Saturday, January 20, 2018

Back to the future

It might have been exceedingly optimistic to move our school over new year to a new, though slightly rundown, location. On the Monday, the first day of classes, we had computers in each classroom that couldn't access neither the shared network nor the internet. They were essentially glorified CD players. In my office I had a laptop but no way to print documents. We had a dodgy copier that was left by the last company. We stuck room-names on with bluetac; we didn't have cleaner contracted till this weekend. The air-conditioning was even more marginal than it had been in the past and we had about ten fans humming throughout the centre to keep things as cool as possible. All in all, teachers and staff were very much back to how we started in teaching, with just a whiteboard and markers. Pen and paper. Most of the support staff were kept in connected places so most of the work of running a large school fell on me and it quickly became the longest week ever. But the hours of the week were not my biggest problem, it was just the sheer range of different issues to hold in my mind at the same time. I was not the best sleeper. But I survived, leaving on Friday night a tick before 9pm. And by Friday, though, we had the internet and the ability to print and copy, induction ready for the new senior teacher and a plan for the future.  

This weekend is something of a pivoting point I hope. The good news is that in a mere three weeks I'll be flying to China. Next week the new senior teacher begins and it is he who will pick up most of the "slack" when I go. His arrival, as well as the nomination of another senior teacher, will finally mark the moment when we truly have a school leadership team and have the time and resource to do far more. Our school is in a state that could be a launchpad for much greater things. Despite the huge number of year-end graduations before the move, we covered that loss of students completely with our intake in this week alone. Next week will take us back to the record books. 

It has to be a good thing. This first week back has also blessed the school with a cohesive, positive team. The two teachers who left I'm so glad were not here to cast shade. For all the struggle of the last two years, and the last six days, I look forward to stepping onward. And unlike 2016, I don't think I'll have the same trepidation stepping onto an international flight and leaving the school in the hands of others.

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