Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Late. Lies. Full. Forgotten.

Oh it's been one of those days today. Nothing going right, hair pulling out days, when you just think, really? Does anybody listen to me?

So it started with a Northern Line disaster. I arrived with the board saying: 2 mins to the next train. Ten minutes later it still said, 2 mins to the next train. (Lies) And over the tannoy they continued to announce, 'There is a good service on all London underground lines.' (More lies.) That forced a few giggles from the gathering crowd and a few *bullshit* coughs. Eventually a couple of trains made it through, but I couldn't fit on and had to let them go. There were still no announcements as to what the holdup was, except for the weekend engineering works announcement, which was not particularly useful, what with it being Wednesday and all.

The only reason we found anything out at all was because one of the trains was held on the platform with the doors open and we heard the announcement from their train driver, saying there were 'customer belongings' on the track ahead and that also the train in front had faulty doors. A double whammy.

So after around 25 minutes on the crowded platform, with the cyclical update of, 'There is a good service on all London Underground Lines,' (continued lies) I squirmed my way on to the tube.
I had two more changes to make, first to the Piccadilly and then to the District Line, which luckily ran like clockwork, and I arrived at the school with about two minutes until the start of my first class, out of breath and annoyed. I hate being late. Especially when I set off early and it is no fault of my own. Urgh!

Okay, so that's the late and the lies covered.

Now, what part of full do you not understand?

I arrive at the school and am greeted with, 'Oh Helen, there's a new child.'
Dreaded words when three out of your four classes are completely full, and I was very clear about this last week.
'Oh, which room is it?'
'Preschool.' (One of the full ones, of course.)
'But I'm full in both Preschool classes. I told you last week.'
'Well, we thought they could just join in one of the other classes.'
But the only class with one remaining space in it, is a toddler class. I'm not taking a Preschool child down two age classes because it's the only room with space. It's not fair to them, and really before that was promised to a parent, it should have been discussed with me.
So I say no they can't join in, they will be first on the waiting list and when a space opens up they will have it. And then I go off to teach.

When I eventually wind up in the preschool room, the new child and teachers are all convinced she's doing it. I explain what I've already explained, that the classes are full etc, and there's no way I'm putting a preschool child in the young toddler room. They agree with me but then the child starts balling her eyes out. And then I'm the bitch. I'm the one making a child cry. And this is not the child's fault and I feel terrible. But there are reasons I limit the group sizes:

Resources is one, I mean I can't have fifteen of every instrument, I have to cart them around myself via public transport and I have to store them in my tiny one bedroom flat. So I limit classes to eight, absolute maximum. The other reason is of course, my sanity. Teaching eight kids, all with instruments, can be a testing time, especially when a lot have English as a second or third language, some have special educational needs or speech problems, and others are quite aggressive and hands on towards other children. I have to manage all this and still teach a viable class. Another reason is space. I have to share the classroom with the staff and other children that are not taking part in music class. I have to utilise the carpeted area which seems to gradually decreasing as more resources and shelves are bought. And when we're doing action songs and dancing, they need to have enough space to move around without clobbering their friends. It's for safety too.

But of course, I'm just the bitch that has made this child cry, but I'm also soft, so I give in and let the child join. It's not her fault. She shouldn't be punished for a lack of communication and people not seeming to understand the word full. Yes, full! No space. No more please. NO!

So, as I'm leaving, I notice a stack of about fifty music letters printed out on the desk. For that one remaining space? No wonder parents are still wanting to sign up. That many letters surely indicates there are spaces, despite many conversations to the contrary. So I very politely ask her to take them off and not to let anyone else sign up.

Full! Full! Full!

So then, as if I wasn't annoyed enough, I had to go and teach three more classes at another school. I have two groups in the preschool and of course all the children want to be in the first group, but they are more than old enough to understand there are two groups and some children just have to be in the second group, Or the shortened version: tough! Deal with it. But after I had all the children gathered for group one and we were getting ready to do our first instrument, I hear a knock on the cabin door - at this school we have a separate porta cabin where I teach the class - and when I go to check it's one of the girls from the second group. She stands there are says - wait for it, it's a classic - 'You forgot me.' And in case you were wondering, no, it's not cute! Don't think for one second it's cute. She knows which group she is in and she prayed on a member of staff who I later found out was only there for a trial day, to persuade her that I had forgotten her. Oh, I was not happy about that! And I told her. Next week she is in the second group, I did not forget her and she needs to listen.

And breathe.

Bloody Wednesdays. And next week it'll be even worse as I'll have a school pick up tagged on the end of this already long day. Yippee!

Hope your Wednesday was less anger inducing than mine.
It feels good to vent.