Monday, November 29, 2004

Another example of why nothing ever gets accomplished here

Email correspondence with Bossman (he was at our other school).

Thursday evening:

Hi Bossman,

I hope to be able to change my Friday K class to Wednesdays next year, but that would involve you finding someone else to teach my T-class on Wednesdays at the same time (15h - 16:30). The T class only has about 4 lessons left and most likely won't be renewing due to the fact that their company may be restructuring them out of jobs. Would that be okay with you?

Please respond asap, as I want to talk to my Friday K class about it tomorrow (26 Nov.).


Friday Morning:

Hi MrTeacher,

Once T class is finished then this is no problem.


Friday Morning - same as the first email, just different words:

Hi Bossmam,

I've just checked the card. T class only has 4 lessons left, but with as busy as they are and as often as they cancel, lord knows when they'll be finished. Would it be possible for them to be switched to the new teacher in January so that I can change my Friday K class to Wednesdays when we start in January? That'd be much better than holding Wednesday afternoons open for T class, with as much as they cancel.


Monday Midday:

No response yet, and I don't expect to receive one.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Sorry for not blogging, but I've been extremely busy at work this week and there's no end in sight. Heaps of extra hours. In the meantime, Here are some photos I took in Rome for you to enjoy.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


I'm off to Bella Roma to see thephoenixnyc, a good friend that I haven't seen for five years who's across the pond for a visit. I'm sure it'll be a great time.

A thought:

Have you ever noticed how getting up at 6h to go to work can be difficult, but getting up at 3h to go travelling is no problem?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Gem of the day

I arrived at school at 8h20 today, put my coat on the rack and then entered the office. Immediately, Old Secretary engaged me in coversation about class T, my Tues/Fri 7h30 - 9h class. Here's how it went:

OS: Are you finished?
*confused look on my face*
OS: Are you finished?
MrT: Finished?
OS: Are you finished?
MrT: With what?
OS: Class T. If so, we need room 17.
MrT: We moved it to Thursday this week for scheduling reasons, just like it says on the office's schedule and my timetable.
OS: Oh.

Let us not forget that OS is the secretary in charge of scheduling, and that she was looking at my timetable when she asked me.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

It's been an interesting day

Yesterday, Bossman told me that he needed me to teach a new class at company T. I currently teach four company T students at our school, but he told me that this would be a single student class at the company, about 6km away. It sounded like a short term thing, so I agreed (I assume the new teacher will take it over in January). Since I didn't know where company T was, the plan was for BM to meet me just off of the motorway exit so that I could follow him there (he teaches a class at company T 7h30 - 9, and mine was due to start at 9h30). After reconfirming everything, I left the school at 19h30.

When I got up this morning, I received an SMS that BM had sent at 23h last night asking if I had the other car (I've set up a 'Privacy' profile on my mobile so that I am not alerted when calls/messages from work come in when I don't want them to). I SMSed him back letting him know that I didn't (I'm sure he loved receiving my SMS at 5h). I didn't hear back from him, so I assumed that he had sorted everything out.

I arrived at school at 7h today and BM was already there, I poked my head into his office and asked him if he had found the second car. He said that he hadn't, but assumed that Tall Colleague had it. Being the efficient office staff they are, they hadn't realised that TC had also needed one this morning. The plan then changed. BM would leave his class at 9h, return to the school, pick me up and then take me to company T. He'd then pick me up at 11h.

Of course, 11h came and BM was nowhere to be seen. 10 minutes later, he pulled up. As we were driving back, he told me that he had almost forgotten to pick me up, to which I replied that knowing his memory, I had expected that. He told me that when he got back to office after dropping me off, he had told Young Secretary to yell at him to pick me up if he was still there at 11h. She shoved him out of the office at 10h55.

We had an interesting conversation on the way back.

BM: What do you think of Pompous Ponce?
MrT: He thinks he's a good teacher
BM: All teachers think they're good teachers
MrT: Yes, however they don't tell the entire world how wonderful they are every day.

