Thursday, 15 September 2011

September- and back to school

Well, it’s been a long time. All of August has gone by with no blogging and half of September too.
Unfortunately the holiday is over now but that also means that the usual 3 months of forced summer unemployment are also nearing an end …
Anyway September is always a great month in Liguria: everywhere else is starting to get a bit chilly and misty with yellow leaves and grapes… Here on the Riviera it is still summer … 32 ° yesterday and we went to the beach. (One of the advantages of not having any work yet and Eve still not at compulsory school age)

I used to be an English and Drama teacher in a comp in London before I came here and remember the summer holidays as being a time for planning, organizing, getting psychologically prepared for the year ahead. For me September still always feels like the start of a new year.

I don’t work in a state school now but have lots of friends who do and for them it’s a completely different story. Many of them finished work in June without knowing if they’d be called back or not. One, who is a primary school teacher, was told by her head, ‘Come into school on the first day of term in September and we’ll let you know if there’s a place for you or not.’  !!!

It’s not unusual for teachers, cleaners and secretaries too, to be without a fixed contract and not know until the beginning of term whether it has been renewed or not. Needless to say many are not.

Another classic situation is that teachers and cleaners are informed (again maybe a week before term is about to begin) that they have been moved to a different school. Yes, it obviously goes against every management ethic you can think of but… remember, a divided people is easy to control. Let them start building real relationships, doing team work and having ideas and they get dangerous. Keep them on the move and they’re putty in your hands.

To work in a state school your name needs to be on a list called a ‘graduatoria’. Your position on the list depends on the number of points you have and the first job to come along gets assigned to person at the top of the list independently of where the job is, what kind of school it is, with no interview, no compatibility match up.

Maybe things have changed back in the UK but I remember reading the Times Ed, seeing a job I fancied, sending off my cv and hoping for an interview. Here the people don’t matter. The points do!

In Italy you get onto the graduatoria by getting a degree (usually) and taking a test called a concorso (not always the guarantee it should be… remember where we are!!) More points can be added by following specialization courses, Masters degrees, working for free just to show your goodwill…

When finally you do get near the top of the list you might get sent to the other end of Italy to work (not such a tragedy for us but the Italians really hate moving away from home) and if you go humbly then you get even more points. Finally, at near retirement age, you will have enough points to be able to ask for a transfer to the school nearest your house (getting rid of the teacher who is currently holding the place and will have to be moved)

It’s like collecting petrol stamps at the garage. The more you are prepared to spend the better your prize at the end…

Me and Eve have got one thing to say about it…