Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Lazy Teachers and Mercenary Vets

Teachers and vets have come in for a lot of stick in the press over the past few weeks. According to the Daily Rant, vets are money-grabbing insurance scammers, who prey on the sensitivities of distraught pet owners in order to rack up huge profits to fund their luxury lifestyles. They are painted as being unfeeling and uncaring. And teachers are spoilt public servants who don't know how lucky they are with their short hours, long holidays, privileged pension schemes and in-school benefits.

Well, I expect, as in any walk of life, in some cases this might be true. But here's a snapshot of a week in the life of a teacher (moi) and a vet (Andy)...

Andy, in his work as a charity vet, reached a cap on his salary several years ago, as he has reached the top of the pay-scale and can go no further unless he goes into private practice. Which he won't, because he wants to work for a charity. On Tuesday, he arrived home from work at 9 pm, having worked 2 and a half hours past his finish time operating on a dog that had decided, for whatever mad doggy reason, to eat 2 kilos of grass. Will Andy get paid for his overtime? No. He'll get lieu-time at some point, whenever it's convenient to the practice and if he remembers to record it in the lieu-time book, which sometimes he doesn't. He frequently works through his coffee breaks and returns from lunchbreaks early to help get the waiting list down. He spends many an evening reading up on veterinary procedures if he has a tricky op coming up. And it's not unknown for him to fret so much about a patient that he makes phone calls or trips to the practice in the evenings or weekends just to check-up on them personally.

I, a teacher, have pretty much finished my tutoring now, which means I am no longer being paid. However, in the last week I have written a scheme of work for 'A' level English literature which has taken about 3 solid days because although I am being paid to be in charge of it from September, the scheme is needed by Friday for an inspection by the new Academy bods. Also, I am running the Year 6 Induction Day next Tuesday. I shall be teaching three groups of 40 students each in three consecutive sessions. I don't know if I am being paid for this yet although someone mentioned something about some money being found from somewhere. It's all very vague. I have to write a 'fun, fun, fun' lesson plan full of 'fun, fun, fun' ideas (that'll be Drama, then!), gather and prepare resources and hope I have another adult in the class with me as I don't fancy the odds of me versus 120 11 year olds.

Over my unpaid summer, I am going to be reading and researching all the texts I am teaching for A level in September. I've been warned I'm unlikely to get my timetable before 1st September, so I've got to get to grips with all the other year groups, too, even though I might not be teaching them.

And no, I'm not going on strike tomorrow. I don't believe in strikes. I have one student to tutor first thing in the morning, and if the school want me to stay on and provide some cover for the rest of the day, then I shall.

Lazy teachers and mercenary vets? Absolutely.

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