Friday, March 9, 2012

Outstanding! (and workload!)

Yesterday was insanely complicated in many ways, simple in others, and was an excellent example of why the "Mum's Army" who tried to fight the strike should come in and do more than one day.  Oh yes, they should!

Yesterday started with the child, his friend, and I being at school for 7:45.  That's not so unusual, neither is the fact I'd marked books for over an hour already.

I printed out, photocopied, put books out and so on, ready for the children to appear.  I found the ukulele's, the t-shirts and the scarves.  I checked the visit trip risk assessment, collected the list of children who were going, and found out I had to take the instrumentalists as well.  No problem.

The children came in, I registered them, booked their dinners, sorted out who was coming with me, who wasn't and split the "who wasn't" into two groups to go to two different classes whilst I took half of their classes with me.  I had to make sure that this child didn't go into the class with that child, that the group dynamics for the special needs were good and not too volatile, and that the epi-pen went with this child, the behaviour book went with that child, and make allowances for the two children who are always late, so that they had classes to go to when the eventually pitched up.

The new lot of my group, who included my son, now got changed into their PE kit, and we went outside to find the Leicester Tiger man who was here to teach my children tag rugby.  We played that for a 30 mins, then raced the children back inside, got them changed into competition gear, and sorted out who needed which Ukulele, with which letter on the back, with which colour of scarf that needed to go round their neck and match the letter.

Oh, and I had to send around to get the instrumentalists to come down as well, check names and instruments, double check music, and make sure they had bows, rosin and so on.

Then I got them into two lines, walked them down to the church, and assembled them ready for the performance.  I reassured the nervous ones, settled the noisy ones, and pointed out parents to a couple of the children who were worried that their parent hadn't arrived.  Their music teacher then took over and I relaxed. Oh, and took my son to the toilet.  The only child who needed to go........  

The Ukulele group went to a competition yesterday.  It was a competition as far as they were concerned.  Actually, it was a festival with adjudication.  They were fantastic!  They were bright and tuneful and energetic and all three pieces of their work were wonderfully performed.    I know this.  I have the evidence for it.  Because when they were adjudicated they got an OUTSTANDING!  They had fantastic comments about their musicality, their performance skills and so on.  Only one outstanding was given over the morning, and they they are very rare.  It was a county music festival, and they stepped up to the mark.  They delivered.  My boy was enthusiastic, and gave a very good performance.  They all did.  They were OUTSTANDING!

We stayed for an extra hour so that one of the instrumentalists could do his bit and come back with us. The groups had done their bit, and the children wanted to see the double bass played, so we stayed until 12:45 and the next break.  We were complimented on what a lovely audience we had been (the parents had all left after the primary large groups section was over) and I was told how great the children were.  They were.

I marched the children back in time to get them changed, throw dinner down all our necks (Dinner starts at 12:15, so it was a bit of a rush, but it was the right thing to do for the children, so that was all good!) and head into the afternoon of R.E, swimming,  and further complications of who had kit, who didn't have kit, who should have had kit, and so on. I sent the children home, had a 20 minute conversation with a mother about her child, and then cleared up my room, ready to leave.  Then I went home, and planned and worked for part of the evening, before we discovered something else we needed to do that was more important, packed the bag for the weekend, and sorted the kitchen.

The thing is, that the only bit the Mum's Army will have seen, is the bit where I went to the competition (that wasn't a competition), sat the children down, sat down myself, watched the children play, and went back to the school.  I mean, I can see their point! How hard can that be?  I can kind of understand why the parents think that teaching is an easy job.  The bit they see is the easy bit.

This isn't a moaning or attacking post by the way.  I'd have loved to have had more parents to help, (plenty of them were there!) I'd love for more of them to get involved with school, to see what the children do, to get involved.  Not in a "Mum's Army we can do your job better than you," but just to appreciate what teachers do.  That lunch hour that I was with the children for, is unpaid.  My lunch always is unpaid.  But that's when groups and clubs and detentions are.  My time before 8:30 is unpaid - but when else would I have time to get everything ready for the adjudication?   That meeting with a mother was in unpaid time - I stop being paid at 3:30, but when else can I meet with a parent who is concerned about her child?

Not to mention weekend work......

If the government saw *all* that we do, if the public saw *all* that we do, then they'd be more appreciative.

Or maybe they wouldn't.  I don't know.  I'd like to think that they would, that they'd stop thinking their child's education happens all on it's own.

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