Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Z is switched off

I biked merrily into town this lunchtime, observing how speedily I was bowling along.  It was only when I went over some bumps in the road and felt them quite joltily that I remembered that Phil pumped up my tyres recently - it really makes a difference.

I went in for the sports awards - quite a thing is made of it and it was very jolly.  I won't quite say inspiring, as I'm not sure that there's any sporting occasion that actually could inspire me, but of course I wouldn't ever say so except in the privacy of a blog.

As I mentioned in a comment this morning, I had an almost sleepless night.  Finally dropped off sometime after midnight and was awake a couple of minutes after 1 am, and that was it.  I finally got up around 2.30 and read for some time before starting to deal with emails and stuff.  It was as well that I got on with it early, as our electricity was being turned off all day.  Back in the winter storms, a tree came down onto power lines over the marsh and the repair made was temporary.  They've done a full job over several days, since April and this is the final one.  Really nice men and they always call round in person to remind us, which I think is exceptionally considerate.  I am always full of admiration for the men - surely nearly all of them are men? - who are out in dreadful weather, repairing electricity and telephone cables, dealing with floods and storm damage.  Many of them must have equal problems at home, but do their job to get things mended as soon as possible.  I sometimes grumble when the phone line information isn't helpful, but never at the people at the sharp end.

Anyway, I'd done a morning's paperwork by 8.40 so settled down for a half-hour nap, which seems to have kept me going the rest of the day.

After the awards, I came back to babysit as Dilly was going to a tutor training session put on by Norfolk Council.  Later, we'd just finished dinner when Al came through to say that her car had a puncture and could I go and babysit while he went to help - it was about 20 minutes drive away.  The children couldn't sleep, so I went and spoke sympathetically to them, but told them to rest quietly, even if it's too warm for sleep.  They were very good and didn't bother me at all.

The chaps weren't gone all that long, no more than an hour - the tyre had had a blow-out and so they'd put on the spare.  Dilly wasn't all that complimentary about the session - it was one of those where the documents just went up on the screen and the expert read them out.  Dilly said that she might just as well have been sent it all, and gained very little from turning up.  She said that she had been the only one there with experience of one-to-one tutoring on the (previous) government's scheme so had various practical questions and points to raise - sounds as if she made herself awkward!  And so she should, I do often find at governor training sessions that the advisors, experienced as I know they are, are completely surprised by any question that can't be reassuringly answered with a platitude.  I sometimes ask the awkward questions too.

For example a few years ago, we had several pupils sent to us who had been permanently excluded from other schools, sometimes for very bad behaviour.  It got to the stage that the then Head had brought the matter to the governors, who said that they were not willing to accept the latest pupil.  As there were spaces, the Local Authority overrode our decision.  So, the question I asked at the next relevant training sessions was "If governors know that a pupil has been excluded for violent behaviour, and accept that young person as a pupil and he or she then attacks another student or a teacher, could the person attacked sue the governors, on the grounds that they had knowingly admitted someone who had already been expelled for physical violence?"

In fact, I asked the same question of two different officers at different training sessions.  I didn't receive an answer - not a coherent one, anyway.  I gave them my own - that if the governors  say they are unwilling to accept that pupil, then presumably the onus is on the Local Education Authority for making the school accept him or her.

That wasn't all that well received, actually.  But it could hardly be denied.

7 comments:

Dave said...

I'm all for asking awkwad questions.

I have, however, decided I'm not having a Q&A session at the end of my lecture in September. Assuming, that is, that I actually finish writing it.

badgerdaddy said...

*gasp* Not even the Olympics inspires??

lom said...

This post brought back memories. I am so glad I no longer work in education

Roses said...

If in a training sessions, no one asks awkward questions or picks up on points for further explanation, I believe the experience is wasted. As you say, might as well just get the powerpoint presentation via e-mail.

As for the excluded pupil - good for you!

Roses said...

Sorry about the awful grammar this morning, brain not engaging.

63mago said...

In earlier days I was not ready to ask anything. Today I (only sometimes!) happily ask "the awkward question". It depends really on a lot of things. But what tickles me most is when I see people producing themselves, talking plain trallala about things I know they have not done themselves, like standing in front of a class of rowdies or doing security alone in the night ... sometimes I leave an emergency exit open for them, sometimes I do not. Am not good at venerating heroes.

Z said...

You've drafted it already though, Dave, right? final version is always best near the time so it's fresh.

Well, inspires me to do something, Badge? What Olympic sport do you suggest for me?

I didn't notice any awful grammar, Roses. Bear in mind I'm accustomed to Dave's blog-standard.

Well put, Mago, and hear hear.