BM smiled, because PP has done it to him too. I then decided to push it a bit.

MrT: He's pompous and arrogant.

BM gave me the 'You're right' smile again.

BM: Yes, but he's a good teacher.
MrT: Perhaps. I haven't heard students say anything positive or negative about him.
BM: I think so.
MrT: Okay.

When we got back to the school, we walked into the office and I said to YS: 'Cheers for sending the chauffeur for me' and both she and BM laughed.

We were also a car short in the afternoon, because TC had to teach at a different business 80km away, Part Time Colleague had to teach at one 20 km away and I had to teach at company K, 2km away. That usually happens on Thursdays, so I frequently travel to company K by bike.

It rained all afternoon, so I put on my fleece jumper, hat and gloves and went there on my bike in the rain. That's generally not a problem for me, however my lesson plan included a long listening exercise and I had to take one of our portable CD players. They're a bit less portable when one is travelling by bike.

A car pulled out in front of me, I braked, which didn't do much good on the rain soaked street, and hit the kerb. By releasing the CD player, I was able to keep myself from falling. Of course, that mean that the CD player crashed onto the ground and the handle broke off. At that point, I didn't care. I was just about to company K, so I stuck the CD player under my jumper and finished my journey.

At the end of the class, I asked the student in charge, Power Woman, if I could leave it there because I didn't feel like lugging a broken CD player home and I also had to stop at the supermarket on the way home. She asked if we needed it at the school, and I told her that we could make do without it for a week. So, I cycled to the supermarket and then home and sloshed up the stairs.

It's good to be home.

I have a bit of office gossip to post and will hopfully get around to it soon.

Name New Girl

Bossman told me that we'll have another teacher starting in January, so I need to find a name for New Girl in case the new teacher happens to be female. Here's what I've come up with:

1. Daft Bint - this one doesn't work. She's not (usually) daft, nor is she a bint.

2. Secret Smoker

3. Driving Girl

What are your ideas?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Here we go again

I have to teach an intensive single (one person) course today at 9h. Yesterday evening at 18h, I got the log book out to see what had been done. Oddly enough, Pompous Ponce had written what he had done in it both last week and on Monday, and even which book he had used. However, the course was split between Bossman and New Girl yesterday and neither had written anything at all on the card. The class ended at 13h30, so 4 1/2 hours should have been enough time for them to write something in it - not to mention the fact that we're supposed to do it right after the class ends.

So, I stood it up in NG's folder and put post it note on it that simply said: What happened on 16 November?

Then I went home.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Oh no!

Sadly, JT over at Fast Food Life has ended his blog for unspecified reasons. JT, I wish you all the best for the future and want you to know that your blog will be missed.

Secret Smokers

New Girl smokes. I first discovered that on a night out I had with her, Young Secretary and Pompous Ponce shortly after they moved here. I was quite surprised by that, since she doesn't drink alcohol and is a vegan (both by choice). She told me that she nevers smoke at school and doesn't want her students to know about it.

Guess who's come in smelling like a cigarette factory many times? You're right, NG. It's been obvious to me, so I'm sure her students have also picked up on it.

The New Guy we had in July (that only lasted six weeks) told me that he used to smoke, but turned out to be a heavy smoker.

What is it with Secret Smokers?

On a somewhat not so related note, Christmas Do update (yes, I am going - free food!): We drew names yesterday for the people we have to buy presents for and I got NG's. If I wasn't such a rampant non-smoker, I'd buy her some fags..

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Blah! Saturday

As previously mentioned, I have to teach the Saturday class today. It shouldn't be all that bad. One of the students has returned from last year and I like him a lot, plus I'll get to meet the other students. I love meeting new people. I think it's just the idea of having to work on a Saturday that I don't like.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Out of sight, out of mind

Yesterday, I had planned on talking to Bossman about a procedure that I disagree with at our school and making my case as to why it should be changed. When I got to school, I found out that he had left for our other school (several hundred kilometres away) on Wednesday evening and wouldn't be back until Monday afternoon. So, I emailed him with what I had planned to tell him. I have yet to hear back from him, and don't expect to.

