And still not over yet.
So (I’m starting to sound like a friend of mine who always starts his blogs with ‘so’) I’ve started a new job. Academic coordinator. Excellent, loads of fun, full of interesting things to get involved in and do. What attracted me to the job in the first place? Well, timetabling, to be honest.
I’d probably been in Dhaka about 3 nights, we had a get together down the International Club with returning and new teachers together, and I met a guy called Richard who told me he did the timetabling, amongst other things. Knowing what I know now, I think he was drowning his timetabling stress in beer and it was the only thing on his mind at that very moment in time.
“Oh,” I said, “I’d love to get involved in that. I’ve been interested in timetabling for a while now.”
“Well, there’s a job going if you want it, I’ll be leaving at the end of the year.”
Well, cool. Sounded great. I really have been interested in timetabling for a while, I guess because in some ways it’s like an enormous ruddy great big jigsaw puzzle, in multiple dimensions. And I really do enjoy solving problems. I’m bored of Sudoku and things like that, so this sounded like a lot more fun.
Ok, to cut a long story short, I got together with Richard over the course of the year, learnt that he did an awful lot more than just timetabling, but it was all very interesting and I was well up for it. Plus there were other factors that made me feel I really didn’t want to spend another year here just in the classroom, so all in all it looked great. AND a payrise. Not enormous, but not nothing either.
Great. And at the end of last year, we organised the timetable. Took quite some time, we screwed it up a bunch of times, but eventually we had something that worked. Excellent, job done, now can concentrate on all those other things the job is supposed to entail.
Ok, so now it’s the new year. One week ago today. Come into school, meet all the new people, take a look at how everything is working, get settled in, get on with sorting out new students and datasets and classes, etc. Except that at the very end of last year, AFTER we’d designed our timetable around the idiosyncracies of all our staff, one of them left the school. And was replaced with someone whose idiosyncracies are different and which meant that some issues we had last year are no longer issues, so we can reassign some of those classes we farmed off to two other people last year. Yep…… erm… no. They’re all teaching at that time. Can’t be done. Not unless we reschedule, of course.
What a good idea. Let’s do that.
To cut a very long story short, I’ve just spent the last 8 days trying to reschedule the whole secondary school, but due to one thing and another and not remembering important little details and….., I still don’t have it working completely yet. It’s now 5:38 pm, I had 4 hours sleep last night, lots of coffee today, and the scheduler is chugging away right now. There’s actually very few classes left to go but it’s taking a long time for each one, and I don’t think I could cope with going home and leaving it to chug away here (Oohh it just scheduled another one, only 13 left to go! Then I’ve got to go through it with a fine toothed comb and make sure it hasn’t made any mistakes, which it has done every time I’ve looked before, and fix them as best as I can.)
I could really, really, really do with an extremely strong alcohol beverage right now, something that’d blow my mind, clear it out, and leave me standing rather shocked with a stupid grin on my face.
Nope. It’s just got stuck again. Can’t schedule a Humanities class because it’s not allowed to put two classes on the same day. Now if it was two singles to schedule right next to each other, that’d be easy – I could call it a double period. But no, several periods in between them. Let’s see now, if I move that Science class there, that’d allow Humanities to go here… let’s try this…….
Think I’ll be here for a while yet.