Monday, 25 January 2010

Cross again

Really cross again today, not just because my year 11's had done no work and my year 8 class were incredibly noisy again, but because  my Head of Department asked me to stay after school to tidy the 6th form room for the open evening tonight.
Now you may think there is nothing wrong with this request, but let me just give you some background details:
I got my year 12's to tidy the photography 6th form room on Friday, (I am going to be in photography for open evening), I only teach year 12 art three times over 2 weeks, and I am not going to be in art for open evening.
I was annoyed and I think she could tell, I wanted to go home and bake some bread and have at least a bit of my life to myself before having to go back to school again, is that so unreasonable?
I am slightly worried now though because I chatted to the teacher who I share A Level photography with and he is also a deputy head and said how hard I was finding it all and how I found the kids horrible and wasn't coping well with the stress of GCSE and A Level and how I came to work to earn money and not for anything else.  He said that he would even come into work if he didn't get paid!!
Oh dear, is he going to think really badly of me now?
Oh dear, feeling really depressed about teaching again now.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Senior management fury

Or rather fury at senior management! They really messed up today, in my opinion. My head of department found out on Thursday in an email what we were supposed to me doing in our department meetings today, however she was not in school today due to being at a standardisation meeting so could not look up the information or really spend any time working out what we had to do. So the meeting began about half an hour late because she was trying to find out what to do (which meant I missed by XC meeting which was supposed to start at 4.00 but my head of department told me I had to email the head of XC and tell her I wouldn’t be there!). We had three sheets of paper, none of which made sense, one had instructions, and the other two had boxes that we were supposed to fill in. We read through it but didn't really understand it. My head of department tried to show up on the computer but the data we needed was not available. We were supposed to collate the pupils tracking grade compared to their target grade and find out if he were on or above target. But the spread sheet we were supposed to use did not have the pupils current attainment!! It was ridiculous; truly, we didn’t know what we were doing. However my head of department insisted that we should do something so we collated what we could from our recent tracking then I had to go through an excel document and look at every pupil who was underachieving (by looking down the list an comparing the two) and try to find some pattern to the people who were underachieving. It was a nightmare and probably a waste of time, although I did hear the deputy talking about OFSTED coming so I think they are panicking a bit.

On top of this today I also got told to go and take a bath fatty and shut up you stupid spastic.

Gosh what a lovely day!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

School trip

Trip to Tate Modern Art Gallery in London today, it went OK apart from some of the boys in my class shouting "bogies" in the quietest gallery spaces, another boy spilling his drink in the foyer, two of my girls going missing and another boy remembering he needed the toilet just as we were about to leave, but we all got back alive and in the same condition as when we left (all limbs in tact etc) is a little more tired. I am not entirely sure the pupils fully appreciated the art in the gallery as one boy commented that the work was "too simple". I think he felt that the work had not had enough skill on time put into it so he could not really appreciate it. This is a view which is strengthened through school art, as merit is given to work which has or at least appears to have taken a long time to produce, and involves a large element of skill. Of course this is not really how artists work in the real world. I might suggest next time that we visit another gallery such as The National Gallery, which contains a lot more Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite work, work which has had a lot of time and effort put into it and which is representational, so the children can almost instantly relate to it.
The part that I enjoyed of the trip was going to the books shop, the Tate Gallery has the most amazing book shop ever, so many art books and on so many different subject, I could spend hours in there, I only had about 10 minutes so I bought a note pad (to satisfy my note book fetish) and a book entitled "How to be an artist". The title is a little misleading really as of course I already know how to be an artist *smug* but I had a flick through and it had some really good things in it for generating ideas, might also be able to use it with school, it was £10.00 which was rather a lot but the note book was reduced from £10.00 to £2.00 so I felt justified in making the purchase considering the saving.
A pretty good day I suppose, it is supposed to snow tonight, so fingers crossed it is another day off tomorrow!!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Snow days

