Meeting madness

July 22, 2006

Last term I was told that there were to be some special meetings for teachers working in my main curriculum area, part of some consultation about new unit standards.  Now at my school the job of organising and running meetings of this nature often falls on me for a few of the local secondaries, so several weeks ago I asked the relevant HOD, The Beskirted One, if that would be the case this time.  She assured me no, that there were teachers from the actual curriculum workgroup who would be running them in many of the clusters, including ours.  But I did need to attend and be generally helpful.  All well and good.

The meeting for my area is on Monday after school  Yesterday (Friday) I contacted the teacher who is supposed to be facilitating and organising the group to find out if he would like me to turn up early to help with the set-up or if there was anything else I could do to help.  It took a while to get hold of him, but when I did, guess what?

He’s not running the meeting.

I am.

Now there’s a pack for this meeting which I’ve seen.  Not read, just glanced through.  I’ve now printed it out and will be taking it home to familiarise myself with it over the weekend, and work out how I’m actually going to run this meeting.  That’s several hours of my precious time off that I’m never getting back.

To make it worse the teacher I had been told was running the meeting also hadn’t booked the room that had been advertised.  His understanding was that The Beskirted One (the HOD who also told me he was running the meeting) would take care of all those details herself.

I remind you again, this meeting is on Monday after school. 

Luckily I was able to get hold of the school hosting the meeting and check that the room was still available.  Some deity somewhere must have been smiling on me because it was free and the school in question was very accomodating.  Otherwise I would have been totally and utterly, without a doubt, completely, irrefutably, stuffed.

After school yesterday I ran into The Beskirted One.  I had been avoiding her because I was incandescent with rage about the whole thing and didn’t want to blow my cool with her.  She can get very nasty when cornered and I just didn’t want to have to deal with that on top of all of this extra work I suddenly have to complete double quick smart.

What I wanted to do was grab her by her ludicrous expensive hair cut and yank her overly made-up face with it’s hideous coral lipstick into her desk, which would no doubt have left an imprint of said lipstick, eyeshadow, blusher and foundation, on it’s shiny surface, because, unlike people who do actual work, the Beskirted One never has anything on her desk except effusive thank you cards from (demonstrably stupid) past students. 

I only did this in my head of course.  In reality I looked at her grimly and waited testily for an explanation.  

She acted as if she had done nothing wrong.  When I asked about the room booking she said dismissively “wasn’t my job.”  She didn’t say whose it was, but I am sure she will blame someone from the office.  My experience with the office staff  whenever I ask them to help me with room bookings or organising meetings, is that they have do it quickly and efficiently and keep me informed of their progress.  I’m sure if they thought they were doing the room booking for this then it would have been done.

I batted her lie about the room to one side and focused on the bigger issue of who was actually supposed to be running the meeting.  The Beskirted One told me that the other teacher was to run it, he knew he was to run it, she had discussed it with him and she had no idea why he thought I was running it.  She asked me why I hadn’t raised it with her directly, instead of sorting it out myself.

I didn’t say this to her but the reason was simple;  the Beskirted One has a major credibility problem.  She is a well known liar, using fabrication to avoid liability for anything.  She lies to your face, blatantly and without remorse.  And then you form the wrong impression, which you then act on (or fail to act on, as I did), and end up doing something quite other than what you ought to be. 

I preferred to try to sort it out myself because I just don’t trust The Beskirted One to give me the right information.  At least if I prepared myself to run the meeting, and organised the room booking, I knew I wouldn’t turn up on Monday afternoon to find myself in big big trouble.

What frustrates me the most is knowing that our Principal won’t care about any of the above.  For some reason she is incapable of seeing that The Beskirted One just takes the school for a ride.  She frequently disappears for a whole day of her release for no apparent reason, takes spurious leave, and generally manages to shirk a lot of her work onto others.  But the Principal just doesn’t see it. 

And I don’t know how to help her see, without getting in trouble myself…


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