Read all about it right here! The crazy goings-on at Abu Dhabi Wankers' Camp ... er, sorry - Abu Dhabi Women's College!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Staff Appreciation, HCT Style!

A Contemporary History of ADWC, 2009 - 2010, Semester 2

Semester Two began with a flurry of resignations, both of staff and of hopes. Right off the bat, the Indian Wallah who oversaw the HD professionals put out the new ‘Observation Directive’, which was three observations over the year by supervisors. This regime of tireless scrutiny would involve one observation announced per semester and one unannounced over the year. Plus, there were to be two peer observations per year, where staff could be either the observer or observed. Obviously, the staff of ADWC were so lacking in competence they needed to have numerous ‘experts’ watching them teach!

This incredibly paranoid policy led to at least one instructor near the end of the term being observed FIVE times in a TWO WEEK period as the South Asian ‘supervisor’ was so inept at his job that he hadn’t conducted observations during the first semester, save for the new hires, as he was obliged to do in order to either pass or fail them on probation. Of course, all the new staff passed as there were students to teach. Think about it - FIVE observations in a two-week period!

When it came to the PEPs to be done, so much was put on the overworked HD staff that the ‘Supervisor’ failed to meet his own deadline in the 1st semester, and only got around to the preliminary and final discussion of the PEPs near the end of the 2nd semester, thus showing what kind of joke the PEPs really were in their minds. He so completely fell on his face!

Then there was the Ajayaluna ‘celebration’, a programmed event held every year. The HD lackey had so little foresight that he and his right-hand debutante of a “lead faculty” hurriedly assigned roles to their scant staff just two weeks before the event was to happen, sending them in every direction of the wind to run down students who had changed campuses or classes, had been eliminated, and otherwise were unidentifiable as they didn’t have the sense to write their names on their work. Of course, it HAD to be done as we were no longer professional teachers, we were event organizers. What a joke! At the Khalifa campus, incompetence was a ‘trickle-down’ event, and the poor teachers who tried to make it all work were the ones being trickled upon. In any event, the illusion held and the management were seen to be the victors.

There wasn’t to be a 2nd “Policy Council” meeting at the new campus, as a rainstorm had destroyed the meeting room - not to mention shown up the myriad other design flaws in the building. The fire marshal had determined that the building was so compromised that it wasn’t considered inhabitable. However, in true Khalifa management fashion, this applied only to the students, who were of course evacuated. Yet the staff were to be kept there for the entire day, building standing or not.

Then there was the announcement that there wouldn’t be an advance of salary for the summer, as the banking system had advanced so much that we could now draw our summer pay through the wide network of UNB ATMs around the world. Yeh, sure. Once again the management goonery had failed to do its homework, not realising that UNB debit cards do not work outside the Gulf! The unfortunate truth was that the HCT had become so cash-anaemic that they couldn’t even afford to purchase a 2nd refrigerator for the ever-expanding staff at the desert campus.

Later on it was announced that there was to be no annual raise or performance-related incentive. This was later revised, although the real reason was that the Ministry had run out of patience with the HCT in not gaining accreditation system-wide, that they had gone from a yearly/biannual budget to attaching funding to student populations. As more students saw how much of a joke the HCT had become and opted for other resources, namely ZU and private universities and colleges, the money was drying up. Also, the HCT now gets it funding on a month-to-month basis, so the purse strings are taut.

This professional alienation lasted for the entire year, only to be topped at the end of Semester 2 by the firing of a large part of the Khalifa HD staff on ‘Staff Appreciation Day’ - a mere two days before the end of the semester. Just when we thought that the upper management of the ADW campus had reached their personal peak of professional disrespect and contempt, they showed us all how low they could really go.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Khalifa Tales (contd.)

A Contemporary History of ADWC, 2009 - 2010, Semester 1 (Part 2)

The first time it rained at Khalifa we had a waterfall in the library (which by the way had NOT been budgeted for, and so was, and is, quite barren). Oh, and one in the foyer too. The third floor and most of the second floor was unusable for weeks – most of the semester in fact. There was no bandwidth to speak of for the technology (get it – HCT!) to be usable. Teachers who really wanted to teach had to develop ‘fallback’ lesson plans if there was any ‘technology’ involved in their lessons. In fact, near the beginning of the banishment, the teachers were told NOT to do too many online lessons as the new ‘management’ considered that teachers “weren’t teaching” if students were instructed to work on and complete online assignments. Actually, the students were lazy and annoyed that teachers who had assigned online worked actually walked around the room redirecting them out of chat rooms and IMs to actually perform the work.

And the clocks didn’t work. One time, just see how out of sync they were, I travelled to the classroom next door and saw a TEN MINUTE discrepancy between my classroom clock and the other. Then, the incompetent wife of another school’s supervisor was put in charge of ‘facilities’. She was so good at her job and so eager to show that she was making headway that the ‘temporary desks’ that had been assigned us to about six weeks into the semester were replaced by - get this - NEW ‘temporary desks’! And how were we informed of this? Of course, by arriving the usual 30 minutes before class began to find that HALF of the teaching staff’s stuff had been unceremoniously dumped on the floor so the NEW ‘temporary desks’ could be assembled. There then ensued another week or so of trying to sort out your stuff from other people’s. Oh, and don’t even ask about the ‘canteen’. It didn’t exist, except for the unsavoury crap that was brought in by lorry. Truly the mark of a 1st Class institution!

