life: a constant roller coaster ride of effort and exhaustion

roller coaster

An early taste of winter arrived this morning as we woke to the sounds of strong winds amongst our forest of trees. Yesterday, unseasonal storms had brought a chill to the air and the first real thoughts of autumn or winter. Earlier rain showers had resulted in the postponement of our school’s cross country. No one was disappointed, except for all those teachers who developed a sudden illness and stayed home for the day who will now find out that they must suffer a relapse in a few weeks time!


Author visit success still resounding around the school, with a buzz amongst the attending students. Often the English department only brings in authors for the senior students, but it is often too late by then, we have lost them as creative readers. The author I invited spoke to year nine, when most let their reading habit fall. I hope it helps a couple resume theirs.


I played part of an audio recording of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars this week, and though many of the boys groaned when I introduced it, more than one remarked “that was nothing like I thought it would be” at the end. One student rushed to borrow a copy. Luckily a copy had just been returned as it is our number one book at the moment. For once a reading trend is a good one. I like the fact that Green does not dumb down his language. He challenges the reader to rise to his level, and does not lower the bar as too many authors are doing now. We are dumbing down our own children.


A meeting I hosted for a teacher librarian network went well. They were impressed by our library which is good – it is good to intimidate the opposition! However, by the time they left it meant I had worked a 12 hour day, so I mumbled hello to my family and disappeared into bed early.


Cross country postponed and chaos descended as we prepared for our Open Day on Sunday. We all have to front up and so that means a six day working week, which includes parent teacher interviews one night. Yeah, teachers have it so easy working 9-3 every day, and all those holidays…


The chaos resulted because no one tells anyone what is planned, and though we were all prepared, next thing we were overwhelmed by colleagues wanting this and that, moving in displays for which there was no room. Minerva became quite agitated and I had to calm her down, as she had really worked hard to clean shelves and tidy books, I mean we all know what kids are like in a library and the state of the shelves at times. So, Minerva had been on hands and knees cleaning and then they whack display boards in front of all the shelves or push the shelves (on wheels, what was thought a good idea is in fact a bad idea) thus disturbing the neat lines of books and bringing Minerva close to tears.


I told her “not our zoo, not our monkeys” in a slightly more managerial way, and confessed that I no longer have any expectations for planning or standards in the workplace. I just do my bit to the best of my ability and let the rest unravel. I told her to go home and forget about it and promised to stay to the end and throw my body across any more disturbances.


A severe storm warning was issued and an announcement told everyone to head for home, or batten down. The time predicted gave me enough time to make it home, or at least I thought, but I ended up pulling over in a truck stop when the storm started sooner than predicted and became too heavy to drive safely, and listened to an audio book for a few minutes. It was the best part of the day.


4 thoughts on “life: a constant roller coaster ride of effort and exhaustion

  1. The school I’m currently working at has an Open House night scheduled in a couple of weeks, and I don’t know whether I should be excited or filled with dread. Some teachers are very organized and have had the students planning and completing projects weeks in advance. Others however have done nothing since I began working with them, and I know already they are the ones who in a last-minute panic will throw a month’s worth of tasks at me and ask me to do everything in an hour. I do like your philosophy—I should stick “not our monkeys” on the sun visor of my car and look at it hard before entering the school grounds each morning. But some teachers manage to make things look like my fault, even if I’m the employee with the least amount of agency there.


    • If it is anything like the schools I have worked in, the “slackers” are well known, and no one ever blames the assistants and everyone knows they are only directed by teachers, they have no autonomy. If you are only there a day or so, there is no way you are accountable for anything.


      • This is a long-term assignment: I’m supposed to work at this particular school until the end of the school year. I thought it would be nice to know where I was working every morning: unfortunately, the longer I work there, the more I see of this particular school’s dark side. You’re probably right, the other teachers know which ones are hopelessly disorganized. If I make a single mistake however—it happens, I’m not a goddess!—some of them will hang it on me as proof I am to blame for all that is bad about their workplace. I have sworn I will not come back to this particular school next academic year. It reminds me too much of the drowning person who drags her rescuer down as she fights to stay afloat.


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