Every year your timetable changes, but every September always has an unexpected change.
Sometimes it means swapping rooms because some other class is bigger or smaller, needs an external door, or needs to be on the ground floor. Mostly it involves moving blocks because students were offered a combination of GCSEs that means that everyone needs to move about, and if they can’t do that subject they will go to the school over the hill and do it. Because Claire was promised crochet and Spanish, GCSE Maths is now taught last thing on a Friday.
It feels that it changes the day before you’re due to start teaching. In July, I sometimes wonder if it is worth planning for next year, as the chances that you will actually be teaching your proposed timetable are so slight.
But sometimes it means picking up a different or completely new subject because there are not enough of one kind of students or too many of another.
A number of my colleagues from different schools were talking about it last week on twitter. One was complaining that is seems to be getting worse, that each year there are more and more disruptions and less and less join up between what you expect to deliver in July, and what you end up teaching in September. In the old days that sort of thing didn’t happen. I think his memory is at fault, one year we had to delay opening the school by a day because the timetables wouldn’t work.
For most though, the big gibbon of disruption this year was GCSE Maths and English.
If you ask a teacher ‘how many of next years students won’t have GCSE Maths grade C?” then they’ll look at last year’s intake and guess. Then you’ll guess the number of students that there might be next year and multiply their guess by your guess, and then are criticised when it is not actually be the number that appear in front of you at enrolment in September.
So you might have done all the careful planning, and the modelling, and all of a sudden the GCSE groups are full, and you need another teacher, you need someone to teach GCSE Maths. ‘There is that supply teacher I used last term, she was good, and she might want some additional’ ahh… sorry, she’s already been offered hours by the fancy school over the hill, with their new fancy building, windows that open, and sufficient equipment… And then we are back to trying to get Asun or Deba back into teaching Maths, having moved them both out in July to physics and PE, and if we can move them out of group C and free up that slot, then the chemist can deliver some of the general science material (though it will be the first time she has done it and the group starts on Tuesday), and then Tim can cover the GCSE teaching we need.
So I make all the changes and sort out the rooms, and get the students in the right rooms for the hearing loop and then you have to wait and see, and then collapse some groups and move some groups about and then that means Clare can’t do crochet after all, and her mother is on the board of governors and will be ever so disappointed…..