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Saturday, 19 March 2011

The List

I'm the poor sod who organises relievers for our school, Nuova Lazio High School, in New Zealand.
I don't mean I arrange who pees where, I mean I attempt to co-ordinate demand for a person to cover a class where a teacher is absent with the personnel available.

Last year I focused purely on the people aspect and ignored the financial side, but seeing as we blew out our budget to the tune of $100,000 (we had $35,000 originally budgeted) I have to be more careful this year.

Most staff don't take days off without a very good reason, but some have a tendency to use any excuse to get out of teaching for a day. We're beginning to tighten up on people, and are now expecting to see doctor's certificates after 3 days off sick.

As I've mentioned before, in Scotland, where I trained and taught for 5 years, it was expected that ALL personal appointments, for whatever reason, would be outside normal teaching hours. Time-off was simply not granted.  All courses were also arranged to fall in the holidays, weekends and teacher-only days.

I have to go for a blood test next week, as part of my annual checkup, but I'll make sure that the appointment time does not interfere with my teaching duties.

I have a list of possible relievers I can use, some I have recruited, some I've inherited, and I try to match up their personalities and skills to the requirements of the classes needing cover.  Here is a list of many of our relieving teachers.  Names have been changed to protect identities.

Bead Man:  An ex-man of religion, knows exactly how he wants the pupils (and teachers) to behave.  He has a great attitude, and a lot of heart, but sometimes prefers to sit at his desk writing screeds of notes about the pupil's behaviour rather than actually teaching the set lesson.

Doctor Death:  Lives near me and has a PhD, demands to be referred to as Doctor ******* by pupils and staff.  Doesn't like our kids, refers to them (often to their faces) as scum, does not have good interpersonal skills. Always wears her sparkling white lab coat.  I only contact her as an absolute last resort.

Bouncy Aussie:  Just taken a year off to have another baby, coming back onto the active list next month.  She's not highly qualified, but actually attempts to teach the lessons given to her, and keeps the kids under good control. She knows most of them and their families, and she gets a lot of respect form the pupils, which helps a lot.

Scottish Auntie:  Been a reliever since the European landings.  Knows about 80% of the kids and their mums and dads and grannies and aunts and uncles and has taught most of them.  Little problems with the kids, sometimes veers away from the given lesson.  Health not so great at the moment, retirement appearing on the horizon.

Jolly Dancer: Only recently qualified, but my only question is why nobody has given her a permanent job. She's efficient, focused, polite to all, and has a great control over the kids, who respect her.  She carefully teaches what is given to her, and sometimes adds suitable extension work herself.  She lives a bit far away, and because of her skills she is much in demand by other local schools.  I use her every chance I get.

English Refugee:  Great qualifications, he can teach PE, Science, Maths and History, which makes him great for relieving.  He lives only 10 minutes from school, so he's a good choice for a last minute requirement.  Gets on well with kids and staff, does not put up with any sort of shit form the kids, who seem warily respectful.  Teaches most of the material given.

Young Beardie:  Newly qualified, has been on semi-continuous relief for the last 3 weeks.  He's getting better, and has developed good relationships with the kids.  He's also on the short list for a permanent job, being decided next week.  He takes some classes which are a bit challenging, and if he can cope with them, he wont have any problems in the future.

Beginning Teacher Armour.  Normal wear in Nuova Lazio High
There are more, but enough for now.

Just as an aside to all people connected to Nuova Lazio High.

We finished the proof reading of the reports last night.  Everyone was told to print out their report comments for our perusal, and all did.


1 PE Teacher:  Understandable; a close family member is really unwell, and she has a lot on her mind.

1 Maths teacher: Understandable; he's been off sick for two weeks, and his wife is also unwell.

Head of Art::  Two for one here.  Not only didn't print out the comments, did the Form Teacher comments in the wrong place.  Semi-Understandable; All Art teachers are a bit weird.  As are Drama and Music teachers.

Ringo:  Unacceptable.  No comments printed out.  Great impression for the staff from one of our leaders.

Says it all really.


  1. You didn't do a profile of the ex man of god (Gob), I was searching for that one!

  2. our first set of "reports" were done this week too. No comments, just a G for good, S for satisfactory, and C for cause for concern across a few areas (ie class work, homework, behaviour etc)
    Took me approximately 30 mins to finish all classes and I don't believe anyone will miss the deadline or cause anyone else any great deal of stress.
    Just saying.

  3. Richard [of RBB]; Bead Man.

    Fflur: I agree with your school's approach. Unfortunately I don't decide.

  4. My reports are like Fflurs. Except it is a 1,2,3, 4 system. A 2 is really bad and if you get a 3 or 4 then it is likely your career at the school is probably coming to an end! Took me about 20 mins to do mine as the majority are 1 for everything, with a couple of 2s.
    Just saying also. Sorry!

  5. Mine are also pretty much all G's with a couple of S's - this makes it even quicker cause you can just do the short cut - fill column with G thing. Just saying again, and maybe I shouldn't say anymore.

  6. PE teachers really need to be renamed Running and Jumping Teachers. More accurate description, I think.

    Good luck with not blowing your budget!

    Ali x

  7. HOW DID I MISS THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!???
    I was in a bit of a rush and read it as 'beard man', so I skipped over it. In future I will take more care - I promise. Please, don't punish me with extra relief!

    Alison, the main problem I have with PE teachers is they never wear proper clothes.
    Our head of ball kicking is called Weekendclothesatwork.

  8. Fflur: Copying and pasting a column of Gs is just so wrong.

    Ali X: You're right. Whenever they need a relief teacher, they provide a lesson plan. Most of their plans are as folows:
    1.Get Ball
    2. Kick ball
    3. Kick Kids (I made this one up)

    I'll try to keep within the budget, but that's not really my job. I just get the teacher's relievers. There are so many variables, flu, weather, family and Ringo.

    Richard [of RBB]: I'll let you off this time, but one more mistake and it's the PE department for you. Do you have a track suit that will fit?


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