Real bad medicine for egos and feet

27th May 2005 at 01:00
Massaging each other's feet, pretending to be trains and line-dancing: there are worse horrors than a tedious PowerPoint presentation.

Teachers have revealed some of their worst experiences in the name of professional development on the TES online staffroom.

After being told to massage colleagues' feet, one teacher said the only thing she learned was not to go on a creative learning course again.

The teacher, who was made to line-dance on a residential course, said the occasion was completed with the arrival of 10 teacher-trainers from Germany who had come to see how senior staff were trained in the UK.

Another group of teachers were asked to form a line, hold on to the person in front and pretend to be a train as they chugged around the staffroom - an idea that presumably took the notion of training too literally.

To add injury to insult, teachers have complained that they are fleeced out of a free lunch with a "continental" working day from 8am to 1.30pm.

Others said their schools did not bother to turn the heating on for winter training days.

Bored teachers find subtle ways of taking revenge. One tells how staff were sent on a bonding day after their school was placed in special measures.

They all had to write compliments about their colleagues and stick them on their backs.

"All one member of senior management had on her back was 'nice scarf'!"

said one teacher.

Another recalled with a shudder the time he and his colleagues had been forced to stand up and sing a song to "take them out of their comfort zones". (It worked, he said.) One teacher's response to that spoke for them all: "If I want a day in my discomfort zone, I can spend it with Year 9, thanks. The taxpayer should be told."

Teachers' own tongue-in-cheek ideas for training days include forming a human pyramid to explore work-life balance in three dimensions.

Diary 21 www.tes.co.ukstaffroom

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