So we start a new year. It is a bizarre time of year for us teaching folk. We have the unusual feeling of being refreshed and slightly more prepared for our jobs than could be said for any other point in the year. However, as we all know this is a fleeting glimpse of normality before the freewheeling madness of teaching swallows us whole.
This is how I predict my year will go.
September - All seems normal. Lessons are planned properly and marking is kept up to date. The tutor group seem to have retained their well-adjusted outlook on life. There is still some sunshine to make one feel happy and I will drive to work happy in my heart singing along to some kind of jolly, undemanding pop-punk. All is well.
October - Workload is inexplicably rising despite hitherto unknown levels of organisation. I seem to be working later into the evening. However, there is nothing to worry about as all is being managed and I've really got to like some of my new classes. Working hard but happy.
November - Having decided that I could take on more responsibility I am now head of a new initiative called 'Calisthenics and Learning' where I run into classes at random and instigate a brief work out. I am not being paid anymore and all of my free periods are now fully booked. I have been told that this new responsibility will lead to promotion. In deference to my now super-healthy career, I am consuming far more in the way of tobacco and alcohol. Marking takes place between the hours of 8-9pm.
December - Must. Have. Christmas. But no - still much to do. Have worked out how 'Calisthenics and Learning' or 'CaL' can be mapped against Bloom's taxonomy. Have implemented a 'CaL Across the Curriculum' plan and given my soul to the adoption of 'CaL'. Older staff members think I'm a jumped up tit for telling them how to teach. I am bone tired. Marking is a wistful dream and lesson planning involves 'making it up as I go along'. I've hilariously agreed to take part in the school panto. Unfortunately the drama teacher who is in charge sits somewhat to the right of Hitler and I'm now having, per week, fourteen hours of singing lessons, a three hour 'method acting' class and two hours of stage combat instruction. I have two lines in the whole production.
January - I ate, drank and smoked too much over the holidays. The upshot is that despite promising, nay, swearing, to catch up on all the marking it hasn't been done. My lessons are a mixture of reading textbooks and comedic improv. I am now imbibing fourteen litres of coffee a day in an attempt to prevent me lapsing into a coma. 'CaL' has yet to lead to promotion and is taking up more of my time. Parents are starting to complain that their sprog's exercise book hasn't been marked in three months. I agree that this isn't acceptable and take in all exercise books to mark over the weekend.
February - The most miserable month of the year. All the shittyness of winter with no pagan festival to look forward too. I have finally been promoted. I have been given £12.50 a day to coordinate the entire 'CaL' initiative. Yay. My girlfriend suggests that working until three A.M. is madness for £12.50 extra a day. I agree but know that 'it'll look good on my C.V.'.
March - The exercise books I collected in January are still in the boot of my car. They have actually started to compost and I now have a number of rare orchids growing there. Whilst the botanical world marvel at my green-fingers, parents have actually started to picket the school asking for my resignation.
April - In a particularly nonchalant way OFSTED announce that they are coming to inspect. The school erupts into a fiesta of activity. I have to destroy the orchid garden in my car and actually mark the books. Unbeknown to me, the boot of my car was designated a 'Site of Specialist Scientific Interest' in early March. My actions have been noted by the UN and my trial for ecological destruction starts in late August. OFSTED observe my lesson and declare me a 'Satisfactory Teacher With Good Aspects' at which point I nod and agree as only an exhausted man can. At this point I am single handedly keeping the British tobacco industry alive.
May - General Election time. The Conservatives gain power and 'CaL' is seen as a ridiculous waste of time and resources. My pay is cut but as this happens inflation sky rockets. I am now, day-to-day, worse off than my paper boy. On the plus side, Year 11 have gone. I now have three extra free periods a week. All are taken up with pointless meetings on how to develop the Virtual Learning Environment. We are currently working through the knotty problem of which font to use.
June - The sun shines. I see none of it as I have been given the task of reconciling the 'Abadi Condensed MT' and the 'Ariel Black' camps. This involves countless Gandhi-esque meetings where I attempt to prevent all out warfare in the staffroom. The older teachers think I'm a jumped up tit for telling them how to argue. The pupils have decided that asking for feedback on written work is a lost cause and so begin to work out a plan for peace in the middle east. A new political party has been set up by concerned locals. The core tenant of their ideology is my resignation and more 'bobbies on the beat'.
July - I crawl to the end of the year like an alcoholic crawls to a pub. My lungs are now a rich source of fossil fuels due to the vast amount of tar that has condensed there (not surprising as I am now sponsored by Marlboro and consume the entire Virginian crop). I finally get those exercise books marked. The end of the year arrives and I sleep solidly for a week.
1st week of August - I'm bored...