Secret Teacher 5th Jan 2016 – The season of goodwill ends on training day

Well, that was quick. One minute you’re draping the tinsel over the whiteboard, amazed that, remarkably, you’ve made it to the end of term with at least a few of your faculties still roughly in working order; the next, you’re back in the staff room wondering what happened to those 2 weeks off you were looking forward to.

Such is the life of a teacher returning to work after the season of goodwill…and we are left under no illusions that particular season has run its course. Once the hollow-sounding “Happy New Year” has faded away, one looks around at the shuffling collection of bodies that have somehow dragged themselves from their beds back into work. Casual wear is the order of the day as the staff cling to any form of home comfort they can bring with them. Lots of warm, baggy jumpers.

“What do you lot do on training days?” I hear you ask. Well, in some schools you may sit patiently copying out dates into your diary for an hour or so as they are read out by management. I wish I was making that up. Other training days are genuinely useful, such as First Aid days which are redone every couple of years, or you might have to wrestle with some new software which will make your lives so much better – or, alternatively, sit & shake your head whilst conjuring up colourful descriptions of what you’ll do to your PC if it doesn’t work soon. Many training days are simply box-ticking exercises for management – they’ve heard a buzzword on a course, you see. The staff must be told, you see. Ofsted are looking for this, now, apparently.  

Management could always email us the notes to read and have a discussion about it sometime just before lunch leaving us free to spend the morning printing & preparing. Or, alternatively, they could show us many a PowerPoint and helpfully read it out to us word for word. Wish I was making that up too. Alas, your hard-earned taxes (and mine, too, regrettably) often go on paying us to sit through such things.

I firmly believe that the teacher training day – of which we have to have a set number each year, whether we or the public like them or not – is a tool created by some evil teacher-hating gremlin somewhere who wishes to rob us of any residual holiday cheer or, indeed, enthusiasm for starting the new term. Let me explain; rather than being able to jump straight back in to teach the kids, or to have a whole day, or at least most of it, to get everything prepared so the children of the nation can have really tip-top lessons, instead within 20 minutes of a training day holidays are a distant memory, our still-shattered minds wondering what happened.

So as you struggle to get your kids up (I genuinely miss ‘em, by the way) on the first day, rest assured, we feel their pain & then some.

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