Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Doing the Job of Two

I turned up on Monday to cycle train a bunch of kids from Year 5 at a local school. I do love doing this job. It is spending time outdoors playing on bikes. You get the best out of the kids and they think they are just escaping from the classroom, when in fact, they are learning a skill that, who knows, may save their life.

So, I turn up, but my colleague - the other instructor - doesn't. This particular instructor (let's call him Mr Pro-4x) is a little difficult to pin down. He only likes to do jobs on his own terms, which doesn't really make it easy to synch with school timetables. He doesn't answer his e-mail much either, so you have to wait a long time for confirmation, about whether he can do a training session or not. All that being said, he had confirmed that he would be doing four days with me at this particular school this week.

But he wasn't there. I don't have a phone number for him.

I started the session on my own and hoped he was just a bit late. After half an hour, the class teacher came out and asked if she could phone someone for me. For the next hour, I tried to run a session alone, whilst fielding enquiries, phone calls and a stressed looking TA. To say we were made to look incompetent is an understatement. I was annoyed and embarrassed, not to mention run off my feet.

My break was spent trying to find another instructor that could come at short notice - I failed. Just before lunch, the co-ordinator from the council called, which meant I had to leave the entire group of kids, and their cycles, to finish up without me. It was a major snafu.

We had to cancel the second part of the course (which is on the road) and re-arrange it. That's 15 sets of parents that have paid for something, which is now post-poned for a month. 15 sets of inconvenienced parents, who have to transport their kids' bikes back and forth from school again.

I got home to a message from Mr Pro-4x, which was sent after I left in the morning. He said he couldn't access his e-mails, couldn't make the dates for training anymore and was sorry to have left it so late.

I checked his other accounts - it seems he could access Twitter and Facebook during the period his e-mails had been inaccessible. It also seems that while I was doing the job of two people and fending off an unhappy school, Mr Pro-4x was getting wet and muddy on a BMX track somewhere. Maybe I am just a cynic and there is a very good reason why getting muddy was important enough to let down so many people. Right now, I can't for the life of me think of it.

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