I have been stymied by my own housekeeping!
My briefcase was ludicrously overweight, especially considering I had no school textbooks or marking in it! The OU course books are solid things and with the bits and with the electronic bits and pieces that go with study it was full before I had the inconvenience of actual school stuff to contend with.
Having got up at some absurd time this morning for an 8.15 am start with Year 9 I found that I had time to rationalize my briefcase and exclude those items which I would have no opportunity to use during this period crowded morning.
As it turns out, of course, not only do I have spare time, but I have also carefully forgotten the marking which I should have been able to get completed this morning and left it on the coffee table in the front room together with all the other stuff which would now be useful for me to have.
One class has turned into a study period and I am left typing because everything else, including the marking that I have to do for another year I did not pick up yesterday and is somewhere else – lost between buildings! It is yet another case of the best laid plans etc etc.
Today however will be a test day in my new approach to the Draconian plans which this place has towards teacher attendance. According to my timetable my afternoon is free and I intend to put to the test the conversation that I had with the head of department when I agreed to work in the school until Christmas. If I am not teaching then I am not here. Accordingly I should have at least two afternoons when I can get on with the work that I actually want to do and two other afternoons when I can leave early to avoid the ridiculous amount of traffic that clogs up the inadequate streets around the school when the kids are let out.
I noticed with some degree of consternation that one small vertiginous street which was a major route of egress, which admittedly caused chaos when pushy parents used it in their over-the-top 4-by-4s to steal a march on other equally pushy parents, has now been blocked off and all the traffic has been diverted so as to create one cataclysmic traffic jam rather than two merely major ones at the end of school. I do not intend to find out just how finger gnawingly frustrating these jams are and will softly and silently vanish away whenever I can.
Yesterday was the first full day that I was in school and it is depressingly easy to forget that I have ever been away from the place. There are a few new faces in the older classes but everyone, obviously, is the same as when I left them back in the balmy days of last June. Some people have indeed not really taken in the fact that I am back as I sit in my usual place and walk around as if I have never left.
One new face among the teachers is a man who I last saw in the School That Sacked Me. At that time he was presented with a camera which was going to record his impending marriage and honeymoon. Given the awful nature of the School That Sacked Me there was much speculation about whether the guy was going to be allowed to take his legal entitlement of a number of days off to get married. But, off to get married he went and, as was usual in The School That Sacked Me, we never saw him again. At least he has a fairly secure and reasonable berth now!
Seeing his face was one of those unsettling moments, common to teachers, where you recognize it but have a vague feeling that it is out of place. If a teacher stays in one school for longer than a certain critical amount of time then pupils, teachers, parents and pupils who eventually become parents all become confused in the memory and this leads to a considerable amount of social embarrassment. It took me a couple of seconds (and hearing his New Zealand accent) before I placed him. I spoke to him with interest and sympathy until I remembered that, given the recent form of the Welsh rugby team, he more than represented the enemy!
I have now seen two teachers from The School That Sacked Me in other schools in the area and I suppose that I should be happy that they have escaped too. I am sure that if I made a tour of the other English language schools around us I would find other survivors!
How that damn school continues to survive is beyond comprehension – though I am disturbingly informed that it is not untypical of the horrendous conditions that obtain in schools that are owned by a single, unsympathetic, unprofessional owner. God rot her and all her works!
I suppose that finding out whether my slimmed down week (which still has 24 periods in it) has worked will only become apparent tomorrow when I will be able to see if my absence this afternoon went by unnoticed – officially that is, because nothing goes unnoticed in that place!
Tomorrow I have to be there all day because I have a lesson last thing in the afternoon. And my day doesn’t end there because after school I am meeting Suzanne for the opening of an exhibition in Barcelona and then on to a life drawing class. With naked people to be humiliated by my erratic pencil!
And talking of humiliation it is time for me to check into the website for the OU to find out what new developments there have been in the developing soap opera which is my course!
Never a dull moment!