Not waving, but drowning. . . .

What a week!

Monday

It all started well. Everything seemed under control. Arrived at school with the three GCSE folders ready for the post in the afternoon. ITT student was coming in to do a starter with my Year 7 group on punctuation. It’s the reading week for Year 9’s Bildungsroman fiction. 5-period day. No fear.

Starting with Year 11 – finishing watching The History Boys. I had been showing this film to my Year 11 students in the past couple of years and found that it worked magic in inspiring them. For some reason, these now well-know and popular actors such as James Cordon have managed to make geeks look chic. Even the most disinterest of the group can’t wait to find out how the “boys” get on with their Oxbridge interviews. Without fail, every year many of my Year 11 students experience some kind of epiphanic moment following the young protagonists’ progress.

I had looked forward to being able to go home at around 4:00pm – my cut-off point. It transpired when we checked over the GCSE samples that I had missed 3 other candidates on the list, two for Unit 3 and one for Unit 2! 4 o’clock suddenly became a distant a dream. At 5:30pm, I was still at school.

Thank goodness that Poppy was staying at Doggie Care all day.

Tuesday

Full day with 6 periods. Just when I thought I could take comfort in the thought that the day had been planned and everything should go accordingly, unexpected student matters pushed their way right up to my already crowded to-do list. A child with autism and Aspergers syndromes in my Year 9 group had become increasingly more tense following a new arrangement for him to receive one-to-one support. His reaction to the TA had become hostile; a flurry a emails ensued. I had a feeling that things could get worse before any improvement could be made.

Faculty meeting after school. Pupil Premium was high on the agenda. This new imperative to “close the gap” meant that extra layers of bureaucracy had been created, new forms to be filled out and such was its urgent nature, the deadline to complete an Pupil Premium Intervention Log elbowed its way to the front of the queue.

Looking at my timetable for the rest of the week – one PPA on Thursday and one on Friday. There’s hope. But how many jobs could I fit into 2 PPAs?

It was 6:00pm when I got home. Poppy was excited to see me home after nearly 12 hours apart.

Wednesday

Another full day. “Pace yourself,” was my mantra in time of frantic actions. The day wouldn’t finish until I said good-bye to the last set of parents from my Year 7 Form. But before I got to that point, I had to go through the day that started with Year Team meeting before the start of the day. My break time duty in the canteen had to be performed. Form Tutor parents’ evening started straight after period 5 and wouldn’t finished until 5:15pm. APP marking? It had to wait. . . .

It’s usually, genuinely useful to talk to parents face-to-face. This was the second instalment of Year 7 Tutors’ Parents’ Evening. I had 15 appointments, staring from 2:45pm and finishing with the last at 5:05pm. No nasty surprises this afternoon apart from the usual and understandable concerns about the child’s sets and progress. I dutifully took notes and added follow-up actions to my burgeoning reminder list.

In addition to these allocated slots, additional times had to be found for two sets of parents who for one reason or another couldn’t come to school.

Parents evenings are always an intense affair. But the food provided by the kitchen was lovely this evening.

Again, I was home just in time for 6 O’clock News on BBC 1. I felt asleep on the sofa after tea.

Thursday

Right, 1 PPA today. Pupil Premium Intervention Log! Mustn’t forget. Year 10 occupied my mind on my way to school. BBC Radio 4 often gave me inspiration for lesson planning. Collaborative work was the name of the game. For Year 10 Controlled Assessment to write a script to be read out on a radio station, I had decided that one of the styles was satire. We had watched clips of Have I Got News for You and QI. They needed some practice. Cue title: “Controlled Assessments Have Made Me a More Rounded Human Being”.

The class was divided into 8 groups of 4s. Each group was given one aspect of which they had to collaborate to write up a paragraph of no more than 100 words in a satirical style. For example, “Controlled assessments have improved my relationship with my parents immeasurably,” “CAs have given me the Va Va Voom,” and “CAs have reinvigorated my social life,” etc. After collating all the groups’ contributions, it confirmed that it was easier to be sarcastic or grumpy, but it was hard to be a satirist! Wit! Not whinge!

No one warned me just how mentoring ITT trainees could seriously impede on one’s social life! I spent nearly 2 hours on mentoring my two ITT students. It was 5:00pm when I left school.

More admin job to do: two observation forms to complete over the weekend.

I was very tired.

Friday

TGIF! But another day brought another fresh crisis – Year 10 data must be put on SIMS today! My to-do list continued to lengthen. Everything seemed should have been done two weeks ago! With no prospect of getting on with those tasks still on the list, I put them off until the weekend, knowing perfectly well that I was deluding myself. And that’s the tragedy. I live in constant delusion.

Leaving school just after 4:00pm, and yet again letting down the NQTs for not going for a drink with them, I thought at least I could try to get home before it got completely dark. I wanted to take my dog for a good run – her Friday treat and my temporary break from school work.

And tonight, I was not going to work till 1o!

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About W. S. Lien

Tweed Wearer - Country Lover - Teacher Researching Professionalism and Identity@Clare College, Cambridge - Keen Amateur Photographer - Devotee to Poppy my Labrador
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