So………….. what has retirement been like so far?
* It took it’s time, but the Yellow Fever innoculation I had the other Friday (a mild form of the virus that would makes you mildly ill for a short while, similar to a cold) bit with a vengeance!!! Headeaches, body aches, stomach aches, exhaustion and a total lack of appetite with regular bouts of sweats followed by shivering. If that was the mild form, I don’t want the real Macoy. It certainly spoilt this week.
* I used my Satmap on Friday. Roger and I walked 10.5km of the Jurassic Way (it passes our garden). We walked to Welford, where Sue picked us up and transported us back home. We had lunch in a pub in Sibbertoft. I still wasn’t feeling great and I am afraid I paid for it on Saturday. However, it was a great opportunity to test out the Satmap and I am of the opinion that it is a brilliant bit of kit.
* On Friday night we went to see ‘Rendition’, an excellent film about torturing terrorists (or not).
I suppose I now have time to cogitate at length:
Every year we have to inflict SAT’s onto our work force (children). It gives them something to do (to worry about) and allows them to be measured so they are under no doubt as to their usefulness to society. We are all aware that many/most schools concentrate on pushing the importance of SAT’s to their workforce so that they DO WELL and as a consequence the school shines brighter. However, I have never played that game. I have not presented my classes with endless past papers, supplied homework based on SAT’s questions for terms in advance. In fact when they have asked when are they getting their tests, I was very vague and just said ‘sometime’. I didn’t worry about them (comes with age, experience and common sense) and hoped the children wouldn’t as well. I had no anxious children or parents and no tears/sickness. The children had no idea they were about to sit down to the tests until they sat down for them. I believe I gave the children time to enjoy their education without ‘The Test’ hanging over them. And, what about their results? They were all within norms for their age. A few did slightly better and a few did slightly worse, but most did exactly as expected and predicted (AMAZING). Now I confess …….. This year I did it differently. As this was going to be my last year I quite naturally wanted to go out on a high and as I was only going to teach the class from Christmas onwards, I didn’t want to leave things to chance. So …… from February onwards I presented them with past SAT’s papers, gave them endless homework questions based on SAT’s type problems and practised sitting a SAT’s paper over and over again. I didn’t find teaching much fun and I don’t think the children did, but they didn’t complain as they were absolutely sure of how important they were. The curriculum presented wasn’t ‘Broad and balanced!’ As you will know the results were late in coming back to schools (incompetence by the greater authorities). We got ours on the day before we broke up for the summer term, and what about my classes results? One examiner wrote on one of the papers that he had never ever marked a test paper with no errors until this one (full marks 35/35). The lad was bright, but not the brightest. Nine other children had in excess of 30 marks with three getting 34. I must confess that I did not expect this. What a rod I have created for future staff who will now have to predict and achieve progress based on these results!!!! What future misery I have now inflicted on this cohort of children. I am sorry! They are lovely children.