Waiting Teachers

It is Friday morning and some teachers are sitting in the (often-absent) principal's office. They have just heard that their working conditions – hours, shifts, responsibilities, calculation of salary, etc – have once again been changed by their (almost always absent) boss. One month they may have to work or be on-call at the small private boarding school all day every second day; the next month it is back to 12 hours a day, six days a week. They don't like it, but teachers are common and many new ones are produced every year. These old teachers have little chance of permanent employment in a government school – if there was, they wouldn't be here. It is not clear whether they are engaged in passing time for the sake of it or whether they are awaiting and preparing for yet another unwelcome and inevitable negotiation.