Daily Archives: April 24, 2007

Please avert your gaze while I swear

Oh bother it.

I’m feeling pretty fed up. I ought to go and sort the gerbils out (must remember to leave the bungalow next door tidy for the estate agent going in tomorrow – a fact which probably isn’t helping at the moment) but I reckon I’ll just blather a bit on my wiblog first and get things off my chest, not having anyone I can moan at without bursting into tears, and knowing I’m quite safe here as you won’t be able know unless a teardrop lands on the keyboard and electrocutes me forthwizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ha! Fooled you!

I think I’m more angry than anything, but having to suppress how angry I feel is diverting it into fedduptitude.

Two sources of anger, both work connected. One personal, one more general.

Personal first: I am feeling undervalued. This is combined with feeling guilty for being proud and needing to feel valued. But undervalued is the biggy. The thing is, I’m good at what I do. I know I am – when you’ve been teaching for eighteen years you get to know the things you do well and feel confident with and the things you’re hopeless at. Put me on a games field and ask me to teach PE and I’d be a total gibbering wreck within five minutes. Stick me in a reception class or a high school and I’d be whimpering for my mum within three. But ask me to teach “remedial” maths to middle school children and I’m in my element and have a good stock of approaches which have been proven (by test results, kids comments, parents comments) to improve their confidence and their ability and stop them fearing maths. I’ve honed my techniques and skills until I am pretty competant.
First I get back from compassionate leave to discover that they’ve moved me from my classroom to another one – one I don’t like at all and find difficult to teach in, seeing as it’s the corridor between four other classrooms, and which has no storage and is shared with two other teachers. I am told “There isn’t room for all the rubbish from your other classroom so we’ve just piled it up in a corner of the room for you to sort out”. Thanks. Eighteen years’ worth of accumulated maths resources, most of which I’ve bought myself because the budget for maths is so tight that I can’t even get eight A4 sheets of cardboard without begging for it and getting a cold reception (you may think I’m exaggerating here – I’m not!), all shoved into a huge pile in a corner of a room waiting for me to sort it out into a room with no storage. Needless to say, in the five weeks I’ve been back in work, I haven’t yet had chance to sort it… so what happens? On the last Friday of half term, when I was out all day on a school trip (voluntarily, as I am only paid to teach four lessons that day and two of those were my non-contact lessons for the week), they bundled everything up into ten bin bags and dumped it in my room to await me on my return after the holidays.
Add to this the fact that they have introduced a new “teaching approach” to my classes in my absence, one which I am “expected to continue”. Today the consultant (a lovely woman who’s great to work with) was in for the morning and I had to specify how I was going to use her expertise to improve my teaching. I tried to explain my difficulty to the Head – the new teaching approach is actually the approach I use anyway – even my teaching assistant had commented that it was no different at all. I suggested that there might be other teachers in the school who would benefit more from her time, especially as I was teaching all morning, and was told that this new method would stop the children I teach from being afraid of maths and hating number work… and the Head couldn’t see what a huge insult this was to me as their teacher. I know that what it was is that they’d lost their confidence a bit by having a series of supply teachers while I was off, but they’re certainly all involved, interested, and learning really well and I have to admit I resent being told they’re not!

I can’t be that good a teacher, mind. I’m sure it’s not really the done thing to have a row with your boss and then burst into tears in front of your Year sevens!

On top of that, I find myself wondering how long I can stay in a profession which is turning so sour, yet I can’t imagine doing anything different. I love what I do, working with the special needs kids and trying to enthuse them into learning some maths. But I don’t love the increasing swing in attitude where the announcement that a child is absent at the moment because their mother’s having a life-threatening operation provokes a discussion about “this child could get a level four in SATs so we need either to get him in for that week or get them to take him off roll so he doesn’t affect our statistics adversely – let’s write to the family and tell them”

I feel sick just typing it.