Being absent

I haven’t been writing much here recently, I’m afraid – one way and another, this year seems to have thrown everything it can at me on the domestic front. I’m hoping that means that the rest of the year will be remarkably trouble-free – if there’s any justice it does, anyway!

At the moment, I’m just at the tail end of the longest absence I’ve ever had from school (with a remarkably nasty virus). It’s funny, really – when I’ve been absent for a day, I’ve inevitably stressed hugely about how everything is going. When unavoidably out for three weeks, whilst I still have been sorting some things remotely (exam entry deadlines don’t stop for illness, after all), I’ve just had to trust my colleagues to manage things for me. And of course, they do, very well, just as I’ve been involved in sorting things for absent colleagues myself.

It’s a salutary reminder that I, like everyone else, am not indispensable! But it’s also a reminder of how my colleagues are competent, professional and also kind and considerate – I know this anyway, of course, but it’s no bad thing to be reminded how much I appreciate them. Some have sorted lots of things out for me, asking for just minimal info for me and putting a lot of time and effort into figuring things out for themselves. Others have taken on duties that were very specifically mine – dealing with Extended Projects, for example – without hesitation. Some have written me friendly chatty emails and texts, judging to perfection what to reassure me about and what gossip I might wish to hear! Then there are the friends who have offered to shop for me and even visit my mother on my behalf.  I am feeling very fortunate indeed to have such lovely colleagues and friends.

Needless to say, I am also feeling very fed up – I enjoy my job and I miss it – but I’m simultaneously very relieved that it’ll only be a few days to go before Easter when I do get back.

On a different note, I was very relieved to read that Ofqual have banned faith schools from censoring examination papers. Well, to be accurate I was absolutely amazed and horrified that they’d ever done it in the first place! On the most basic level (with my exams officer hat on) it must have required opening of papers well before it was justified for examination purposes – I wonder why that wasn’t caught. Of course, the issue is much more important than exam procedures – it really terrifies me that schools that have (presumably) been inspected and regarded as fit for purpose would see fit to try to censor examination papers – there need to be exceptionally good reasons to justify censoring anything, and they must have been aware that their beliefs were a little… shall I say unusual?  I am also pretty surprised they didn’t get given grief by pupils/parents for inevitably worsening pupils’ marks in exams.  I’m not going to have a general rant about “faith schools” – it’d be too broad a brush, for a start, as there’s a huge variation in what that entails, and many such schools may be very good. But I do have a massive issue with the kids’ curriculum being compromised by the religious beliefs of their teachers –  it just simply isn’t appropriate to impose your own religious beliefs on others like that.

Hope to be back a little sooner next time!

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