its ostensible purpose) I was able to read myself to sanity.
Our trip to the shopping centre was taken in the new car (New Car) and drew appreciative coos of delight from the assembled ladies and with the CD player off (I felt that the spikier Bartok was not to their taste) the eerie silence with which we threaded through the lanes of the underground car park reduced them to silence as well!
Today is an officially “gained” day. Usually Sundays are broken days for teachers. They have a lie-in in the morning; enjoy a Sunday lunch, and then use the afternoon and evening to worry about the next day. But today is different. Sunday may be enjoyed in all its schoollessness because we are not working on Monday. Even the traditional worry-free morning takes on a different sort of delightfulness.
A gloomy colleague told me on Friday that the unusually fine weather we have been having would last up until Sunday and then miserable normality would take over. Well, it may only be ten o’clock in the morning, but the perfect blue skies bode well for the rest of the day.