We had an INSET day first day back this term. We had half a day of an external speaker, followed by half a day of controlled assessment moderation.
I went into the assembly hall a keen bean ready and raring for some inspiring but practical advice. By the first coffee break my enthusiasm was severely dented. By the second, I was wondering whether I could sneak some marking in so I’d get something productive done. By lunch I was seething with anger at how this charlatan had wasted 3 hours of 100 people’s time.
This was not helped when a spot of googling revealed this man was paid over £2000 for the privilege of boring us to death.
He started by introducing himself as someone who had taught for 15 years, but been doing CPD for the last 10. He told us all he was “probably the worst English teacher in London”. I’m still not sure whether this was meant to be a joke. It wasn’t very funny. Certainly nobody laughed.
He went on to tell us all that emotional intelligence is where it’s at to get Outstanding. We were treated to a cacophony of analogies, from tooth brushing to sinking ships. An hour in, my crisp new page in my spiral bound notebook was still crisp and white. Nothing of practical use had been said.
We went for coffee. Everyone was a bit dubious of this guy, but we reassured each other, “I’m sure it’s going to get more practical from here on in”.
We sat back down. He told us how highly rated he was in other schools. He name dropped some private schools and said how one Head had told him “even Jimmy got involved” after using his emotional intelligence techniques. The NQT next to me slipped me a note. “Doesn’t he realise he’s in a school with 80 Jimmies, not just one?”
At one point, he went on a 20 minute tangent about Bloom’s Taxonomy. Patronising git. The fact we all nodded when he asked whether we’d heard of Bloom’s didn’t seem to make a difference to the length of his monologue.
Another coffee break. People talked wryly of drawing up an INSET bingo board.
We returned to a card sort. Oh, golly. We had to categorise student traits as desirable or non-desirable. What a stimulating discussion we had deciding whether we’d prefer our students to be enthusiastic or apathetic. What wonderful insights we gained by putting a card with the word bored on the negative side and feel safe on the positive.
The last half hour turned out to be slightly different. In this session we were treated to the hard upsell. He does weekend training courses, you know? He has special software you can use to analyse the emotional intelligence of your classes, in case you were wondering. If you want to take what you’ve learnt today (at this point I had to repress a snort) a step further, come have a chat before lunch. For a second time, we were treated to the story of how “even Jimmy got involved”.
After that load of tosh, the prospect of an afternoon of exam moderation was downright appealing.