Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Why Can't Teachers Take The Register?

It's a staple of education that every school uses to great effect: the register. This simple tool allows teachers to know who's there in the lesson and who's not. They can then attempt to find out why someone wasn't there. But Temple Moor seem to have bungled this monumentally simple task.

The classic register - pencil marks on a piece of paper - was scrapped recently, in favour of a computerised system. In theory, it's a fantastic system: the teacher marks you down as present and if you're not there, there's a variety of options to choose to explain why you're away. This information is then sent off and can be checked by people or other software. But when this fails, it really fails. Teachers can struggle with how the system works, or accidentally click twice and mark someone as absent when they're not, causing the school to shout "truant child!" when it should be "silly teacher!"

And then teachers often forget to take the register, anyway. And how will this be of benefit to anyone? How will we know if someone's hidden behind the huts smoking if you don't know if they have opportunity? Amazingly, it happens with alarming regularity. And there's no decent excuse.

Finally, in PE today, a teacher said a pupil's name on the register. There was no response. "Is he not here?" asked the teacher, to be hit by a unanimous "no". The teacher didn't hear, so it was repeated. At last, he hears and gets a bit irate. "Will give me a clue, lads!" he bellows. There's proof that the teacher doesn't have a clue. But anyway, the clue to absence is that you didn't get the response "here, sir"! It doesn't take a genius to realise if no one says "here", they're probably not there.

No comments: