Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Job well done!

I am at present suffused with the warm glow of self-satisfaction brought on by a spate of marking completed before the official start of my day.

There is something to be said for traffic congestion, as I have to leave my house at an ungodly time and get in to school ridiculously early because if I leave any later I will get caught up in the transportation meltdown which is rush hour in Barcelona.

This means that as well as having a reasonably leisurely cup of tea I can also prepare for the day ahead.  And I have even marked a class set which doesn’t need to be done today!  Preparation indeed!

Added to the six periods that I teach today is a meeting immediately after school.  O Joy!  Though in defence of the chair of our meeting, Suzanne is one of the few people I have ever known who keeps to the official time limits set down and keeps the pace of the meeting going.  There is always more to do at the end of these meetings, but this is one which I do not resent with the bone deep hatred that usually accompanies my other attendances and meetings whose fatuity can only be appreciated by other cynical professionals!

Four of my six lessons today have now been taught and only the last two, set firmly in the afternoon remain.  These two lessons are a hard slog for teacher and pupil alike and so I have devised the saving strategy of splitting the long, long class into a classroom section and then the latter part in the computer room with the kids doing research which eventually results in a single page of black and white print and pictures.  Which I then mark.  Clean and efficient.  In theory.

Theories continue to proliferate about what exactly is going to happen to our pay in the next few months.  All the fervid speculation is laced with despair as the futility of action is considered.  One feels slightly miffed that Spain does not have the same tradition of futile (but glorious) or glorious (but futile) opposition that seems to run like a twisted thread through the history of labour relations in the UK.

It seems almost inevitable that our wages are going to be cut; by how much and when is the point of discussion – but not what we should do or be doing as a response to this action.  The fatalism is almost tangible and blunts the edge of my dissatisfaction.  The Unions are weak and in my place of work “unobtrusive.”  People are too concerned with their jobs to voice an opinion about Unions let alone claim to be a member of one.  With the shining exception of myself.  Though even I keep a fairly low profile.

The establishment of a working Union group within the school with official negotiating rights is such a complex and soulless process that it is unlikely ever to be instigated by the workers here!

I should imagine that there are many potentially active union members ploughing a lonely furrow and wonder just what sort of crisis will have to have before it ferments some radicalism.  I fear that question is going to remain rhetorical for some time to come!

As if to emphasise the lowly position of teachers here have, I return home after a meeting after school lasting over an hour.  I arrive at night and today I return at night.

As is usual I leave the meeting with more work to do, a feeling of mild resentment and a strong desire to get a cup of tea at home as compensation.

Tomorrow is Wednesday and the official tipping day of the week when, in the afternoon, we can consider ourselves on the home straight to the weekend.

There is an exhibition in Barcelona of Impressionist painting that I am ashamed to say I have not yet seen.  I shall rectify this omission this weekend – and have a quick look at any sales that might still be going.

Needs must!
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