Gosh, the last week has been hectic.
In school, all the Y2 SATs papers have been administered and I've made lots of judgements regarding the teacher assessments. On Friday J and I had the day out of class to mark the writing assessments. I'm sure there are some people out there that find this really easy, but I'm not one of them. For each piece of writing, there are assessment foci to mark against - sentence structure, punctuation, composition and effect. Trying to decide the best fit place in the descriptions for each piece of writing is tortuous to me. I agonise over and over again, finally decide that a piece of work doesn't have enough of whatever to put it into the third bad, only to then read the example piece in the teacher's handbook that has made it into that band and think - bugger me, this piece is miles better than that.
I laughingly said to J, "Come on, if we crack on, we'll have done all of these by lunchtime!"
Ha bloody ha.
There are 42 children in the cohort. By 3 o'clock we'd done 18.
Guess what I spent yesterday doing.
And we just haven't got enough children to the higher level.
Maniac Mum and I have had conversations about unrealistic expectations and the effects of feeling that teachers have to get children to jump through hoops in the past. There is an element of that, I suppose, but that's not what upsets me.
I just feel that I've let them down.
The children, I mean, not the system.
I'm just not good enough at helping them marshal all the brilliant ideas that are tumbling out of their heads. I've got children to level 2B in reading and maths (national average) this year that I would have said would never get there back in September, but did I do that at the expense of the more able writers?
I've spent the last week or so being very introspective here - did the extra guided writing sessions for the less able jeopardise the more able children's chances? Did I learn enough from L before she went on maternity? Should I have asked for help from the consultant team?
But then teaching is full of "What ifs..."
And then of course, if I didn't feel bad enough already, I have to deal with this lovely suggestion from the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson.
On initial reading, it appears that Mr Johnson thinks the entire state education system is in need of severe help. My only concern is that it's not actually a statutory requirement* for a teacher in a public school to have a teaching qualification...
*And before I get comments from irate public sector teachers, I know lots of public schools do ask for one, I'm just sayin'...