The Doldrums That Come From Work

This is the first full week of work we’ve had this term and its nearly destroying us.

A former colleague once described working at the school where I work as being “semi-retired”. I prefer to think of it as being “pretty damned spoiled”.

There are lots of days off–except in June–and lots of partial days. That’s especially true this term because we have entrance exams. During entrance exams we are, technically, not supposed to go to the school. In fact, last year, I had to go to school the night before entrance exams started and was met by barricades saying “keep the hell out”.

I snuck past the barricades and entered the old English department office. As soon as the door opened, one of the teachers immediately rushed over and watched me until I left. (Which only took about a minute). Instead, we stay home and prepare our end-of-year exams.

The problem with this school is that when work happens, especially this term we that 1) it’s all confusing and 2) we’ve stopped caring. The confusing part happens because different grades end at different times and different exams have different due dates and we end up teaching at the same time we are marking exams. For example, 10th and 11th grade end on February 23rd; 9th graders end on the 25th and 7th and 8th graders finish March 3rd.

Seniors finished in December but had to attend a couple classes in January and will graduate on March 14th. Confused? Welcome to my world.

Because of all of this, it’s very unusual to have a full week of work during the Winter term. The trouble is, we’ve become spoiled and are struggling through the week. It doesn’t help that we’ve got lots of extra work to do as we prepare exams and record listening.

It’s also hard because our students, in their heads, have already entered exam mode and couldn’t care less about our classes. They start reviewing other classes and finishing homework from other classes. The only good thing about this is I get to participate in my favorite sport: taking homework and giving it back a week later.


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