Monday, February 13, 2012

Start, as I hope it doesn't go on!

There is nothing like starting the week with cold fury motivating you.

I arrived to find a chorus of disgruntled returnees from various trips crying aloud to whatever gods there be that they had gone on a school trip for the last time.  The details of the horrors were instructive and ranged from abuse of mobile phones to call parents at 3.00am to addiction to cough mixture.  There were the usual stories of mislaid passports and travel sickness and enough extraneous detail to make me very glad that I had elected to stay and hold the fort in Barcelona rather than go anywhere with kids.

What was les instructive was the realization that members of staff were absent.  We work on such a tight staffing ratio that a single member of staff absent causes chaos; when we have three or four absent then the chaos tends towards the cataclysmic: Thanatos stalks the corridors!

Today I am teaching a mere five periods and doing a lunchtime duty but, given the absurd length of the school day we can squeeze in at least another two periods.  One of which I lost so I am doing what would be impossible in a normal British school with a five period day, which is to teach six periods and take my lunch in the last period available. 

During the short period after my duty I had to photocopy sheets for tomorrow when another member of staff is going to be absent (just to add to the general jollity) so that we can collapse classes to accommodate further strains on our teaching. 

I didn’t actually manage to get the photocopying done before the bell sounded for me to go to my extra class (the equivalent of Year 11) so I am feeling well disposed to the whole of creation when I consider that tomorrow is a “timetabled” six period day – though, as a charming treat I do not have to complete another lunchtime duty.  My next duty is not until Wednesday!

One of my o-so-helpful colleagues informed me that the next holiday is not for seven weeks and that is after five weeks of this present term have already passed.  At least I have had four days some something different and one day of holiday, whereas some of my colleagues did not get back from their trips until Saturday evening.  So they have had only the hollow rest of a teacher’s Sunday to draw breath before the long slog to Easter.

Another beautiful but cold day with low bands of indistinct cloud.  This morning was 2 degrees and my car started with the characteristic beeping which indicates “Danger of Ice”.  I have not seen any ice, but there was some frost on the window one day a couple of weeks ago.

Two years ago it was during early March that we had a bad snowstorm.  We can only hope for a repetition – but this time with the ludicrous panic that characterised the frenzied approach to twenty-seven snowflakes in the morning leading to the closure of the school by lunchtime in bright sunshine in snowless skies!  I certainly have no desire to repeat the two-and-a-half hour journey from school to home that marred the delight of the school closing!

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