Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Last Days Again!

Yet again, displacement activity comes to the fore and precludes my doing anything useful for education.  When in doubt, type – seems like a philosophy for survival to me!

This is the start of my last week in education.  I am stating that with increasing fervour so that I will not be tempted by the warm summer months and a decent timetable to think of anything other than retirement!  The demands of the OU make it easier to contemplate the extra free time and commandeer it for study!

Seriously, this week has to encompass my producing, as if my magic, hundreds of results to give some sort of numerical authenticity to my past six-ish month sojourn in the school on the hill.  Normally this would not be a problem, but the new computer platform which has been created to make our job so much easier, does, in fact, unsurprisingly, make it considerably more stress-filled.  But, for me, each time I do something now, I am conscious that I am doing it for the last time, and that does make it somewhat easier.  To say the least.

On the other hand, there is also a sort of time-stretch which occurs when I think of distant Friday when I finally shake the dust form my sandals and quit and the time seems to extend itself into some sort of grotesque lengthened insult to my impatience.  However, parasite-like I am feeding off the barely concealed resentment of my colleagues as they realize that I will be sailing into the blue beyond while they have years to go before they sleep (and years to go before they sleep).

I have now been intimidated by the rest of my frantic colleagues into making at least a pretence of “doing something” with the exam marks.  The typing will have to cease, as the Americans say, momentarily.

I’m back!  I made the attempt and am waiting for a colleague to give her expert “massaging” advice to my final figures so that they can be published as something which can be taken seriously.  Karl Marx (with his well known attitude towards statistics and imaginative numbers) would delight in our school!

I did precisely no English teaching today.  I had a free instead of a sixth form lesson; I invigilated part of a Catalan exam; I filmed part of a drama lesson and finally sat in sullen silence watching the dreadful behaviour of kids supposedly watching a film.  And then home.

Where the news was good and bad.  The good was the kids were having a party in the park and we did not have to go to that.  The bad was the gathering for adults was at 9.30 pm at night and so god alone knows what time I will get back this evening – and its up at half six tomorrow morning and teaching at eight fifteen!  God help!

It looks as though I am not going to get my Grown Up Camera before the end of term (at least the end of term for me) and I will have to wait for later in the summer before I try it out and see whether I can get back to the standard of picture taking that I had with my old Canon.  Time will tell.

More and more dirt is being displayed in public about the disgraceful way in which political parties in this country behave.  The “ruling” party continues to astonish by its blatant disregard of the avalanche of multitudinous items of corruption and amazing misuse of public funds which would have ensured its dismissal anywhere in northern Europe.  The hollow cypher which (I use the word advisedly) is our Prime Minister continues to wander aimlessly around this country, and even more embarrassingly, around Europe where his shambling appearances produce widespread indifference and he is generally ignored as a total irrelevance in modern politics.

The weather is disgraceful and the summer continues its shamefully unseasonal progress through to the holidays when I hope its comes to its senses and lavishes sunshine on my work exhausted limbs.

The jaunt to Terrassa was exhausting because of its late start, but we made it home just before midnight and I fell asleep almost at once as soon as I had downloaded the drama videos to one of the grudgingly “loaned” memory sticks that I have managed to squeeze out of the school stock.

The whole of the drama course has been a productive failure with lots of good ideas foisted on unsuspecting kids which should result in a more rational and effective course next year – except I will not be teaching it and the teacher who takes back the class has other ideas and I am not prepared to present mine in a systematized way because there are only four days left of my career and, basically, I can’t be bothered.

The major element in the course this term has been the filming of a group-produced script.  The process has been valuable and I only hope that the kids have been able to take something from it, because the final results are a little less than professional.  If I am realistic there is a limit to what can be done with only an hour a week, but if it is spread over a longer period and more time is spent on the production of the script interspersed with workshop type exercises in monologue, dialogue and filming I think that it can work.

My most pressing academic chore, which is becoming more pressing with each passing day, is to put my “results” into the computer system.

This chore is much more than that because the computer system seems to have taken ag’in’ me, and no matter how hard I try to get my access information to do just that, I remain stubbornly on the outside looking in, rather than inside and completing the information.

In my wallet is a tattered piece of paper with barely legible instructions about how to get in, but yesterday I spent almost an hour trying various forms of propitiation to get the system to bend to my will – and failed.  There are some sixty results which I have not yet fabricated to enter and even assuming that I can get each one out of the way in just a minute that means a concentrated hour of my time is going to be devoted to this particular piece of vacuousness.  I think that Wednesday is going to be the day as that particular day I have to stay in this place until the final bell, so there are various times when I will have the enforced opportunity to do what should have been done before.

The weather is dreadful.  It is overcast and sultry and has that sort of glare that is the bane of contact lens wearers.  Talking of which I am getting on better with my present lenses than any since I started wearing them – or at least since my eyes went their separate paths and made wearing a simple prescription impossible.  The present attempt to get my sight back to something approaching normality uses the same approach of past opticians, that is trying to get my right eye corrected for reading and my left one for distance and then attempting to get my brain to sort out the messages to make it all work.  In the past this has not happened, but this time there seems to be a greater inclination on the part of my little grey cells to do their stuff.

The only problem is driving at night when the confusion of messages is exacerbated by the out of focus halo effect around lights which produce a very complex view of the road.  I think that I will have to get a pair of glasses made which correct the right eye to distance and equalize the vision.  Or wear glasses for night driving – I do, after all, have four new pairs to choose from!

If the contact lenses are encouraging, the glasses (in all their unbelievable expense) are not.  The new ones are not a patch on the old ones and the area of good sight in the multi-focals is severely limited.  I suppose they are just something else to get used to, but at the moment I prefer the lenses.

Much to my surprise my lack of glasses has prompted a storm of questions from the kids, in spite of the fact that my previous glasses were nigh on invisible!  Perhaps I underestimate their powers of observation!

Meanwhile, there is a day to get through.  At least this is my early end – and another day will be able to be crossed off in the final countdown! 
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