Tuesday 6 September 2016
There are only 2 ½ weeks left of term, and I’m exhausted. The few grey hairs that I sported prior to term’s commencement have increased threefold at least. They’re bloody everywhere, and my brain keeps telling me that I’m too young to have so many grey hairs. Far, far too young. Apparently, no one bothered to tell my grey hairs that information so, like vermin, they’ve been multiplying. Sorry, got side tracked there. Where was I? Ah, yes . . .
2 ½ weeks of part time work left. Actually, the last two weeks will be full time work, so expect me to be fully nuts by the time term’s done. It hasn’t been an easy time. Far from it, in fact. Thankfully, the colleague that I’m sharing the workload with is not afraid of hard work, and has been doing her fair share. When you’re job-sharing, it’s important to have a colleague who steps up to the plate and hits the ball out of the park. I certainly hope that I’m considered to be doing my share . . . because it sure feels like I’ve been busting my hump for the whole term.
It has been a challenge, to say the least. First and foremost, it’s difficult for everyone when an employee goes on long service leave, and someone else is brought in to take over during that time. In this instance, the booger eaters have had two of us to contend with, and for the most part, I think we’ve all carried that off quite well – them and us. I believe that part of the reason it’s worked so well is that my colleague and I have similar styles of management, similarly high expectations of our charges, and a similar drive to get the booger eaters to the point they need to be at in order to be successful during the final term of the year. It has most definitely been a challenge.
Obstacles have appeared at least every week – gaps in learning, behaviour, attitudes, challenging new concepts to teach and learn, back-filling the gaps in learning and curriculum, stress we’ve placed on ourselves to push the booger eaters to succeed; you name it, we’ve faced it. And by ‘we’, I’m not only referring to my colleague and I, but also the booger eaters, and our supportive admin staff (read the boss and his deputy). If anyone on campus thought that we’d cruise through the term because we were down a few students, they were wrong. There has been no cruising, certainly not from my colleague and I.
We’ve kept in regular communication after every day. We’ve updated each other on how things went during the day, what lessons we got through, where we need to boost the booger eaters up, what needs to be covered in the curriculum during the week, who was having an off day, how problems arose and were resolved, how we feel we’re fairing ourselves, arranging the room, rearranging the room, seating plans, adapted seating plans, who really excelled at something we thought was going to be über-challenging, the booger eaters’ frustrations, our frustrations, meetings and discussions we’ve had with admin/parents/colleagues that pertain to our booger eaters, NAPLAN results, where we can make improvements, how we can get the booger eaters to improve . . . a constant challenge. I wanted to write ‘a constant battle’ because, at times, it has felt like a battle, and not necessarily one that we’ve been in a position to win.
The boss said in an early staff meeting that if you were feeling as though teaching the booger eaters was easy, you probably weren’t working hard enough; that it should be a challenge, that we should challenge ourselves. Holy sh!t, have we been challenged. In fact, I’m thinking that I don’t want to hear, use or read the word ‘challenge’ again after this post. Ever. I don’t think that I can fully express just how we’ve battled this term without discussing specific events and individuals, and that’s not going to happen. I will say, however, that if you think this job is easy, please, by all means, step into the class I’ve been in, work in there for a week, and then tell me exactly how easy it is. Actually, step into any class, work for a week, and tell me how you nailed it all with ease.
I’m looking forward to the holidays in 2 ½ weeks, but at the same time, I’m just a wee bit worried. There’s still so much that I want to teach the booger eaters before then, so much that I think they need to know, so much that they need to be able to cope with before the next term begins. However, I have to keep reminding myself that my colleague and I only have ten weeks with the booger eaters, and even though that might seem like a long time (and boy, have there been days where ten weeks is a bloody long time to be thinking about surviving), it’s still never going to be long enough for my colleague and I to cover everything we feel and know these booger eaters need. But hey, we still have 2 ½ weeks, and miracles do happen, allegedly.
So whilst there’s still time, we’ll push ourselves to ensure we leave the booger eaters in a better, more advanced position than where we all began the term . . . because that’s our job. And when the class teacher returns, she’ll push to ensure they finish the year in a better, more advanced position than when we left them. That’s what educators are supposed to do.
The finish line is getting closer, and becoming more tangible by the day. When term finishes and holidays are over, I’ll go back to relief teaching on a day by day basis. My grey hairs, however, won’t let me forget how I spent term three: being challenged at every turn.