Education: The class system of an FE college

OK, that last college piece got a bit ranty, so here’s a genuine observation:

Education establishments have their own class system

So this is pretty much how it goes: lowest in the rankings are the Cleaners. Most tutors, managers and senior management do not even acknowledge them. They float around the building like tabard wearing spectres. When I worked there full time, my department had a brilliant cleaner, a little old Irish lady called Mary who would fill our kettle and wash our mugs each morning for a tenner a week. She was wicked!

Next are the Caretakers. Want a heavy thing moved? Get one of these fellas. They’re engaged with on a human level about as regularly as the cleaners.

Then it’s the Security team. The ID cards are handled by Security so technically this is the department I’m working in. A few of them are a bit bouncer-ish, which doesn’t help sometimes but over all they’re a really cheery bunch- always good for a laugh but handy if there’s trouble. They command more respect than the previous two groups but are just considered as muscle by the majority of those high up the chain.

IT Technicians– by definition an odd bunch. Why should here be any different? It got so bureaucratic when I was a full-timer that we had to call them to change ink cartridges, we weren’t allowed to- health and safety risks, you know…
The higher-ups are a bit nicer to this lot because they can fix your internets! But only if they fix it NOW!!!

Admin staff- there’s two types of these: the manager’s bitch or the department organiser. The people that do the things the tutors and managers don’t want to do. High up enough to deny the cleaners exist, call IT for help and get heavy things moved.

Tutors come in three types:
>The veteran- a dead-eyed shell that drifts from the office to the classroom/workshop and back. They work their contracted hours and their contracted hours ONLY.
>The new-fish- young, keen, not yet beaten into submission by the system. ‘I get time off in lieu? Sure! I’ll work Saturday’s open day!’
>The middle-grounder- still enthusiastic but at times shows the unmistakable look and air of resignation ‘the veteran’ has. ‘The open day? Isn’t that on a Saturday? Do I have to?’

‘The veteran’ acknowledges only who they have to, ‘the middle-grounder’ knows who to keep sweet, ‘the new-fish’ wants to be everyone’s friend.

Aspiring Managers– can be spotted by wearing suits in roles where suits are not really warranted. Female aspirers are noted by their dynamic trouser-suits. They only acknowledge tutors and their own admin staff while constantly seeking approval and trying to impress senior management.

You can spot Managers by their fast, determined walk- these are important people who have to get to places quickly so they can do important things. They will speak only to other managers, their personal bitch and senior management.

Senior Management– you can spot this lot by the rays of light that emanate from their trousers and the angelic choir that announces their presence in a room. Seriously- watch these people, they’ve shat on many to get where they are. The lower you are the less you matter to this lot. Admin staff, bar their own PA probably just appear as those squiggly things you get in your peripheral vision. Anyone lower than that… Nothing. Remember Mount Olympus in Clash of the Titans? Zeus and them with their clay figures? Yeah- that’s the principal’s office.

So there you have it. In total I’ve served eight years in this institution and these are my findings from this time.

Till next time x