Saturday, May 22, 2004

undercutting professionalism or assisting a colleague?

There have been several interesting issues this week. I hope I can remember at least some of them.

A colleague of mine has had a rough run of late. Sickness, divorce, buying a house, unhelpful children, pressure at work, and others. All this has taken a toll on the self-esteem and confidence. Of late, when she has been off work sick, her students have begun to talk negatively about her and what they perceive as the lack of learning going on in her class. They are 'worried' about their upcoming exams and other assessment SACs. In expressing their concerns for their own work and achievement they are running her down - and they have begun doing this to other staff. Dilemma. Defending a colleague in this situation is fairly normal and most staff I'm sure would not even think twice about it. The problem is though, that some of her students have decided that she is the cause of their problems and seem intent on blaming her for their perceived lack of skills - knowledge. CW takes this pretty hard - with all the other that is is dealing with too - it's a heavy load.

We are doing out best to cover her classes when she's away - but her students are either using CW absence as an excuse not to work, or they are panicing and worried. Some have begun to ask other teachers for assistance and extra work to do. Some have even requested class changes!

KB and I have talked about it at some length, and are being very careful not to undermine CW professionalism by giving her students mixed messages about the work and how to approach it (the kids will often pick up on differences in advice we have given them, not understanding that there is often no one way of doing something). At the same time we need to be responsive and help those who need assistance - especially with upcoming exams etc.

Anyway, this will remain an ongoing issue.

I can't remember the other interesting issue ... at present anyway.

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