Thursday, February 17, 2005

Fragments and thoughts from the last few days...

Apathy Jack writes:

“I have hypochondria.”
“No, you have hyperactivity.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right... Hey, is that what ADHD stands for?”
“Yes, something something hyperactivity something. Are you even taking your medication?”


Staff meeting:

Form Teacher: “That little punk has lapsed back into his wagging in the second week of school – I want him out! I want him out of this school!”
Me: “Uh... His son was born yesterday.”
Form Teacher: “What?”
Me: “His son was born yesterday. You reckon we could cut him a week of slack?”

It’s an odd gray area to hear someone mention “the kid” and not know if they’re talking about the seventeen year old mother, the fifteen year old father, or the new born.


I’ve been keeping an eye on the cyclone in the Islands. See, one of my kids has gone back to Samoa this year.

A truly sweet girl, she is one of my favorites, and is almost single-handedly responsible for the weakening in my resolve to never have kids.

Sure, cyclones are bad news regardless, but every time I hear a weather report, her face flashes through my mind, and I now know why parents don’t let their daughters go out after dark.


I think I forgot to mention the new record we set. Old record for staff up and quitting on us was (a somewhat amateurish, in hindsight) six weeks.

My department being the biggest tumour in the middle of a pretty sick looking school, we started the year two English teachers short. Miraculously, we managed to find what looked like a halfway decent one. The afternoon before lessons started, the Principal rang him up and offered him the job.

He turned up the next day and taught his lessons. Three thirty, the bell rang, he walked down to the Principal’s office and resigned.

Give or take a few minutes; twenty-four and a half hours from being offered the job to running for the hills.

In my way, I’m proud of my little school...


To explain the above disjointed ramblings: NCEA has been in the news for the last few days. Finally, I could “blog” (which, speaking as an English teacher, isn’t even a noun, let alone an adjective – just for future reference) something I’m actually qualified to talk about for once. People seem to like my teaching stories, so surely the proles are slavering to hear my insider’s take on the current controversy.

But that hasn’t been taking up my time; the above things have.

Today I was harpooned (my school’s brutally honest nomenclature for asking you to cover someone else’s work) into a lunchtime duty. This meant that after I had spent the first half of lunch helping one of my students with an assessment, I got to leave my oversized biscuit untouched in my bag and rush off to play warden to detainees picking up rubbish.

And that’s the important stuff.

Sure, all of the NCEA stuff is awkward and damaging and embarrassing, and it raises a lot of questions: Is the NCEA system unworkable? Was it a mistake? Will it be revamped? Dropped altogether? Will heads roll for this, or will the mess be swept under the carpet just for the problems to occur again ad infinitum?

Doesn’t matter. Not to me, anyway.

Certainly, any decisions made will have a huge impact on my professional life (read: my life), but the Ministry will decide what it wants to do without asking me. Then it will tell me to do abide by its decision, and I’ll do so as best I can, just like happened when they introduced NCEA. So it doesn’t matter what I think of all the headlines.

What matters is that after I got rid of my detainees I spent what was my only fifteen minutes of free time today playing tag with a member of my old form class and making fun of her for being short.

She’s a bit messed up, and I haven’t had a chance to touch base with her so far this year. That’s what this was – a game, but also a reminder that there’s someone who she can come to when she needs someone to come to.

Sure, somebody’s got to rail against Ministry stupidity, and I may very well come up with a rant on this before too long, but for now, I have kids to worry about.

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