So what is a Dosser? Well a DoS is a Director of Sport. A Dosser is what my colleagues in science call me as they think I’m in charge of Dossing around. (I don’t think they should give up their day jobs for a career in comedy.)
Today was a pretty tough day dossing around. On top of a full timetable of teaching of PE and Philosophy, a break time meeting to organise a lacrosse team for a tournament for this coming Sunday, a lunchtime basketball club and then running after school rugby training for 50 boys what else does a Dosser do on a daily basis?
Generally deal with problems.
On the Saturday gone we put out 7 competitive rugby teams in a block fixture. When I arrived at work at 7.00am I had sitting in my inbox an email of complaint from the opposition school. At the end of the fixture a father of one of our boys went on to the pitch and confronted the referee. He explained to the referee that he ‘was the worst referee he had ever seen’ and ‘that I didn’t like the way you poked my son when you were talking to him, do you like it when I do that to you?’. Pretty embarrassed with that I tried to then work out who that might be. After some detective work that Morse and Columbo would be proud of I rang the parent to get their side of the story. He admitted he did what he was accused of, to which he wasn’t sorry for, considering he is a qualified referee himself and a teacher. (Brilliant start.) To which he then made a counter claim of racism. When he explained he was a referee himself to the actual referee the response was ‘but your Welsh, what do you know about refereeing rugby?’ I explained our policy of showing respect to the referee and not getting involved, which he said he knew. However the ‘welsh jibe’ had upset him and it blew out of proportion. I sent an email back to my counterpart and I am sill awaiting a reply. I’m not sure how this one will get sorted out.
Whilst teaching body tension to Year 7 in Period 1, I was called away from the gym by another member of staff who said there was an important call for me. He then watched my class whilst I took the phone call. It was from the school nurse who had a young man in ‘floods of tears’. He had received an email from his County Rugby side, who he had played for the afternoon previously, informing him he was being dropped from the squad. There was no explanation in the email and it was received 5 minutes before his first lesson. He wanted to go home and didn’t want to speak to anyone apart from me in school. I spoke to him on the phone and asked for him to calm down, go to Period 1 and then come and find me for a chat at break time. After organising the lacrosse team I had about 5 minutes to speak and put a plan of action in place; email the county coach, ask for feedback on areas he could improve and then together we would sit down and plan a programme to ensure he would be better prepared next year. I shall be seeing him on Friday to talk through his programme, but he was a very disappointed and distraught young man that I didn’t feel I gave sufficient time to.
At lunchtime, just before my the basketball club, I received another email from the opposition school. This time a different complaint. In the email was a link from a father of one of the opposition boys from the school. The link took me to youtube where I watched one of my 1st xv perform an act that was unsportsmanlike and required me to follow the disciplinary code set down by the rfu. I won’t go into the details but when the video was played at normal speed it looks like an accident, when slowed downed it doesn’t look very pleasant at all. 6 staff all who have played rugby at high level, still playing rugby or have coached for a long time could not agree whether it was done deliberately or was an accident. I can now understand why citing committees take so long to make a decision. We followed the procedures laid down by the RFU and i asked my 1st XV Coach to follow this up and email back what we have done. The player in question has been banned from playing rugby until the end of term, effectively ending his season for school. I then rang his parents to inform him of our decision and that they were to go away and think about it. If they had any issues I would be happy to meet them at another time. We also requested the video be removed from youtube. My understanding of these things is that videos of children on private property are not allowed unless prior consent from the school or parent of the child is given. Sharing the video/images on a social network like site like youtube is not allowed, but someone might be able to correct me on this. This request brought a response from the parent who filmed it saying they may take legal action for the act. I informed my Head to ensure he was aware that this threat had been made.
At 5.30pm when I had finally finished my rugby practice I sat down to read my emails before heading home. I had a complaint from a parent regarding the house competition we run at our school.
Ill share it with you:
The house competition we run is pretty big, it is what we focus on instead of recreational activity. The PE Department runs competitions in table tennis, basketball, swimming, waterpolo, dodgeball, lacrosse, cricket, football, cross country, athletics, softball, badminton and tennis. We offer a separate competition for every year group within school. On top of this we as a school also run house competitions in bridge, chess, general knowledge, debating, writing and music. They are offered either for every year or for a whole house. Inclusion isn’t through one specific house competition it is through competing for the house. Last year we achieved 100% of pupils in Year 7 to 11 competing in at least 3 events, which was our best yet. I also think the email is missing the bigger picture. The point of competing for your house is to do something beyond self interest and to do something for your community, whether that is allowing others to compete and supporting them or potentially competing in competitions you don’t like for the good of the house. Interestingly enough my records show this young man was involved in 9 house competitions last year and received an award of house colours. This one required me to walk away and not send a response tonight. I need to remember I don’t have to deal with these things when I’m upset or immediately. This will be something for tomorrow.
I feel more and more of my time is being spent dealing with problems that are made by parents and less by students. This time spent dealing with these issues takes me away from the part of the job I love the most; teaching and coaching children. Its a sad fact that the time I’m going to spend dealing with the complaint above, I could probably organise and run another house competition, and that is a depressing thought. What is more depressing is this is becoming more and more common place within my job. Perhaps it is just where society and education as a whole are heading. If that is the case, am I really in the right career?
Updated on 16th October: What I’ve got to try and remember is that parents are emotionally invested in their children and only want the best for them. What I also need to remember is that they don’t realise that I’m emotionally invested in their child too, through the time, effort, dedication I put in on a daily basis. A criticism of me or what I deliver is not necessarily a personal one, but one based on wanting what’s best for their child. I need to try and rise above my emotive response and try to see if there is a real issue about their child’s happiness and development or just a pushy parent with too much time on their hands. My response, decision and interaction need to be child centric, always putting the child at the heart of the discussion as well as the other children that might be potentially involved. It’s difficult though when they question your professional judgement (imagine how they would react if you questioned their parenting). In the end it can’t be about the best for me or a parent, but the best for the children involved.