nimthiriel: (Default)
 Our school day is divided into 4 periods of 75min each. On a Thursday, I leave at the end of period 3 (start of lunch) and travel to my university for my weekly Physics lab.

This is the first time that I have not had to fill in for an absent teacher in period 3! This means I have Time to:
- Eat my lunch at a table instead of in the car
- Get to my car without running because I had to walk across the whole school to get to it
- double-check my preliminary lab work
- Pee

I feel so much better about today, and it's all because I have this one free period during which to not panic about being late!
nimthiriel: (Default)
So, this year I'm teaching the year 10 accellerated class, and I'm teaching them Further Maths (lowest maths stream in the Victorian system). Unfortuantely, this is still a class of 50 and in the team teaching program. Even more unfortunately, the Powers That Be decided that, because the accellerated kids are "good", they don't need 3 teachers so they dropped that down to 2. Most unfortunately, in my class only about 6 kids chose to do Further, so the split is completely and utterly uneven.

What's happened at the moment is that the other teacher has half the class, all Methods kids. I have the rest of the Methods kids and my Further kids. So, I'm having to go through two lots of notes each lesson. This is BLOODY HARD. I spoke to the teachers in charge of the Maths department about my situation, and they immediately decided that this is an impossible situation for me to be in and that there is no way that anyone could possibly do this for a term, let alone a whole year, and not collapse into a sobbing, useless heap.

So now I wait for them to come up with some sort of strategy to deal with it. I will ask my Further kids if they're willing to move into Maths Methods while there's still time, but if even one kid doesn't want to then it won't change anything.

Hopefully something can be thought of because I'm currently feeling like a victim of Administration (though it'll look bloody good on my resuméé!)

nimthiriel: (Pointy end)
Most annoying student: Dinda dopy, and plays even dumber than he is.
nimthiriel: (Pointy end)
I go back to work tomorrow. They holidays have been and gone, and I feel like I haven't done even half of the things I'd been planning.

I'm really nervous about it, actually. I'm trying not to fret about the fact that I don't think two people on one of my teams will get along at all, I'm trying not to fret about teaching a new subject which I've never done myself (Further Maths, which here in Australia is the lowest stream taken at the end of high school) or how we'll split that class, given there are two teachers instead of three and only about 6 students in my lot while the other 44 (unless there's been a lot of reshuffling) are meant to be with the other teacher.

I'm looking forward to the meetings tomorrow as a chance to catch up on sleep and hoping that the team planning meetings will go smoothly.

I'm hoping that my timetable won't involve horrors like my first year at this school did (3 days per fortnight in which I was teaching every period of the day, and all of them in the same week of the fortnight).

Yeah, I'm nervous.

Annoyed.

Dec. 19th, 2011 09:28 am
nimthiriel: (Default)
As someone who's needed to take a lot of sick leave and who gets very stressed, I can most definitely understand staff wanting to take time off. I can understand staff being more likely to take time off at the end of the year when it's less busy, because suddenly it's less critical to have everyone there.

BUT. This late in the year, we are also far less likely to have CRTs (Casual Relief Teachers) brought in, as teachers who take senior classes are freed up to fill in.

So, in the last week of the year, we have activities. The day is broken upinto three instead of four sessions. Staff are meant to be rostered for a total of three for the week, giving us plenty of time to sort out desks and things. Unfortunately, this is combined with the lack of CRTs, means that if you're away, a teacher who may have already planned out their free time will be taking over for you.

So I really think that, in the last week (as with days that fall next to long weekends), you should need to provide a medical certificate if you're away. It's not as tough this is a strenuous week, but it's a time when we're all hoping to wind down, unlike in the middle of the term when we all go full-pace and expect to go full-pace, and we expect to get that extra or in-lieu.

Now is a time when most of us are looking forward to having the majority of the week free to do our own thing, much more so than most weeks. So, even though it's not a strenuous week, I am NOT happy about suddenly having 4 sessions on instead of 3. I was looking forward to spending the entirity of today cleaning my desk, loading my car with big things to take home, and working on my performance review. With a catch-up with work friends I don't hang out with much during the busy times.

so, if it's the last week and you're not sick or don't have some sort of medical or dental appointment, please don't take a day off! It just puts a spanner in other people's works and gets them annoyed.
 


nimthiriel: (Hmph)
And so is everyone else, from what I can tell.

