Before anyone thinks this refers to me, they're wrong.
I admit I'm sometimes thought a little eccentric, in a loveable yet lightly scary manner, but strange?
I don't think so.
Regular readers, if any there be, will know some of the backstory, but I think I'd better start at the beginning, especially as there's been rather a long gap between posts. Actually, seeing it's been 7 months, historic may be a better adjective.
|7 months is too long|
I work in Nuova Lazio High School, in a small town in New Zealand, fairly near our capital city, Wellington.
Through a series of mishaps and curious coincidences, my job here is now a strange hybrid of Head of Faculty (computing), coordinator of Relief, and Deputy Principal, but they call me Senior Teacher. (The kids call me the evil, four-eyed, bald, Scots bastard, but that's another story) What this title means nobody really knows, but I do all the work I had before, plus all of the duties that the late and dearly missed Deputy Principal named Ringo used to perform.
|The creature known as Ringo|
I've been coordinating the relief teachers for almost 4 years now, and I actually enjoy the work. It's quite a challenge assigning a relief teacher to a class where:
a) they understand the special aspects of the curriculum.
b) they can appreciate the special nature of our kids and really get them to learn.
c) they won't be eaten alive by our kids, or reduced to a quivering wreck, vainly trying to hide in the stationary cupboard while the kids do a Haka outside
|It's no use. They know you're in there, and they'll still be there when you come out.|
But some of you non-pedagogues may be wondering why we need a relief teacher at all.
I can hear you saying "But the kids want to learn" "Why can't you just give them the books and let them get on with it?"
|You remember this|
It's such comments like that (similar to the ones made by our own dear Minister of Education) that makes it clear that civilians have absolutely no idea what a modern classroom environment is like.
|We experience this|
They need control, every minute of every hour. They need work, tailored to their (sometimes miniscule) intelligence, cultural idiosyncrasies and work ethic to be presented in an engaging and (may the good Lord have mercy) enjoyable manner. Think back to when your own schooldays.
I'll bet that while many, or even some of you may have enjoyed school, did your teachers try to make it FUN? We were there to LEARN for goodness sake, not go to a bloody circus.
|You're not here to have fun for f*ck's sake|
Anyway, I digress.
The other aspect of my relief coordinator job is to input the reason for a teacher's absence, for the pay/leave system, and this is where I find some things a little difficult.
Quite frankly some of the reason given are not really what I, as a UK trained teacher, would accept.
In the UK you do not take time of for Dentists, Doctors, Vets or nearly anything. It was expected as a professional that you would minimise your absences from your appointed classes, while over here in NZ I get excuses like:
|Aww, poor boy, has poor boy sprained his bloody fingernail?|
Get to bloody work.
- I have to take my dog to the vet.
- I have to bury the cat.
- I've got a sprained fingernail.
- My Gerbil isn't very well
- My neighbour's heating has broken and they have to stay with me.
- Last night's earthquake caused a landslip onto our driveway, and there's about 25 tonnes of mud and clay between me and school.
- My daughter is taking her driving test.
- My finger that got broken playing rugby 8 months ago needs to be seen by the consultant sometime during 9 am to 4 pm
- My Gran died.
- My Auntie died
- My Uncle died.
- My son/daughter isn't feeling very well.
All except one of these were actual reasons/excuses given during the last year, which one is a fake? (See bottom of page)
By the way, for 9-11 above, if the family/teacher involved is Maori, then it becomes a little vague as to how much time is allowed off for a Tangihanga, from 1 day to about (I think) 1 week.
One teacher has had 3 deaths in 1 year, which is either an unfortunate coincidence or she's really got to much access to the Sodium Cyanide from the science department.
There was one other exceptional reason given this year, when a teacher complained of :
- Feeling a bit tired.
- Had a stiff neck.
- Face flushed and feverish.
- Eyes began to swell and protrude.
- Tingling and pain all over her body.
- Black fluid began to exude from her eyes and her vision blurred to the point of uselessness.
We of course suspected the worst.
We were sure it was another case of mass possession by 9RT.
An exorcism for the teacher was speedily arranged and the usual suspects in 9RT were showered with holy water and sprinkled with Garlic salt. The doctors suspected a viral infection, but we knew better.
|Bad sign. Very, very bad sign|
Ever since we found that crucified possum we have all known what to expect. It was the melted remains of the black candles which really gave it away.
Oh bugger, I've run out of time, so I'll have to continue this later.
THE NEXT THRILLING INSTALLMENT:
- The Strange Scotsman arrives in a peculiar manner
- The sight of the highly polished shoes
- The case of the Bosnian Trench Clearance.
|No, No, not that type of trench.|