Thank God It's Friday

14th June 1996 at 01:00
Monday: The start of another week and college is full of rumour and gossip following the announcement of restructuring. Speculation runs riot, and some colleagues seem to have the proposed new posts filled before the ink is dry. The view from the troops seems to be that management will suffer most, and that this is a well deserved comeuppance.

In this climate it's hard to carry on the usual round of teaching which includes yet another evening duty. This time it's a training session on access to higher education. I'm sure my students will enjoy the postmodernist CD-Rom which allows you to enter your requirements for university - down to the cheapest beer, best sex ratio, and proximity to home - but my suspicion is that it just picks institutions at random.

Tuesday: By this stage in the term everyone is tired, but I'm still surprised when one student appears close to losing consciousness at the front of the class.

A-level sociology - albeit revision - doesn't usually have this effect. It transpires that the guilty party is working the night shift for a credit card company. I make a mental note to check my bills more carefully in future.

Signs are that part-time work is detrimental to students' health and performance, due to the number of hours worked or because they're on some conveyor belt in the middle of the night when they should be fast asleep.

I cover for a GNVQ group and we have a disagreement as to when the lesson ends. We hit on the idea of a compromise which, perhaps, can be ticked off as a competence?

Wednesday: The hardest day of the week - six hours' teaching rounded off with an evening class, finishing at nine. Wednesdays feel like a production line and I wonder whether this is compatible with management's thinking about quality. The GNVQ group seem less argumentative and go when I say so. Perhaps they've no jobs to go to today.

An enjoyable evening class with a lively discussion about crime and punishment, marred only by my failure to find the video recorder. Lost rather than pinched, I hope. Back home by 10pm.

Thursday: Time off in lieu doesn't follow immediately, so I'm back at college feeling like those exploited students. Nothing like a bit of empathy.

Another day's teaching, and another evening duty tonight. This time we are interviewing for places on the nursery nursing programmes starting in September. Responsiveness and the marketplace mean we have to process and interview applicants within six weeks.

My favourite interviewee is the one who tells me she'd like to be a teacher, but not one of those teachers "who kids don't listen to".

Friday: Restructuring is having a sombre effect and it seems the repercussions may be widely felt. I finish my week with another training session on Records of Achievement. We are offered two models of a CV - the modern and the more traditional. Staff seem to prefer the traditional format. Change is a difficult thing. I leave early for the dentist. It's my kind of stress reliever these days.

The writer works in a FE college in the Midlands

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