April 9, 2006

When someone isn’t at school, cover is organised for their classes.  Sometimes a reliever will be called in, sometimes there will be a reshuffle within the department (or wider), to make sure there is a teacher standing up the front ready to impart wisdom, compel learning, and control the nicely riotous mob. 

I’ve already posted about my intention to take leave soon, for two weeks at the end of term when I’ll be on a course.  What I haven’t mentioned is my frustrations about the organisation of cover for these measley two weeks.  I shall enumerate these for clarity, in no particular order:

1.  The Dumper took fright at any suggestion that she cover any of the very small number of classes that she has been asked to deal with.  Every time I’ve tried to speak to her about my planning and arrangements during the forthcoming fortnight she has shrieked loudly that she doesn’t want to hear about it, and looked at me with the kind of stare usually adopted by horses suffering in the Outback heat and faced by a venomous snake on a narrow path with a sheer 50 metre drop on one side and an implacable cliff face on the other.  The amount of work she has to do is negligible (due to my preparation, which takes into account her nature), but don’t let that stop her from feeling very put upon indeed.

2.  Another colleague (who I am yet to do a nasty profile of as I don’t usually have to encounter him much) has kept trying to put the work back onto me, despite an earlier agreement between him and the HOD about exactly what he would work on.  He seems to be in some form of denial about the fact that I won’t actually be there to take the classes.  It’s like magical elves will pop up from the scuffed carpet squares and do it all for him.  I’m guessing his denial will cease five minutes into the first class when he realises that his disdainful attitude towards my attempts to prepare him were rather ill-advised.  I wish I could be there to watch.

3.  The reliever who is picking up a lot of my other classes is ok, and I’ve worked with him before.  But he needs to stop charging in.  He’s just doing a few classes for a couple of weeks.  Trying to rewrite the curriculum and aggressively solve the problems of every student in my classes is not a good idea.  For a start it couldn’t be done even if he had two years, and for a second if he succeeds it will make me look bad.  I’m worried he’s going to end up exhausted but looks like he is going to have to work that out for himself.  I might leave him a nice note about work-life balance for one final attempt to warn him…

4.  I’m getting rather fed up from the abandonment attitude a few of my colleagues are taking towards my leave.  I’m going to be absent for two weeks.  This absence is to go on a course.  I am not exactly swanning off for a $100,000 cruise through the Mediterranean for several months, complete with a holiday fling with an attractive Italian, and a beautiful tan to make them all green with envy.  Frankly they can leave the snarky “lucky thing” comments at home.  Or perhaps they could get off their lazy arses, find some professional development that they want and can justify, and apply to the BOT for funding and leave. 

I should point out that I have not imposed this rearrangement of my work on these people – in fact it has been organised in conversation with my HOD and is quite commonplace.  I have been known to cover for others when they have been away for whatever reason, and I just accept it as part of my job from time to time.  Usually it is a great opportunity to face some new challenges, expand your knowledge, and also legitimately put off a whole lot of petty tasks that you are trying to avoid. 

Well, I look forward to coming back and finding out just how they got on… 


2 Responses to “Cover-ups”

  1. Dasher Says:

    You mean our cruise is off? 😉

    What’s the course you will be taking?

  2. Ventoletta Says:

    It´s in my favourite curriculum area so sorry I´m not going to share, due to my anonymous status. It was a very stimulating course though. 🙂

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