Lucky me, three days of school, bliss!! Can't tell you what a relief it has been not to have to go to school. Yet still I have a sense of impending doom because more than likely I will have to go to school on Monday.
The Standardisation was good, I chatted with some of the other teachers who were there and it was so good to talk to them. I told them how stressed I have been about my GCSE and A level classes, worrying about getting them a C or above, and they were so sympathetic it was lovely. I felt like I wasn't alone, a lot of them said that they were not in it because they wanted to be teachers, but because they wanted to be artists but needed the money. This rang so true with me and made me realise why I sometimes find it so hard to work with my Head of Department. She didn't come from a Fine art Background like so many of us art teachers did, she came from a Fashion background. She actually wanted to be a teacher, and not just for the subject but for the teaching. This is the total opposite to me, I went into teaching because I love art not because I love teaching. Its a very difficult situation. I have talked about this to me Head of Department because but she didn't understand at all and I just ended up making myself look lazy. But my frame of mind is work to live not live to work. I don't think she would agree with this.
When I was talking to the ladies at the Standardisation meeting they were so sympathetic at one moment I thought I was going to cry. I went all red and had to stop talking. They really were lovely and reminded me of the good side of teaching which is the holidays. They all said that they lived for the holidays. This was all so refreshing. At my school I feel like I am the only one who feels like this and that I am such a bad person for it.
Anyway today I had a phone call from my Head of Department, she was very cross because in one of my year 10 classes only 3 pupils were signed up to go on the art trip. She said that I should have been chasing them. I said that I had been reminding them in their lessons and that I didn't know why they were not going. She said that I should know why they are not going and that she needs to be able to rely on her staff. She wanted me to go into school which would be over an hours walk just so that I could phone parents. I asked her to email me the numbers. I would walk this far if I had to teach but not just to sit on the phone. She also said that she would now have to cancel one of the coaches because not enough pupils were going and the department would have to incur the cost.
I felt really awful after getting off the phone to her, really upset, like I was a totally useless person. I felt she wanted me to say sorry but I didn't feel like I had anything to be sorry for. Thinking back I didn't even see that class on the last week on term, and had missed a lot of lessons with them in the past due to sickness and meetings so it is no wonder I haven't been able to chase them that much.
I chatted to my husband about it after and he said that she should have been more organised and she should not have left it till the Friday before the trip (trip is on Tuesday) to find out who was going. He also said she should have checked before the holidays so that she could have cancelled the coach in good time.
I didn't feel much better after this though, just miserable and like I wanted to leave.
Can't leave though so I am stuck doing this for the next two years or however long it is before I can have a baby and get out of it.
The fact that I was at school till 6.00 working hard on Monday goes to show how much I had to do and how it is absolutely impossible to get everything done in the time given. It's truly ridiculous. There is always something else to be done and I never seem to be doing a good job because there is always something I haven't done or have forgotten. Its totally unrewarding because I never get thanked for anything. Not that I am doing it for the thanks, but just to have a day go by and know that I have done all my work and everything to my best ability would be lovely. Not to go home with a load of unfinished work and knowing that I didn't do my best job because I had to do a half job on everything to get it all done.

Well that's the rant over with. I just hope I can muster up the enthusiasm to perform some half decent lessons on Monday.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Back to reality

After a wonderful two weeks I am now back to reality.
People think it must be so great being a teacher because you get all those holidays, but honestly I was ill on the last week of term and just as I have got back to school my cold has finally gone. Literally I was ill for the whole of the holiday.
However in spite of this my mental state was certainly improved. Over the last two weeks I have felt normal, I have felt much more like myself. Not depressed or unhappy, not stressed out or constantly tired. It was truly bliss.
I did feel very anxious about going back yesterday, and rightfully so because it has been a very stressful day that didn't end till 6.00. A ten hour day!
When I got in I was instantly bombarded with things from my head of department and was quickly brought back to reality when I opened my diary to find that I have a standardisation meeting in London tomorrow, year 9, 10 and 11 tracking, that's four classes of tracking due in on Friday, year 9 parents evening next Wednesday and a trip to the Tate Modern next Thursday.
Its crazy, already I feel tense, under pressure and stressed. Not to mention the fact that only two pupils from a class of 24 completed any of their art coursework over the holidays. (Partly why I was at school till 6.00, phoning parents.)
After school we had a departmental meeting which seemed to go on forever, and I had to stay longer to discuss KS3 and KS4 which the other classroom teachers don't teach.
I am looking forward to the standardisation tomorrow, but not the traveling into London for it. All in all, not a good start to the year.