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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Dark days

I think I'm going to have a hard time this winter.

This will be our fifth winter here, and the first one so far that I'm struggling with.

The days have been getting shorter and shorter, and it's coming up to the time of the year when we only have a few hours of light each day. Right now, it's 4.30 and the sun's already set. And it's going to get steadily darker and colder for the next six weeks.

It's so frustrating, having such a short daylight period. I would like to go for a bike ride now, for instance, but cycling through the dark is not terribly pleasant - one can't exactly appreciate the scenery. And during the work week, it's dark by the time I get home. I feel sorry for the lower sixth students; this will be the first year that they'll have to go home in the dark - college ends 45 minutes later than their schools did, and most of them - specially the ones from south London - have quite a trip home.


One plus about the current season is that it's not difficult to get up in time to see the sun rise. We went for a run yesterday morning; it was beautiful. Blue sky, sun (albeit sun with no heat in it). Slightly spoiled by the fact that I have a hacking cough, so had to stop every now and then to gasp and wheeze...

I do enjoy seeing the seasons change.

It's just the dark gets me down...

And I'm slightly stressed about some work issues. I don't have a single difficult student (touch wood), I'm on top of my prep, my marking is more or less under control - but I'm having minor difficulties with a colleague. I probably shouldn't write about it here, but he is behaving quite unprofessionally, and I don't know what, if anything, to do about it. The issue is, we share a class (each teach 50% of the contact sessions) and I found out that he's making undermining remarks about me to the class. They told me that he suggested to them that they play what he calls "teacher tennis" to see their behaviour would affect my teaching. This is something he mentioned to me before - where one side of the class is noisy, so the teacher focuses her attention on them, then the other side is noisy, so the teacher focuses there - etc etc - like a tennis game, back and forth. The student who told me this said "but it didn't work, you seemed to clock what was going on as soon as we started, and you sat down at the front of the class and started calling on individuals". Now, I have no recollection of this incident, and I'm grateful that my classroom management skills were obviously enough to nip it in the bud. But - how unprofessional of him to suggest such a thing to the class! And, how do I know what's he's going to say or do next? I have no idea how to deal with this - whether to say something to him, or just leave it, or tell someone else ... the particularly awkward thing is that he is the head of department. I have visions of, if I mention it to him, then him going back to the class and telling them not to let on next time he does something similar... I would never dream of talking about another teacher to a class, let alone suggesting ways to make their life difficult!


Six more weeks till Christmas break...


Jane_hates_Dick said...

That's just bizarre! What is his issue? I'm so sorry you have to deal with that sort of immaturity at work. Argh.

Anonymous said...

He is definitely threatened by your competence. Maybe try being extra friendly to him, to break through whatever perception of you he has built up in his mind.

Re the short days - it's so hard, I know. What are the nice parts? Homeliness, a cosy fire, winter stews, a cat on your lap, the Christmas lights, roast chestnuts on Oxford St. Okay, Polyanna has run out of ideas.

Fiona XX

Lisa said...

Oh my. What a jerk. I'm sorry you have to deal with that. I agree about the dark too. By 5:30 the sun has set and it's just the time I'd like to go out and do something.