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This time of year is filled with uncertainty. New teachers have been appointed but only the interview panel has met them and colleagues you’ve become close friends with are moving on to other schools.
Classes and teaching loads for 2020 are yet to be finalised, staff office allocations are still a mystery and nobody is quite sure what that smell in one of the portables is but it’s definitely much worse on hot days.
Students definitely pick up on the change in atmosphere and start to push the boundaries — water fights, hats left at home and an increase in jostling in the line at the canteen.
“I have called this emergency assembly to remind everybody of the expectations we have of you in these last weeks of school. I should not be seeing rubbish in the yard, I should not be hearing swearing in the corridors and I should not be seeing students outside without hats on. This is not a laughing matter, Jeremy!”
Our principal glared menacingly at the students squirming on the floor of the gym. It had taken a full two minutes to get the pack to settle and quieten down. They can smell the long summer break. So can their teachers.
“I just want to remind staff that challenging and meaningful curriculum needs to be delivered right up until the last week. I have visited too many classrooms of late where I have seen movies being shown or spotted teachers on their laptops. We must set good examples for our students.
“I would also like to speak with any teachers who teach in the portable classroom; we are still trying to work out what the smell out there is and may need to move your classes.”
Our staff meeting was like a slightly more adult version of the assembly held earlier in the day. I always find it funny that schools often end up treating their staff a bit like their students. Luckily, no one has called my parents to come and collect me for poor behaviour, but I do have to sign in and must wear a hat on yard duty.
The final term does have its benefits. I think leadership knows that staff are struggling (and may not have used up their catering budget), as the frequency of free lunches and morning teas has started to increase.
I’m fully supportive of this type of incentive as there are some days that can only be survived with an increase in sugar levels and a plate to take back to class … and a classroom far, far away from the unexplained smell.
Maybe someone should be throwing maintenance some morning teas to help them with their investigations.
Christina Adams is a member of the Australian Education Union (Victoria) and a stand-up comedian
- Professional Learning