Friday, 29 May 2009

Half Term

1. Duke of Edinburgh Award Assessment weekend - Bronze do a two day 24km 14 hour hike with 2 nights camping. They have to carry all their kit (tent, food, clothes etc.) They are assessed on navigation, camp skills, team work etc. The Silver do a three day 48km 21 hour hike with three nights camping carrying a bit of extra kit. The whole hike was completed on the lovely North Suffolk Heritage coast around Minsmere and Aldburgh. My job was drive to a place usually on the beach and sit and read while the hikers rocked up showed me where they were on the map, which way they were going and any problems. The only downside is the sleeping on a church hall floor but one night we stayed in a fabulous art deco building that used to be a stuffed bird museum but is now a hall for disabled campers.

2. Went to see Andy Hamilton - a good comedian that was mainly funny and occasionally rambling. Why are maps like old people? All the important bits are in the folds.

3. Went to London with a friend. Saw a couple of shows, went to Buckingham Palace, accidentally directing a tourist in entirely the wrong direction. I must have a trusting face as people are always asking me to take photos or for directions. It is especially weird as I take really wonky pictures. Saw two shows. Wicked is the back story of The Wizard of Oz bout why the green faced witch became Wicked and was enjoyable although it was hard to hear the chorus as the music was too loud/ singers too quiet. Visually it was spectacular. Also saw Billy Elliott. based on the film of the same name, which was very good although contained a lot of swearing. Just before the interval they had to stop the performance as the actor playing Billy had a nose bleed and they had to call for one of the other actors (not quite a typical back-up as they have to have 5 child actors) It was a much more interesting story than I thought it would be as it was set in the time of the miners strike and had interesting political overtones and the singing was in a deeper key which I appreciate. (I would much rather listen to a tenor than a soprano). It is difficult to criticise someone who can dance in at least three styles but the second Billy was not a great solo singer and lacked a little confidence. So far very relaxed and chilled out.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Funny old time

Well all the coursework has been marked and moderated.

The recent trips have been executed

The Yr 11,12 and 13 leave this week (maybe a week late as the issue of study leave is controversial - good kids do use it wisely, less good kids play on their Wii)

All exam questions have been written and sent off

Can't seem to get excited about the cricket

Bored of the news. The Daily Telegraph made their point days ago and the recent revelations do nothing for the country. From now only people who have never taken home a pen from the office should be allowed to comment. A historian pointed out the the issue of expenses is probably the cleanest at any point in the hisory of parliament and this article seems to capture my point of view perfectly. When I work for the exam board they layout how much can be spent and then I spent that amount. If that means I don't have the cheapest meal or use the cheapest biro then so be it. Exam boards are paid for by people sitting exams which are schools so indirectly my lunch was paid for by the tax payer. Am I in the same boat?

I leave you with this picture from the latest field trip

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Took the Yr 7 to the farm.

Here are some pictures to make you ahhh.

When deadlines were deadlines

At the moment I am in the chase and capture phase. In an ideal world I would set a deadline for coursework and then anyone who did not meet it would score nought or lose 10% or something but that it is not how it works. Instead I find myself chasing around the school trying to find people who haven't handed some of it in. The reason is that if my results aren't good enough then I might be "supported" in lessons potentially after a while being considered incompetent and asked to leave. The head is under similar pressure to ensure that results are good so that Ofsted don't drop in.

The problem comes from the question "How well should a student do?"

Each student is given a target that takes a number of factors into account and this is the GCSE grade they have to reach. They are however wildly inconsistent and inaccurate so sometimes it is easy as the kid is far cleverer than their target and sometimes it is impossible.

It also seems to assume that students are going to logically progress at exactly the same rate and befall no tragedy. Famous examples includes the student who was arrested and spent 4 months on remand before coming back to lessons, the student who had glandular fever for a 6 months and the student who failed to turn up to the exam. I am not sure what I am supposed to do in these cases and I was fortunate that the others in the class made up for them.

So next week I will spend a couple of days chasing students for missing work. Can't we just assume I tried my hardest and students fully deserve whatever grade they got. God knows how they survive out in the big bad world.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Happy Star Wars Day

May the fourth be with you

Leicester v Cardiff - rugby penalty shoot out - a mixture of fascination and horror

Watch below, it has not happened in 25 years