Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Its nice to be valued ...

Some weeks ago I was told that my existing contract would end at the end of this term ... which is the 15th July. As I would have completed forty years in the teaching profession (both as a trainee and fully qualified teacher), it seemed like an ideal time to 'retire'.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I was casually informed that a decision had been made to terminate my contract a week earlier on Friday 8th July, along with those of all the other contractors currently employed. No warning, no 'Thank you', no nothing.

The decision was apparently made by the school's Governors to 'save money'. Isn't it nice to be valued so highly by the school's 'management'?

The choice of the 8th July means that I will leave work for what will probably be the last time ... and go straight to COW2011.

What a way to celebrate my 'retirement'!

30 comments:

  1. Bob
    Walk out on the 8th and don't look back. The buggers deserve the chaos they'll be left with next term. And you'll have time to work on all the ideas you pick up at COW.

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  2. Wow. Sorry to hear of the job treatment. Glad to hear you've got somewhere to go to afterwards. Just remember to keep breathing.

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  3. *shakes head sadly* Typical.

    I don't know if that last line was meant ironically or not, but frankly I can't think of a better way to celebrate your retirement than to spend a weekend away doing "that thing we do".

    As Tim says, don't look back.

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  4. Good luck with everything you do in the future Bob. It's a sad fact that in today's World many of us are not valued in any way and if someone can save a buck they will regardless of peoples feelings. .... Stuff 'em!

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  5. When an institution gets confused over which is more real, numbers on a page or people, its time to be shot of it. Still, an off key note to end on and I'm sorry they weren't more worthy. How many great generals over the years have been shunted off in a hurry to some obscure corner once the war is over? At times ingratitude seems to be a natural instinct, especially in bureaucrats.

    I hope you have a great COW weekend and that it carries on.

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  6. Tim Gow,

    I will do exactly that ... and then come straight on to COW, where I will be able to enjoy a long weekend doing what I love best ... playing wargames with friends!

    After that ... well the sky's the limit!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Adelaide Gamer,

    This is the sort of treatment I have come to expect over the past few years, so it was no great surprise.

    At least I have something to look forward to after 8th July ... which is not the case with some of the other people affected by this decision.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Dr Vesuvius,

    There was no irony intended. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate that to spend 48 hours wargaming!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Steve's Wargame Stuff,

    Thanks for your best wishes.

    It is ironical that some of the contractors they are getting rid of are the staff who get the best results from the students ... but getting good results was last week's priority; this week's is saving money.

    As to stuffing them ... well, they might find that some of the work that they need to use next year with the students – and that I have written – is password protected ... and I am the only person who knows the password.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Ross Mac,

    What you write is absolutely correct ... and they have probably saved me the bother of having to walk out sometime soon as and when the fetid atmosphere at the school deteriorates even further.

    Today is Graduation Day … and the pettiness of the ‘management’ has extended to not inviting me and the other contractors to attend the ceremony to see the students we have taught – some of them for three years – get their graduation diplomas and certificates. However, the students have asked me to hang around until after the ceremony as they want to say goodbye to me … so I know that at least they appreciate my efforts on their behalf … and that is worth far, far more to me than the begrudging ‘Thanks’ I might get from the ‘management’ when I leave.

    I intend to have great fun at COW2011 … which is now only nine days away. In the meantime … I only have seven days until I retire!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. That the students want to say good bye is your true worth. If you are anything like the teachers I still remember 30 years after leaving high school, your "worth" will carry forward for many, many years to come.

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  12. Bob,
    What appalling treatment! Someone on the Governing Body is obviously a disciple of Frederick the Great, who said: "Soldiers are like lemons; one sucks the juice from them and throws them away..."
    Is your contract worded so that they can arbitrarily reduce your notice by a week and thus save a week's pay? It might be worth making remarks about seeking legal advice if only to wind them up.
    Do you suppose you will be escorted to the door by Security on the 8th - just in case you fancied setting off a few fire extinguishers?
    As others have said, walk away with no regrets and enjoy some well-deserved R&R at COW.
    And when you return, start writing a suitably scathing, satirical novel describing your experiences...
    Best wishes,
    Arthur

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  13. Pat G,

    The problem with the way in which the success of the UK education system is currently 'measured' – using spurious test or exam results – is that it fails to recognise that the true value of education is not seen for ten years, twenty years, thirty years, or even longer. It also fails to recognise that education is about people, not their results.

