Pushing practicals back

I know the common compliant amongst technicians is teachers requesting things last minute but I'm currently having the opposite problem? One of my teachers will request things well in advance and moves it to a different day less than 24hours before the practical. Like it wouldn't be so bad but if I'm stressing trying to sort out two complex practicals for Monday period 1 and then one randomly gets moved to Thursday and all that stress and rush was for nothing? Does anyone have a system in place to stop this or do I just need to let it go?
 
For me it depends on a few things. If it's due to an illness and they weren't in, or something totally unforeseen by the teacher has happened, I'm usually pretty understanding about it. I'm often up against it so I don't often get to prepare much in advance. Chances are, unless they're telling me right before the lesson, I won't have prepared it yet, and the push back gives me some breathing room.

If however, it's through ignorance and the teacher simply not considering my time, and it happens regularly I will be less forgiving, and may tell them that moving it isn't convenient due to some factor, such as the equipment being booked by someone else. (To clarify, only if it's true. If it's not, I just change the time to the new one and take some deep breaths to calm myself down)

One thing I do to get around it if it's been booked quite a bit in advance, is a day or two before, or whenever I'm about to prep it, I'll give that teacher a ring or pop into their room (at least Pre-Covid, not so much now), and double check if they still want it. Quite often they'll tell me they don't need it anymore, or push it back. If you do that, particularly if you know that the teacher has a habit of not sticking to their given requests, it'll save you a bunch of time and stress.

It's important to be flexible when you can be. You never know when the shoe might fall on the other foot, and you'll be the one who needs to reschedule for some reason. They're more likely to appreciate your need if you can juggle theirs.
 
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karen b

COMMITTEE
One of our teachers will write “check with me” on her request if she isn’t sure if her group will be ready. Others generally pop into the prep room and let us know in advance, though one chemist usually manages to do it five minutes after we’ve prepped it.

I think it might be worth speaking to your particular teacher and perhaps point out how it is impacting you. How far in advance do you prep things? Think about what would be an acceptable notification of a postponement.

Have you checked their timetable? One of ours had a weird timetable last year with a year 13 class of triple Monday morning and last thing on Friday so if a lesson didn’t go to plan then it might move last minute. We just counted it a win for the following week.
 
I know the common compliant amongst technicians is teachers requesting things last minute but I'm currently having the opposite problem? One of my teachers will request things well in advance and moves it to a different day less than 24hours before the practical. Like it wouldn't be so bad but if I'm stressing trying to sort out two complex practicals for Monday period 1 and then one randomly gets moved to Thursday and all that stress and rush was for nothing? Does anyone have a system in place to stop this or do I just need to let it go?

Are they a new teacher?
Its is nice that you have a teacher who is planning well in advance, but in reality they can only teach as quickly as the class(es) can learn. I'm sure as technicians we can all appreciate the odd lesson being pushed back a lesson or two. I personally have planned for this in the past, mainly from knowing the teacher/ history of certain classes.

It would be worth talking with them first and asking that they maybe don't plan so far in advance and come to an agreement based more on your lesson ordering deadline and how far in advance you feel you can prep for them having the space and covid quarantine in mind.
 
It's the same teacher that's pushing them back, sometimes pushing the same practical back 3-4 times.
But yes you're all right, I should just speak to him before preparing something.
Just feel exhausted, overworked and a bit under appreciated :(

I normally prep 1-2 days in advance but was working extra hard today as there's 5 (complex) practicals for Monday so to then have it pushed back after I've done all the work just felt like a bit of a slap in the face.
 

karen b

COMMITTEE
If you can spare the equipment can you keep the already prepared practical together for when it is needed? I appreciate it is frustrating when you are running around like the proverbial only to be told it wasn’t necessary.
 
I'm getting this a lot (from one teacher in particular) It is annoying, but I appreciate the guy is under lot of pressure, and mentioning it or complaining is just going to push him harder. So,for now I'll just keep doing my job
 
I know the common compliant amongst technicians is teachers requesting things last minute but I'm currently having the opposite problem? One of my teachers will request things well in advance and moves it to a different day less than 24hours before the practical. Like it wouldn't be so bad but if I'm stressing trying to sort out two complex practicals for Monday period 1 and then one randomly gets moved to Thursday and all that stress and rush was for nothing? Does anyone have a system in place to stop this or do I just need to let it go?
As an ex-teacher (11 years back in the 80s) I know that this can happen a lot - I often had to delay the practical because of many reasons including:
  • I had to spend time going over misunderstandings from the previous lesson and ended up having to delay the practical.
  • Most of the children were delayed to my lesson because of an issue in a previous lesson leading to not enough time left to do the practical.
  • The children were removed or the lesson cancelled due to some school issue.
  • The further ahead I planned, the more likely things fell behind (you can’t have it both ways).
  • Plus many other valid reasons.
So most of the time it isn’t their fault and sadly the further ahead they plan the more likely they will fall behind as there is a ‘knock–on’ affect

To address this, we have been using a card system to tell me if an experiment is finished with or not. The member of staff just places a laminated card (finished or keep) on the tray/equipment. Unfortunately this doesn't always work because there are often trays/sets of equipment left out that have no cards on them when the booked date has passed. I don't know if they need clearing away or leaving out!

Occasionally, they haven’t finished with the equipment and have put a Keep card on it, but other colleagues are not aware of it’s unavailability, so the colleague tries to book it not knowing it is still being used.

If you have LabLogger, as we do, then you can manage this and it appears to have sorted the problems out so far.

HoD made the rule - no card label or not rebooked then it will be cleared away. If they use LabLogger then they can rebook the equipment for when they want it by just dragging and dropping the requisition to the new future lesson on their timetable that tells me to leave it out in situ (it also prevents equipment clashes if another colleague wants the equipment at this later date).
 

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Nick Mitchener

COMMITTEE
The problem is not so much that some practicals get pushed back, but that some teachers do it almost continuously. They are the same ones who order photocopying and rarely use it. Some are just like that.
 
The problem is not so much that some practicals get pushed back, but that some teachers do it almost continuously. They are the same ones who order photocopying and rarely use it. Some are just like that.
There are always going to be some who push the boundaries but most have valid genuine reasons which we must manage and accommodate.
 
I think I covered that, the point the OP was making was it is always the same teacher. I was trying to get you to take that on board.
Yes, I realise that, but the OP asked about a system which might stop/help. The points I made were about managing it better with a system and that if we demand a large time gap for advanced orders, we could potentially make that particular problem worse.

The one miscreant teacher - the only way is face-to-face request/discussion and finally HoD to discuss with them their lesson planning.
 
Appreciate your method @Peter Sigsworth !! I'll have a chat with the teacher about it.
Yeah @Nick Mitchener it is the same teacher time and time again, and he actually is the HOD so I can't speak to anyone about it but him.
It's all good guys, thanks for your help and advice :star:
 
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