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Saturday, 3 December 2011


I finished the timetable last night.

We are not a huge school, only having about 900 students.  We have about 60 staff, 9 faculties, about 90 different courses and 60 classrooms.  We were given strict constraints to work under.  Some classes had to run at the same time, some could not.  Some classes had to be physically adjacent to allow for student movement, some classes had to use specialised rooms (Tech, Food and ICT), some classes had to be set up to allow for vertical and lateral movement throughout the year.

We did it.  Our little group finished the main TT last week, and I've been fine-tuning it for the last 5 days. The last stage is assigning the classrooms, and in some ways, this has the potential to be the most volatile.  If I get it wrong, teacher A will be trooping between 9 different classrooms for the next year, never having a home to lay his weary head, while teacher B will be happily ensconced in his/her own little kingdom for the foreseeable future.

Tempers rise, emotions flare, absolute bitchy self-centered behaviour comes to the fore.  I've seen an experienced, respected teacher snarl at a junior because he now has to walk another 10 metres to a different classroom every other day as the junior has "taken his place"in his favourite room.

My other timetabling colleagues had been pre-occupied with other aspects of school life at this time of the year.  Exams, marking, reports, re-arranging some minuscule (but complex) area of the timetable to satisfy some rather odd requests, golf and social events.

I kept on working, and last night, at 19:12 I finished.  Every class assigned a room, every class a teacher.  Everyone in the school has an assigned pace to be for every minute of every day.  There will be some fine-tuning required, and I'm prepared for that, but the majority is done.

Or so I thought.

Just as I was leaving, I encountered the head of another faculty, who congratulated me/us on our results so far, and casually mentioned that she needed subjects C and D to run together on adjacent classrooms.


Nobody had told me about this.  I'll get back into the re-arrangement on Monday, which is also our cultural day, when we bring all the kids and staff of Nuova Lazio High School together in a mutual sneerfest of disparaging each others home cultures. 

The day after culture day

The Samoans will diss the Maori (but eat the Hangi), the Maori will dis the Samoans (but drink the Kava), the French will sneer at everyone, everyone else will disparage the French for being a cheese-eating bunch of surrender-monkeys. 

Ve vant your standt

The Germans will take over at least another 3 stands, the Scots simply get drunk and eat tinned Haggis (as bloody Biosecurity won't let us take in the "real stuff") the English do nothing, but do it very well.
The Welsh complain that everyone else cheated and the Irish want to know what Church you go to.  The Argentinians want to take over the Chatham Islands and declare it a new province.

The Mexicans want a siesta and some weird wrestling with El Creepo, the Netherlands wants to build some dikes against the incipient flooding, the Japanese just want to kill some whales (which makes some of our "larger" Pacific Island kids a bit nervous), Australia want to beat everyone else at whichever sport they choose (a long as there's plenty of prawns and beer) and  Romania want blood, but definitely no garlic,

I think I'll hang out in my wee office and just work away.

On a happier note, Ringo gave me the accolade of "New Professional of the Week" at yesterday's staff briefing.
Apart from being pissed off by being called a "New Professional" after 13 years of teaching, it was quite nice to get the applause of my colleagues, and of course the $5 drinkies IOU, redeemable at the next after school relaxation session.  He (Ringo) spoilt the effect a bit by using the word Quixotic in his description of my attributes.

Kiwi teachers, read and learn, or at least do some "Action Research"

This confused the Kiwi teachers.

The Brits (having been educated under a far wider and stricter regime) understood instantly (apart from the PE teachers who don't understand anything if it doesn't include a ball or sweat or blood)

I had to spend another hour explaining the meaning of the word to my Kiwi colleagues, as they trooped by my wee office.

To cap off a bloody long and hard day, at about 5:00 pm, the Principal told me that because of a drop in student numbers our finances are in a difficult state, and that I would be having a pay cut of $4000.

It just puts everything in perspective.


Sometimes I just want to go out and KILL something.

Don't get in my sights.

I'm accurate out to 800 metres.


  1. Thanks for following me on my journey. I know you probably won't admit it, but you must miss this beautiful part of the UK terribly! God's own coutry is what someone told us our first night. I think they were right! I am seriously thinking of packing up and going! How do you leave the kids though? A tough decision.

    My haggis experience was spectacular thanks!!!
    The Balvenie was not that cheap in Scotland £36. How much is it there?

    Stay in touch.

  2. Jings-a-michty what a crap end to the week. I hope it gets better over the weekend for you.

    I bet they wont make the 4k up next year when the numbers go back up either.....


  3. My you are tolerant. I would have given that head of other faculty a serve full of choice 'C' and 'D' words with a few 'F' ones for good measure.

  4. That's bad news, my Scottish friend. Better hide from that PE teacher on Monday too!

  5. Yonks: I enjoyed your journey. Yes I do miss the scenery, but as I'm typing this at 8:30 at night, wearing a T shirt and shorts, I DO NOT miss the Scottish climate.

    I also let my lovely and beloved daughter in Scotland, and 13,000 miles is a very long way.

    The Balvenie doesn't seem to appear on a ny list over here, but a bottle of Laphroig on normal sale is about $120 (about £60)

    P.S. I still dream about a good haggis, neeps and tatties.

    Alistair: Yes, you're right, it was a crap end to the week. AND I've run out of sigle malts, but Grouse is on 2 litres for $60 special (about £15 a litre bottle)so I'll probaly anesthetise myself over Saturday and Sunday. They might make the extra $4000 back next year,but I wouldn't bet on it.

    TWG: I was tmpted, but ETHNIC prioities overrule most other prioities. Get the picture?

    Richard [of RBB]: I never hide. I just look evil, and they tend to walk away.

  6. Some days it is better to just take a sick day ...

  7. Laoch of Chicago: Possibly, but as the bloke who sets the relief cover for anyone who is off work sick, I would be giving myself more work, and I've got a moral obligation to "do the right thing"

    BTW Here in NZ, they've a nice little phrase for taking a day of with a pretend illness; they call it "Throwing a Sickie"

  8. Not So Simply Single: Thanks for dropping by and leaving some words.

    I'm glad you found it funny, although I just hope it wasn't the bit about me getting a pay cut.

  9. TSB so sad to har Dancing Bear is taking away one of your MU's. Bastard! After all you hard work this year I would give you a BONUS!
    I think I should send up another bottle of whisky to u. It makes me sick to know they have done this to you. And BTW I had all my classes in different rooms at NHLS from one end of the campus to the other, and I never complained once! Why is it that experienced staff get so damm Terriitorial??

    Have noticed this at several schools I have worked in and find it highly unprofessional.

    Spennt a lovely afternoon at the races yesterday with hudbby's work crows and we had our own tent by the birdcage. Good fun and nice to talk to people other than teens and teachers. Even came out ahead in thte bettign stakes. So untraditioanlyy christmasy for a work do. Was a refreshing delight.
    Also watched the HIBS boys playing crcket in the middle of the track as that is also their sports ground. A good day.

  10. An award and a pay cut in the same day? That sucks.
    If you used the word "quixotic" in front of an American audience, a lot of them wouldn't know what it meant either. Myself, I had an idea of what it meant, but I had to look it up to make sure I was right.


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