Help me make it through the night

1st April 2005 at 01:00

So what's in a title? Cynic, linguist and insomniac that I am, I was perusing The TES in the dead of night when I reached the jobs section.

It is not a section I'm used to reading, as I'm nearing the end of a long and illustrious (steady!) career. But I was struck by the enthusiasm of schools' nomenclature. Deputies and heads of department? Nay; we are now vice-principal, assistant head (supporting learning), assistant head (learning opportunities), subject leader, transition teacher, lead practitioner, strategic manager, learning-zone manager.

And don't we just love this self-glorification? But what did these positions actually require? I tried to resist the cynicism acquired in a lifetime of teaching and read between the lines.

2.23 am:

* "a challenging but rewarding school" - bloody hard work, handle with care.

* "a unique opportunity for professional development" - we can see you coming.

* "committed, visionary and well-organised with a proven track-record of rapid improvement" - mustn't mind engineering dodgy data to perfect the picture. and sharpish like!

* "age less important than effectiveness" - we must be seen to be politically correct.

3.47 am:

* "to lead new initiatives on inclusion and behaviour" - hope you've got some ideas.

* "we are in a period of curriculum development" - oh bloody hell!

* "to establish RE as a discrete subject initially, then as a GCSE subject at KS4 (management allowance 1)" - must run the whole shooting match for peanuts.

* "precise role negotiable" - we don't know what we want.

5.10 am: Will I ever sleep?

* "promote inclusion pro-actively" - must include all pupils no matter what problems, and minimise all problems by means of "spin" so that staff who deal with challenging pupils don't smell a rat until it's too late.

* "no timetabled teaching commitment" - oh, the Grail beckons. Ubiquitous joy! A massive incentive!

* "pupils want a headteacher who is creative but sensible"? This one has me beaten. Suggestions on a postcard please.

5.32 am: I give up.

If you don't believe me, take a look in The TES. It's all there. Now where's that cocoa?

The writer is an assistant teacher of modern foreign languages at Hindley community high and formerly head of MFL in Wigan for 25 years. Are you a leader with a gripe? Write us a 400-word Sounding Off and get paid as you grumble. Send it to: susan.young@tes.co.uk

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