    Luckily the students do know the difference, and appreciate any effort – however small it may be – that teachers make of their behalf. I came into teaching to make a difference by making that little extra effort whenever I could … and I think that I have managed to achieve that end over the years.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  14. Arthur1815,

    You are right; it is an appalling way to behave towards employees – but it is also typical and not altogether unexpected behaviour from the sort of management one finds in so many schools today.

    My contract is worded in such a way that they only need to give me 48 hours notice in writing … and that if they don’t they have to continue to pay me. I have mentioned this fact … and I suspect that someone somewhere in the school is word processing the letter as I write this comment.

    My contract also says that I – and I alone – own the intellectual rights to any work that I have produced for the school, and they are licensed to use it for as long as I am employed … so on Friday 8th July the last thing that I will do is to make sure that any files in my area of the computer system are erased, and that any on the shared area are password protected.

    I wonder how long it will be before I get a ‘phone call asking for the passwords?

    I doubt if security will need to escort me from the building as I intend to leave at lunchtime to get to COW. By then I will have removed all my personal possessions, tidied my desk area for its new inhabitant (a nice lady with whom I get on well and who is currently having to share a desk and computer with another member of staff), and returned my keys, my high visibility jacket (I am a Deputy Fire Marshall), and security pass.

    I like the idea of writing a novel about my experiences in teaching, but I suspect that it would be very like a Tom Sharpe novel than anything else. Mind you, he managed to make a living out of it so you never know …

    All the best (and thanks for your continuing support),

    Bob

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  15. Bob,
    Was that term in your contract about intellectual rights a very silly oversight by the school, or put in at your insistence?
    I understand the position is different in the case of permanent school staff, in so far as I would be free to publish worksheets I had devised for use at the school, but could not charge them royalties for continuing to use such material after my departure.
    So, in that area at least, you have the advantage - I'm sure your passwords are suitably 'strong' - and may have a good bargaining position.
    Regards,
    Arthur

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  16. What???? no gold plated watch???...no cheap engraved pen??? thats rude. Amazing isnt it...you put in all those years and nobody cares.

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  17. Bob I find management's behaviour of you most vexing ...
    I am sorry your years of service have ended on such a note.
    Go off to COW with your head high having done your best for many years!
    cheers
    Alan

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  18. Arthur1815,

    I have included the clause about intellectual property rights in my contracts ever since I set up my company in 2001 ... and schools have signed it without demur. I don't think that any of the people who have signed them has ever actually read the contract before putting their signature on one.

    Their mistake, not mine!

    As to the passwords ... well I suspect that they will never work them out, although they might try to guess what they are.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  19. Captain Richard's miniature Civil War,

    The students care ... and that is the best reward I could have.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  20. Tradgardmastare,

    The 'management' for whom I have worked for the past few years has changed during that period. The school has had a new Principal, a new Vice Principal (in place of the previous two Deputy Principals), but kept the existing Assistant Principal in charge of finance.

    The previous Principal could teach, as could his Deputies; the current incumbents are both from the administration side of education, and are 'office cats' who rarely come into contact with the students.

    The new 'management' are bean-counters, who - to quote Oscar Wilde - know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Not having to work for them again under the present conditions will be a blessed relief!

    Anyway, I can now concentrate on preparing for COW2011 in the knowledge that I will not have to get up on the Monday morning afterwards and go to work ... and that is a result!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  21. Mosstrooper,

    Many thanks! I am looking forward to enjoying it.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  22. Their (the managements) loss Bob. As you say, it's the students that matter, even those who create merry hell on a daily basis. They will be the ones who look back in years to come and appreciate the effort you put in on their behalf.
    All the best for your well earned retirement.

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  23. Jfidz,

    I cannot disagree with anything that you have written in your comment ... and many thanks for your best wishes.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  24. Without being at all political, unfortunately its what we've come to expect in this beloved country of ours of late. I say sod 'em, put your feet up have a beer and enjoy COWS!!

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  25. Hi Bob,

    That is absolutely miserable treatment and no mistake. As you rightly point out though, the ones that matter i.e. the students, care and care enough to have wanted you to hang around for their award ceremony.

    That is what you should take with you as a memory for all your service and not that of the small minds and high hands of the offending management!

    I love the intellectual rights clause - that is stroke of genius!

    Good luck, enjoy COW and all the best,

    DC

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  26. Hi Bob,

    Breathe in. Breathe out. Move on.

    Life is Good.

    Jim

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  27. Jim Wright,

    Many thanks. I am doing exactly what you suggest.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  28. Hearty congratulations on making it through to your retirement with your sanity and sense of humour intact Bob!

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  29. Chris,

    Many thanks for your congratulations. Whatever I do next, I am looking forward to enjoying it.

    All the best,

    Bob

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