Eventually, the despicable CLAW and the joke of a temporary director came out to much fanfare to inform the ‘students’ of the new attendance standards which included them having to sign in by scanning their student cards, thereby giving upper management instant ass-coverage should a student be kicked out for lax attendance. At the end, the joke and the CLAW offered for any students who wanted to talk to them to come up to the table. They were overwhelmed! Students surged up to the table, whilst staff went off to their duties … only the next day to see the Stasi supervisors in the hallways noting down the teachers who were ‘late’ for class, even though some of us had reset our watches to the clocks on the walls of our classrooms to get there by class time. You see, the surge of students had complained en masse that if THEY were to be held accountable, why weren’t the teachers? The idiots! Teachers who arrived ‘late’ because the clock on the wall was off gave the lax students cover in coming in late. Their bitching had bit them in the ass and they were too stupid to realize it!

It was then that the weak excuse/parrot who ‘supervised’ the Higher Diploma called in the team members – disillusioned teaching staff - to individually inform them that he’d been instructed (i.e. programmed) to inform them that they “were not to rest on past laurels”. What a pile of shit! What is a CV if nothing more than ‘past laurels’? It didn’t much matter to him. As an Indian, he was used to following white people’s orders. It meant nothing to him at all.

The big news towards the end of the semester was that the exalted halls of the new campus were to be the venue of the ‘Policy Council’ – or rather, Tubby’s decision-endorsing committee. We were hurriedly moved into our new apparently ‘permanent’ offices to give the illusion of professional infrastructure. Of course, those ‘permanent’ offices were made temporary as staff were told to have everything back into boxes as new offices were going to be developed over the summer break. Oh, yes! Hardly a box was to be seen in the hallways (there was no other place to put our uprooted items for months other than boxes) and the desks were to be ship-shape as we all know that industrious teachers have perfectly-organized desk tops.

Then, finally, the end of semester one crept upon us. What a relief!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Gulag 41012 Inmate Writes...

Contemporary History of ADWC, 2009-10, Semester 1 (part 1)

The ADW was a fine place to be when the now provost of Southern Utah University was at the helm. He definitely wasn't a favourite of the British types in management (that’s to say, everyone but him) and he certainly didn't hold up to the warm hall-roaming, class teaching example of Nic Gara, the previous director, but everybody has his style. At least he kept things together. More importantly, his rather long-winded bar chart presentations demonstrated how the school was producing stellar results and the staff, on the whole, felt that the long hours that they were sometimes required to put in were appreciated and worthwhile.

But then just about everything, seemingly overnight, changed. With his departure, Tubby the Kamel, who'd obviously been chomping at the bit to bring who knows the f*c* what to the ADW, projected that vile specimen from RAK into the position of acting director to do his bidding. And from that day on, things just went from bad to BAD to much, much worse!

The first hint that things were never to be the same, and the start of the big slide into one unbelievable professional insult after another, was when the staff showed up in August as required and were confronted with a billboard detailing where their new pods would be. Obviously, it had been planned with the precision of MOSSAD. The entire campus had been torn up internally over the summer, creating office space where there had been classrooms, and classrooms where there had been offices. Different departments had been dispersed to different blocks (a laughable irony as the previous administration had, with no success, ran a campaign to rename the ‘blocks’ as ‘block’ sounded "too much like a prison term"). Ha! Irony indeed, as a prison it soon became.

The Claw set up a series of ‘sally ports’, or choke points , just like in a prison, where the population can be controlled as to their movement. When the new offices were established, choke points were placed at the entrance of all the office entrances with a supervisor's office located at each of the sally ports (erm, sorry - entrances).

However, this was for the relatively fortunate staff. The luckless others were exiled to the new facility at Khalifa A, a desert-like suburb that was a beehive of construction activity as most of it was unfinished. Let's not even discuss the meetings that took place over the past years that promised that staff would be rotated between the campuses every semester. There would be no parole for those who were sentenced to the new, unfinished monstrosity. Now, instead of a cross-town drive that took 15-20 minutes, at times, to get to work, they were forced into a 45-60 minute drive (depending on where you lived) to the new excuse of a campus, through sometimes murderous traffic, being sure to get there for the 8 a.m. start. As Khalifa A was considered “just off the island” by the management goons with a sense of humour, suggestions for compensation for fuel were actually laughed at (some joke!). For me, filling my tank every three weeks for the city driving that I engaged in has now become a weekly ritual.

Practically nothing worked from the first day at the new campus. As the classrooms were considerably larger than ones at the city campus, it was decided that more students could be put into them, resulting in as many as 30 students in each class. As the Higher Diploma supervisor had never had to mark and individually revise 29 to 30 writing practices or test, he had no idea, nor did he care, how much extra work this involved. Later, he ordered a number of teachers to perform mandatory overtime in a bid to “reduce class sizes”. In fact, this bumbling idiot had no ability to recognize the fact that the unfortunates who were chosen to do the extra classes actually saw an INCREASE in student numbers and associated work.

To Be Continued…