Friday, January 29, 2010

Our new college semester started this week. Yes, the last week in January, just when you’re at your lowest ebb. The winter chill still has us in its grip; we still waken to darkness; the Christmas jollities are all over; and the New Year resolutions – well, let’s not talk about them. And the garden is a horrible heap of brown goo.

Five of my classes ended last week. But every group has some tail-end-Charlies who somehow didn’t get themselves to college enough to finish one or more assessments. Or they did, but they didn’t quite complete them or didn’t pass or lost various relevant bits of paper or... And I can’t finish filling in my resulting documents till I’ve established if these t-e-Cs are actually going to come good.

So this week I have five new classes – 125 new names to learn and five programmes of study to make up. And five new registers to fill out and lots of marking to do for the 125 new students, who are at the honeymoon stage of their college careers and, having convinced themselves that they’re going to work hard this time, are still doing their homework and attending class assiduously. And five new rooms to teach in, all with subtly different variations on the equipment: interactive whiteboards and computers and projectors and DVD players. This is tough for a not-very-technical person who signed up to be a teacher in the days of paper and pens. And of course the very people you don’t want to look an idiot in front of, by failing to get the equipment to function, are these new students whom you’re trying to impress with your competence and wit.

And at the same time you can’t properly tidy away last semester’s stuff because the tail-end-Charlies keep drifting in, wanting to do the work that they didn’t get round to last semester.

And then there are the six classes who’re continuing from last semester who don’t realise that you have any particular reasons for being a collapsed heap.

Memo to self: next time, be a cat.

But it's the weekend!


  1. Phew, that's a lot to deal with. You love it though, don't you? My grandmother on my mother's side was a senior teacher at the German version of High School, the 'Gymnasium' (so was my mother, btw). She used to say that she wants to be reborn a man and become an astronaut. Hm.

  2. Just for the record, I have never asked for a late turn in, in my various college years. However, when in nursing school, I allowed myself to miss one class, per course, per term. A sanity thing, and one that helped me manage the stress.

    Can't imagine trying to remember 125 names per.

  3. Apart from that, it sounds like a fun job :)
    I've come to the conclusion that winter makes it harder for me to function. How about you?

  4. I second it: teaching is exhausting! :) And I only have to remember 23 names! :)

  5. Holy Cow Isabelle! I'm thinking you need to move your vacation up. I'm tired just reading that. This is why you think I get so much done -- you must collapse at the end of your day -- I still have enough energy to do something even if it's not much!

  6. I am daunted at the task you have just reading about it! Coming back as a cat sounds good to me. And I ended up calling everyone sweetie when I was teaching because I could never remember all the names. They were less than impressed.

  7. No, a dog! Then you get to sit around almost as much but occasionally get taken out for lovely walks in the country too.

    Lesley x

  8. Poor Isabelle! I agree about the technology increasing not reducing the stress, though I don't have much of it to worry about, fortunately. Here the February skiing holiday is two weeks, I think that's a good idea in this term, which can be so hard.

    Loved the reasons to like cats post!

  9. I don't know how you do it. I suppose it is all part of what you learn when you go through the years of teacher-training - how to make up 'programmes of study', how to assess and mark stuff, registers, how to remember names, and so on. My brain couldn't cope with all that, and that's why I ended up working in offices for 35 years. Boring but relatively easy.
    I might not have liked all my teachers at school, but I've always had great respect for the job they do. Especially these days, with some of the out-of-control ratbags you have to contend with. Maybe not you personally, but secondary school teachers must be angels or something...

  10. Anonymous2:15 am

    I for one love when you complain about your paid employment.. because I can sit her and be happy that someone else feels my pain. We are currently in day 3 of a snowed in holiday... which in someways is nice, but means my spring break is being eaten away.. and by April, I will need that break!

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