This is normal for him. Ignore something and hope it goes away.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Caught out

Early last month I was at the petrol station of just south of the city I live in and they were having problems with their register. While we were waiting for the technician to repair it, I spoke the language of the-country-that-won't-be-named to the lady, making a few jokes to lighten the mood. A minute after that, I head someone said, "Hi MrTeacher." I spun around and saw it was a student from one of my day classes. She had heard the whole thing and leart that I can speak the language of the-country-that-won't-be-named, albeit far from perfectly. She then told her entire class, and now they all know I speak their language.

It was a good charade for the 1 1/2 years it lasted. I still refuse to speak their language to them and also refuse to respond to them on the rare occasion one of them speaks it to me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

No good deed goes unpunished

On Monday, Young Secretary asked me, in a Bossmanesque way ('What's your Saturday looking like'?), if I could work on Saturday due to the fact that Pompous Ponce and New Girl have quite a few extra hours this week. I decided that I would to help out. I'm a reasonable guy and know that one must give a bit every now and then. I made sure to tell her not to put me into the normal Saturday rotation after she told me that I should have to teach it every third Saturday, but that I would sub occasionally (in the 2 1/2 years I've been at my school, I've taught Saturdays for 1 1/2 of them).

Yesterday, Bossman told me that I needed to teach four hours of Business Teacher's classes Wednesday (today) for various reasons. Guess who now has more hours than PP and NG and still has to teach the Saturday class?

I'll make sure that I happen to be "busy" the next time I'm asked to sub for the Saturday class just to make my point.

Monday, November 08, 2004

A holiday post

Scattered thoughts from my hotel room on the last night of my recent trip (written at 22h43 on 2 November 2004)

What a brilliant holiday I've had. I've seen good friends, eaten delicious food, drunk tasty beer and done some sightseeing. What has the best part of my trip been? The memories. The entire time I've been here, I've been thinking back to my past in this country. The people I had met, the different train trips I had taken, the classes I had taught, the fun nights out I had enjoyed, etc. Everything. Memories have been flooding back to me ever since the plane touched down. I remember everything so vividly, including the first time I set foot in the-Eastern-European-country-I-used-to-live-in in 1998, a year before I moved here.

I came here on a whim. I was in (insert country) and met a Canadian girl who had just come down from the-Eastern-European-country-I-used-to-live-in. I asked her about it because it wasn't on my list of places to visit - I had nothing against the-Eastern-European-country-I-used-to-live-in, I just didn't know much about it or think it had anything of interest to me. However, she finally convinced me to go to (insert city) for a few day - and I ended up staying for two weeks. Later, on the same trip, I came back and visited a few different parts of the-Eastern-European-country-I-used-to-live-in - amounting to another two week stay in the country.

I frequently get asked why I love this country so much, a question I can't answer. Yes, I love the people, the food and drink as well as the culture, but there's also an atmosphere that has captured me and won't let go. Honestly, I hope it never does.

Friends in the-country-that-won't-be-named have told me how my face lights up when I talk about the-Eastern-European-country-I-used-to-live-in. One good friend in the-country-that-won't-be-named has told me that he's been waiting for the news that I'll be moving back here ever since we met in July 2002. He'll be the first to know. A relative that came to visit me in 2000 said, 'I see why you like it here,' at the end of his visit. He felt it too. So have many others that have visited.

I know that life in the-Eastern-European-country-I-used-to-live-in isn't perfect, but I also know that it's wonderful.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Deck the halls?

As I was walking into the office yesterday to check my folder (our version of an in-basket), I noticed a signup sheet on the bulletin board. I glanced at it, then went about my business. I noticed ivitations to the Christmas party sticking up out of the other teachers' folders. There wasn't one in mine. I took all the papers out of it just to double check. Nothing.

I walked back to the signup sheet and said, 'So this is a signup sheet for the Christmas party I haven't been invited to?' To which Bossman chuckled and said, 'Darn, you've found out about it.'

