Next week is our Camp Week.
No, I'm not referring to the whole of Nuova Lazio High School running around doing Kenneth Williams impersonations.
I'm referring to our youngest pupils, the Year 9s (age about 12) going on a week-long camp in the New Zealand bush.
At first glance, it seems a good idea.
Get the kids out, experiencing Nature.
Put them through enjoyable bonding exercises. ("Hoani, go and hug that tree for 3 hours." "Bond boy, bond")
Let them sleep under the stars, experiencing that unique feeling of dread when something goes creeping over their sleeping bag (or even worse, inside the sleeping bag)
|What thieving Bastard has stolen my f*cking tent?|
Many staff will be out with them, a ratio of about 1 teacher for 15 kids.
We will have about 16 teachers out with them all week, that means the poor sods who are left in school have to cover all of their senior classes.
I did a quick calculation last night.
On the first day alone, I'll need to arrange cover for about 40 hours of teaching. The numbers are still a bit vague, because NOBODY WILL TELL ME WHO IS ACTUALLY GOING OUT WITH THE KIDS.
I'm supposed to plan all the relief and arrange for the relieving teachers to come in, but how in all the Eight Hells of Henry's Hated Hallucinations can I plan when I don't have exact figures.
AND it gets worse.
For the last two days of Camp Week, there is taking place in Wellington a hui (a meeting, often of protest) regarding the failures (and why it's all the teacher's fault) of Maori boys in our education system.
That means another 7 - 9 teachers out, unavailable for their classes.
This means that we'll have as many teachers away from school as left behind to actually teach the f*cking kids, which is I believe, our main f*cking job.
I'll be phoning every relieving teacher on my list trying to get the classes covered.
Many of our relievers are retired (or semi-retired) former colleagues or ex-teachers from other schools, with a smattering of newly qualified teachers who don't yet have a full time contract, and a couple of immigrants, qualified, but not quite yet in tune with NZ customs and practices.
I think I'll need them all to keep the classes covered, even the few that I drag out only for emergencies. I must remember to buy some extra Zimmer polish for the poor souls. But even if I'm unable to cover a class with these guys, I'll never stoop to actually asking Dr. Death to come in and relieve.
This is a highly qualified lady, with a Ph.D. in a scientific discipline, who always wears a white lab coat, and insists on being addressed by her title of Doctor. This doesn't go down to well with the generally easy-going and egalitarian kiwis, but that's not why I don't ask her to do some relieving.
It's because she used to tell our kids that they were the scum of the Earth, and that they would never amount to anything.
Not really the attitude one seeks in an inspirational educator.
I just hope that I can cover all the classes.
All it needs now is just 1 or 2 of my colleagues to go sick, and the resultant chaos my just overwhelm us.
I predict disaster.
There is however, one shining light of promise in the whole thing.
Ringo will be away for the hui.