Return of the tweet: guest post from @skychaserhigh79


Return of the tweet: guest post from @skychaserhigh79

Well, after a brief lapse, I have returned to Twitter…  What, no fanfare?  Granted I am not a prolific tweeter and, as I’ve mentioned before, am envious of those that can articulate points in so few characters…

I have discovered a worrying trend though.

I am concerned about the work life balance for many of my peers and colleagues.

I am astounded that the Govenator still believes teachers are work shy.

I am baffled by the diversity of promotion to ‘help’ teachers.

I am concerned about the quality of some such resources.

I am beginning lots of sentences with ‘I am…’

coopWe have returned to work today off the back of a three-day weekend (which the co-op worryingly stated was a third longer than normal?) which coincided with my return to Twitter.  I spent three fantastic days with my family, we went on long walks with the dog and ate ice-creams.  As you do.

Coming home and logging on to Twitter, I was amazed at the regularity of the tweets from the teaching profession, my timeline was full of regular rants, retweets, and statements all interspersed by time periods between five minutes to one hour.  One hour was the longest gap!  Err, why are so many teachers still thinking about school during their well-earned Bank Holiday?  This is, for me, a problem.  Having seen, first hand, the damage that the inability to switch off from the job can do, and reluctantly witnessed the loss of an outstanding (real sense, not OFSTED’s) teacher due to this, I was concerned.

Teaching, and training in particular, encourages martyrs, it is encouraged during training to spend as long as possible preparing and planning and marking and assessing…

‘I was up ‘till 1am getting my planning done..’

‘I finished at 1.30…’

I had an early night, I was done by 2am…’

Was a regular conversation I heard during my own four years at university.

Now it seems this has evolved onto Twitter…

Having checked my time line this morning, I found three separate teachers, in three different authorities had all tweeted about still planning and preparing at 1.00am.  This is ludicrous, how are they functioning correctly after so little sleep?  This is not healthy.  But we all are guilty, it is only very recently that I have been out on ‘a school night’ meeting a few pals to catch the game or even go to a gig.  For years my life was continually on hold until the weekend, or the next holiday.  I shudder when I recall the events I have missed due to feeling compelled to be back in my own house by mid-afternoon on a Sunday in order to ‘get sorted’ for school.

It simply isn’t a way to live.  Who has, or has heard someone say, ‘I use the first week to recover, enjoy four, then get sorted in the last week…’  Hands up, yep, I reckon everyone.

Don’t get me wrong.  This is commendable that people are so dedicated to the profession; that they want to share ideas and improve, although I fear that it is more out of necessity and expectation than desire.

It is very likely that I am wrong.  I often am.  But my own workload is becoming increasingly difficult to manage within my ‘acceptable working hours’.  For me, the problem seems to be that the support (authority) has the reasoning that, if you are doing ok, then you are fine and need no help.  If you are coping with all that is thrown at you then we’ll chuck some more… Help is only offered at breakdown or when you stamp your feet a little…

In December I embarked upon a project which would see a considerable amount of money spent on the redecoration of the school: carpets, wet areas, sinks, furniture and painting.  Having used the LA to source quotes, (well I do pay for it) we started looking at the best deals.  Convinced I could source cheaper, I invited a few companies in to quote independently.  Frustrated with the lack of commitment or urgency from the LA, I offered contracts.  The LA knew everything that I was doing, from December they had been informed of every company who came in, every quote was sent to them, every meeting had an LA rep present.  Last week I was informed that because I offered the contracts personally that I have assumed the role of ‘client’ and ‘project manager’ responsible for checking the competence of companies due to work on site, providing risk assessments and method statements for all work, making safe the asbestos around the school and independently checking the trade’s health and safety training, asbestos awareness and ‘competency’  Not only this, but I am now looking at being required to be ‘on site’ while the work is being done.  5/6 of the summer holidays. Yeah.

Had I known this in December, then the LA would have had a bollocking earlier and been made to take over.  Is it now too late?  Who knows?

The reason for not being told? ‘You seemed to have it under control.’  Well bloody bollocks to that.  What they meant was ‘we are severely understaffed, and if we can get him to take on the bulk of responsibility by not really giving him the full picture early on, then it will save us a lot of time and money, plus he’s already signed up for the ‘gold’ (sic) standard of support for another year so we have the £12k in the bank, screw him, he’ll do it, he’s new.’

Having had subsequent rants and apologies, I’m pretty sure this was not the case but it was how it felt.

Really the point I am (badly) trying to make is that as teachers, we do as we are told.  At school, with very few exceptions, I would imagine that we were the good boys and girls who listened carefully, worked hard and wanted to please.  I know I was.  Subsequently we were instilled with a feeling that if we didn’t succeed then we had to try harder, that failure was our fault.  I would never have told my parents that I got a C or a D in A levels course work or exams, that would have been my fault, not the teaching staff, yet now I miss my KS2 targets of 4b+ by 4%(one child) and I take the failure on board.  This is the attitude we have all brought to the profession, we do (pretty much) as we are told, and accept all responsibilities for failure of others.  Politicians know this.

On a lighter note, if anyone has any bright ideas about how I can get rid of a seagull that is currently camped out on my school’s roof, pecking and flying at windows, then please let me know…

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