I'm pretty sure it was an oversight, but it was odd how I was the only one not to get an invitation.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Normalcy resumes

I teach a Tuesday and Friday morning class and looked at the logbook today to see what had been done while I was away, so that I could start my lesson plan for tomorrow morning. Not a word had been entered. Not even attendance had been taken! I took it to Bossman and asked him if the class had been cancelled, and he told me that Pompous Ponce had taught it and BM wrote the name and teacher's name in it. I asked Old Secretary to call him and find out what had been done and left to teach a class. When I returned, she had written, 'Past Simple'. That's it. Nothing else. I asked if he had told her what materials he had used, and she said, 'No.' The truth is probably that she hadn't asked him. Why on earth would a teacher need to know small details like that?

It's pretty sad when things like this are considered normal

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Happy Blogday to The Report Card

Almost two years ago, a friend told me she was going to start blogging and gave me her URL. I had no idea what a blog was, so I took it with a grain of salt. However, I started to read her blog. I read it for a few days, then stopped for a few weeks. Eventually, curiosity got the best of me and I started reading it again.

Blog. Family life.

I continued to read it for the next several months and kept thinking about it.

Blog. Ranting.

I started to follow some of the links that my friend had added to her blog and found one that captured my interest, and became an avid reader

Blog. Venting

The idiocy continued at work and the one day I had finally had enough. Something very trivial at work go to me and I started my own blog to vent. I didn't wonder if anyone would read it or not, I just had to vent.

So, on my one year anniversary of blogging I'd like to thank all of my readers as well as give a special thank you to Zoe and Wrapstar for the initial inspiration for my blog.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A quick hello

A brief post to say hello from the-Eastern-European-country-I-used-to-live-in. I'm having a fantastic time. Great food, wonderful beer, good friends and smiling faces.

I'll be back in the-country-that-won't be named tomorrow evening.

Monday, November 01, 2004

And now for the other half

In my time here on The Report Card, I have used my first two posts to reflect on and talk about teachers.

Now, for the other half of what makes Mr. T's "Report Card" such an enjoyable, relevant and fun read.


The workplace is a relatively new and relatively insane idea in human history. For the bulk of recorded history, and as the evidence points to, for pre-history "The Workplace" as we know it today didn't exist.

Sure, people worked, and in most ways they worked A LOT harder than we work today. Personally I would have had a hard time with my nose up the ass of an oxen 12 hours per day.

But they worked for sustenance, the benefit of the social group, the glory of the State and for family and community. Now, I am not saying any of this was ideal as most labor became oppressive as "civilizations" progressed.

But at least there was a certain dignity and lack of inane mindless striving and backstabbing in this labor.

This work was largely a community based effort. Individuals and small collectives working for themselves and the benefit of the whole. The blacksmith, his journeyman and his apprentice never had to deal with the egos, dress codes, politics, petty wars, petty fiefdoms, greed, inanity and soul numbing stupidity of the modern white collar workplace.

It seems we have really reached the post-ironic, post-modern phase of the workplace. All of the cliches, archetypes, games, commentary, counter-commentary, wry outsiders perspectives and Dilbert-style insiders views have been exploited to the furthest extent.

So what now?

We can only hope for a First Agrarian or Industrial Revolution level paradigm shift in the ways and places we work. The insane bosses, pointless projects, office sluts, ego driven alpha males, paper clips, bureaucracy, bottom lines, lack of focus and ENDLESS meetings have run their course.

Its all become a caricature of itself. Which would be funny if it didn't hurt so many people in so many ways. If so many people didn't base their self-worth and meaning on it. If so much time, energy and human capital were not spent perpetuating it all.

So, my cubicle bound brothers and sisters. My groveling gal-fridays. My "all I want to do is teach but I have to deal with politics" educators. Bosses, sub-bosses, administrators, regulators and regurgitators - THROW OFF THE SHACKLES OF THE PAST - WORK IN A NEW WAY and help bring on the revolution.

Thank you, I will go back and finish this damn report now.