Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Appraisal, epilepsy and green ink

Now, last time I was appraised back in the make believe weirdo world of Goveland a year or so back it was of course by my then subject leader. Leader can only be  loose and vague as terminology, as the Northern Nazi had yet to develop any leadership skills beyond those that her beardy supervisor, the weekend war gamer, a monosyllabic hairy eared knuckle dragging neanderthal caveman had told her to do. In turn these had come down in tablets of stone from the swivel eyed head  who appeared convinced that the path to academic success was through dress standards. I'm sure little Govey would squirm in squeaky delight at that.

Caricatures they may be eh? Yet, as with all such things  they are easy and simple and redolent of slack thinking but based in a fetid slurry of tiresome truth which explains why I became one of the large stat of teachers who quit the profession in the UK this year according to the BBC. Yes, I was given a hard and rotten time and told I would have failed an Ofsted inspection for not having marked books in green ink. As simple as that. It didn't help that I raised an arched and skeptical eyebrow before sniggering like a 14 year old at the bollocks thus spouted by the insecure daft over-promoted woman and the SLT caveman who had spent plenty of the lesson observation texting. Needless to say this did my position no end of good. I knew that spending the next years of my diminishing life in such a place could not happen and that I was probably on my way out then anyway.

Dark but occasionally amusing times from a different chunk of  clunky time. How easy it is here though, a world away - how cooperative, how friendly and how good-natured. Just as I felt when I first entered state education in the 90s. The head didn't really want to know about the lesson, he assumed I could teach without having to follow narrow restricting teaching by numbers strictures. He was more concerned about how I was settling in to his country, what I thought of the students and how we could improve attainment. No complete and utter bollocks about marking in green ink that's for sure. We talked briefly about the lesson he watched, went through his ticky box list  and as I thought he was winding it up, he then caught  me  by pulling out my health record, not something that has ever happened before and possibly not legal in the UK. Were unions allowed here I would certainly have questioned it.  What was the point of it all? He really wanted to about epilepsy. This being based upon the record of a grand mal full on seizure I had back in the last century which he had worryingly highlighted in green ink. Needless to say it took me off guard as it has never been an issue well, apart from when it happened - not at work thankfully. However, all sorts of  left-field concerns were raised. He went through a lengthy interminable pedantic list of pre-prepared 'what ifs...' which I had to try to assuage in detail so as not to be accused of being mentally ill,  possessed or in need of trepanning or exorcism  in the unlikely event of another overdose of electrical discharge, anything in short which could freak out deeply religious, sheltered and superstitious students and some non-western teachers too.

It has never been a question brought up by anyone other than the doc  now a very long time ago. In the world of illness epilepsy just ain't sexy. It really isn't. As far as I know it doesn't get it's own awareness day where you can buy a  pretty ribbon to show solidarity and that you really, really do care. It can be subject to all sorts of myths and ignorance in the UK - fortunately being possessed or in league with Beelzebub are no longer among them.