Friday, December 10, 2010

Seems is what is real!

We have all agreed that only teaching Thursday and Friday this week has not meant that the teaching week has seemed dramatically shorter. This is a well attested phenomenon that is a function of teaching late in the term and any teacher with more than a few days experience will assert the truth of the observation.

This is especially daunting as next week (a full week) starts off with one of our legendary and interminable meetings after school when ever single class is commented on and every teacher has to make some sort of fatuous comment.

Of course as we are taking about individual students and classes and not educational theory or curriculum everyone has something to say – apart from my good self when I only speak when I am forced to; and only then through gritted teeth.

We have now been told of the “final” arrangements for the so-called “White Week” or “Ski Week” or “Trip Week” that is going to take place in late February or early March.

We people who are not (emphatically not) going on any trips with any pupils have been told that, thanks to an arcane calculation we will be required to come in to school for three days in the week from 9 to 1 pm. Monday and Friday are both “free” making satisfyingly long weekends at each end of this fiasco.

To be fair the week is not the fault of the school but rather of an idiot of a minister for education in Catalonia making up policy on the hoof and then looking on bemusedly as schools tried to make practical sense of his mindless pronouncements.

The school does actually pay teachers a flat rate for each day that they go on a trip with the pupils, but this does not compensate for the woeful rates of pay for our full time services. This is just of academic interest to me as going on school trips is not something which I would contemplate however much (and it isn’t that much) extra that they pay.

A few Christmas trees have gone up in the school but there is precious little sense of the festive season around. In Castelldefels the main street is bedecked with furry coloured discs suspended across the street and our part of the town has sprouted a single forlorn Christmas greeting across one of the side streets. There is no evidence of Christmas trees blazing away behind net curtains and the number of external lights on houses is summed up in the single word “paucity.”

The single clearest indication that Christmas is imminent is the supermarket shelves groaning with the weight of solid slabs of calories in the shape of turron. This confection comes in all shapes sizes and consistencies and represents the total sugar output of half a dozen Caribbean islands. No festive home is complete without it and an unwary visitor is presented with a bewildering array of tooth rotting delight to eat.

One gets much more of a sense of Christmas from watching (as I now can) British television through the magical assistance of the internet and the Pauls’ “switchbox”. I don’t really understand the details but my birthday present of a complex program on my laptop means that I can infiltrate my televisual way into a house in Rumney and Cardiff and using their aerial in some sort of undefined way piggyback my way onto the airwaves.

I watched an episode of “Grand Designs” and realized how much I had missed intelligent, well presented, interesting television!

Time for a little more!
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