I read a couple of weeks ago that the MySchools website has shown private schools to perform better than government schools, even when socio-economic factors are taken into account.

I have no useful solution for this, but I do think this points out one aspect which doesn't correlate with results nearly as well as politicians would like us to think it does: Namely, how many weeks of the year schools run.

From what I can gather, private schools finished on the 10th of December and many of them had an extra week of holidays at some point during the year.. We're stuck here until the 22nd. We keep getting fed lines about how studnets MUST have x days at school each year, which was also why we had that stupid system where 3 of our 4 curriculum days happened before the kiddies went back to shcool (thankfully that's been ruled out from 2012). And yet, the schools that run fewer school days are outperforming us.

So CLEARLY, this is not the deciding factor. Clearly, getting an extra 3 weeks away from school will not actually do our students any harm at all. Clearly, I SHOULD NOT FRACKING BE HERE. Assessment is over. The exhaustiion around the place is obvious at a glance. We have tired teachers and tired students. We are all feeling unmotivated, and yet we're powering on.

Some classess are on to DVDs that are at least vaguely related to the subject, and some of us are frantically trying to do revision and consolidation (which most of them will forget by next year anyway). There is no point setting them holiday homework as we have no guarantee that we'll be teaching the same groups next year, so I can't really threaten to give them detention in their first week if it isn't done. It is utterly ridiculous.

I've emailed my local MP, the education miister for Victoria (Martin Dixon), and the federal education minster, Peter Garratt. If you are a teacher or know a teacher, please do the same. I'm tired of being a glorified babysitter.


nimthiriel: (Default)
I have introduced my school to NaNo WriMo :-) It's only a "pilot" this year and we only have a handful of kids who are interested in doing it, but it's a start!

I look forward to taking credit for some brilliant, successful authors in a few years' time ;-) I should probably put this on a CV...

Damn.

Aug. 21st, 2011 07:51 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
Taking up physics at university while still working was done with two goals in mind:

1) Gain a method in teaching physics to make me more useful and employable in a school setting
2) Provide me with an intellectual challenge

While part 2 is definitely happening, it's had one unfortunate side effect: It's made me realise just how little intellectual stimulation I've had over the past 3-ish years. I'm using brain muscles that I forgot that I had, and it feels REALLY GOOD. But it's highlighted my dissatisfaction with my job. So far, the only thing that I feel has been "challenged" in this profession is my patience.

Teaching kids who don't give a damn is extremely unsatisfying, and I've had this problem since my first year out, when I encountered year 10 kids who insisted they "just want a formula" for the total surface area of every concievable 3D shape. No matter how much I tried to explain that they really should just find the surfaces, find the areas and add them up, they continued to repeat "I just want a formula". Had I been writing the exam, I'd have put in a doosey of a shape just to mess with them.

But this is the kind of attitude I'm fed up with. They don't want to understand, they just want the tricks to get them through the test and then they want to forget they'd ever done the topic. Until they have to do it again the following year.

I'm tired of dealing with kids who, in year 8, don't know ANY of their times tables except the 2s (along with the 5s, if you're lucky), and who don't realise (after having had it explained about a dozen times) that you can cancel the zeros when doing something like 500/1000. They don't even really understand that it's division. They can tell me that the line in the middle means "divide by", but only when I prompt them. It just doesn't occur to them on their own because they don't really "get" fractions, and they don't really seem to care to. They just want to know the "trick".

I'm tired of it. And that's not even mentioning the behavioural shit I have to deal with on a daily basis, and it's always the same shit from the same kids.

I may end up teaching year 11 maths next year which would mean kids who are interested, and hopefully that will be challenging enough (and hopefully the maths will be challenging enough), but at this stage I feel as though I'm quickly losing my passion for teaching and it seems mainly to be due to teaching dumb shits in years 7-10.

I'm seriously longing for academia. I want to go into research. I want the grades to go into research. But first I need that physics major, and that would require taking considerable time off. So all this may have to wait a number of years. I just feel like I need something to change in a big way because I'm starting to really dislike what I have to do every. Single. Fucking. Day. And that's not a good thing.

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