Tuesday, May 04, 2010


I'm feeling overworked and a bit like packing it in, today. First, yesterday's news.

A stranger was lurking with a clipboard in my classroom yesterday. "I'm just auditing," he said, by way of explanation. Just had to trust that he was official, and not about to filch my purse or my laptop from the office. He seemed congenial.

"Hope I don't have to move out of my room," I told him, as if he cared. "Think I'll have to retire if that's the case."
"Not to worry," said he. "Just an audit!" Yeah, whatever that is.

I did freak a bit though, and shared my paranoia with my office companion. "Not to worry, Jude." He didn't raise his eyes from his Age. He's used to me catastrophising.

Three-thirty, the same day, one of the Assistant Principals wanders into our rooms. "You've got to pack up all your things and clear out of your office and these rooms by Friday," he told us. And FARK said the crow, me.

The department has decided that our asbestos-y ceilings must be replaced. They're pulling the ceilings down and replacing them. Yes, I'm glad I'm being protected from asbestosis - hopefully I haven't picked it up in the last seven years that I've lived and breathed in my poisonous classroom and office. But I hate chaos. And this all comes in the middle of marking and cross-marking the first Creating and Presenting SAC, which I organise for all the year 12 teachers. I'm also on countdown to a well deserved short stint of Long Service Leave. Prior to departing for a bit of swanning along the Danube on a bike, I have to organise the whole faculty to operate smoothly during my brief absence: reports, exams, my senior students, my replacement teacher.

It's fraught, but I know I'll cope, despite a bit of pain between the shoulder blades.

Which leads me to what made me feel like opting out of this teaching lark altogether. At our staff meeting this afternoon, with the sky darkening, wind howling, trees thrashing the windows, IT guy told us, in his dulcet tones, about the Ultranet. Now I've rolled with all the changes incurred in secondary teaching since 1978, including the biggie: the introduction of VCE in 1991. I've adapted to the introduction of ICT when I can still remember us all oohing and aahing over a computer mouse in 1984, wondering whether it would ever catch on. But this whole expensive Ultranet thing really got up my wick.

It sounds as though the department wants us to be drones, accessible to parents at their convenience, not ours. Everything - curriculum, assessment records, comments on students' work - must be on line to allow parent scrutiny whenever.

I'm deeply concerned about teachers' rights and teachers' workload. It's just taking some of the spontaneous joy out of what has been a demanding but worthwhile career.

Hope I'm just negative because I've been up to my elbows in dust and cockroaches clearing out my office. Hope the Ultranet really does improve teaching and learning.

Time to connect with my old man and see what he's got planned for Europe. Lucky one of us has time to plan the trip.

1 comment:

Tyro said...

Dear FT,

Regarding your comments that no one reads your blog - I have just found it and it is so very interesting!

The interest comes from the fact that I'm completing a postgraduate qualification to teach and am searching for different teacher experiences to inform my own. Your narratives are very welcome in my world!

The only thing is, my observations have led me to become slightly depressed (and I don't use this term lightly) at the realities of teaching young people. What scares me most is that I am only beginning and my enthusiasm and spark is already dissipating!

mmmmmm. Anyway, thank you for sharing your experiences and perspectives. Much appreciated!