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About pants

Does this change the 'about me' and if not, how do I change it?!?!

Church is bloody boring

It could just be me though!

We haven’t been to church in the morning for months / years because Alien doesn’t enjoy it and gets bored (and actually, so do I!!). A couple of days ago we were talking about the Easter story and Palm Sunday. I told her that at the Palm Sunday service everyone gets given a palm, and sometimes there’s a little procession, to remind us of Jesus going into Jerusalem. She said she wanted to go to church.

I thought, since it was a family service, it might be good to show her that church isn’t all boring. On the way, we realised that this was the first time she’d been since she’d learnt to read quite well, so she could join in the congregational bits on the service sheet and try to sing the hymns / songs. This was exciting too.

When the service started the interest / excitement was very much still there. The first hymn (You are the King of Glory) was fairly easy words and with the repeated bit. That was exciting and meant singing along and joining in was possible. There were congregational responses which were words that could be understood. The bible reading even talked about Jesus coming into Jerusalem. Cool. It was all making sense, and was engaging and interesting.

Then the constant voice talking started. It just seemed to keep going. It was using big words which didn’t make much sense. Then there was a prayer with big words. Don’t know what they said or what they meant. But that’s okay, a trip to the loo meant a bit of a break. Then we were told we could shout ‘hosanna’ as loud as we could, cos Jesus even said the children could be loud too. So she did. Shame not many others did. Time for another hymn. Haven’t a clue what this one was about. Big words again. Slow tune. Can’t dance, clap or anything really. Can’t even join in singing or reading the words.

Time to go outside. Witness to the world. Sing on the grass outside church in the beautiful sunlight. Shame we don’t understand these words either. Or that it’s a boring tune. Or that everyone is just standing still. Ah well, time to go back inside again.

Sermon time. Man talking. Big words. Talking. Still talking. Bored now. Shall we go home now?

The End

And so it’s over. Yesterday was my last day at school.

To carry on from where I left off on the last installment of the job saga…

Having handed in my notice, there was the issue of ‘what next’. So the job hunt began. I got all excited at the idea of teaching abroad. Alien is young, Socks is self employed, the world is our oyster, we could go anywhere, do anything! So, I applied for a teaching job in Tanzania, having been there in my gap year and loved it. Actually, I applied for 2 by accident!! I did the application for one and sent it off, then realised that it wasn’t the one that I’d meant to, so I applied for that one too!

I was rather surprised in the following week to receive invitations to London to interview by both schools!! I went to the first interview, which was for the school I preferred the look of, and the interview went extremely well. That evening Socks and I were discussing it, and he decided, for a variety of reasons, that it wasn’t the right thing for us to be doing. I therefore had to contact both schools and withdraw my application. The atmosphere the following week (or so!!) at home wasn’t the most pleasant!!!

Having discounted jobs abroad, that left me with the depressing thought of teaching in the UK. So instead, I’m having a sabbatical!!! I’m so so so tired – physically and mentally, and I missing out of lots of Alien’s school stuff, and generally seeing her. Socks is also at the point in his business where he almost, but not quite, needs to employ someone, so this all led us to decide that I’d stay at home for a term. The theory is that I will then return to teaching in September, although so far I’ve only actually applied for one job!!

Which brings us to now – pretty much the whole range of emotions going on! Relief that stress and pressure has gone, much sadness that I’ve abandoned my class before the end of term and that I’ve left a fantastic community and family school with lots of lovely people, fear that I don’t know what is ‘next’ in life and that our income is drastically cut, pleased to have the chance to chill and just be (to an extent at least!!), scared of the growing list of tasks to be done, happy to be able to be a ‘proper’ mum to Alien for a bit, so many emotions!!!

This, in theory, means that there might be more blogging going on too because I’ve actually got some time now!

Age appropriateness

My five year old came home yesterday telling me that if you drink lots of alcohol you go all wobbly, and if you smoke ‘yukkies’ (what we’ve always called cigarrettes!!) your lungs get smaller and you will be very poorly. And that sometimes people have stuff like flour that makes you ill too. She also started looking at the labels on all the food to check that the ‘circle’ is green because red and orange are bad for you.

Now it may just be me, but I don’t want my 5 year old to be thinking or worring about any of that. I know I’m ok enough as a parent to make sure my child is eating a balanced diet. There is NOTHING wrong with the ‘orange’ and ‘red’ coloured circled stuff, in moderation, along with most things in moderation.

As for the alcohol, drugs and cigarettes bit – I’m appalled. She’s an innocent little girl who lives in a village rather than a city which is rife with it all. Yes, she needs to know these things, but can’t she just enjoy being a child right now?

One day last week she came home telling us about various things which she has a right to have – education, shelter etc etc. Again, my response was along the lines of the fact that she’s only 5 – can’t she just enjoy life?!!

Is it just me? Am I being unreasonable and trying to protect my ‘little princess’?!!

The Latest

I realised that I didn’t update with my work discussions that I’d started / commented on below. Not that it’s anything different from my usual blogging, inasmuch as I keep forgetting to blog anyway, so it doesn’t make any difference!

Anyway, just in case anyone is interested, I quit!

After having feedback from the third observation in one week, where I’d been told I was crap and that I wasn’t doing anything that I was meant to be doing, I got a little upset. I went for a walk around the village to ‘calm down’ but when I got back to school a member of staff asked if I was okay and I burst into tears again. At this point I went and got my bike gear on and on the way out said to the HT that I was in no fit state to teach, and went home and wrote my resignation.

There was some attempt to convince me otherwise, but unless one individual suddenly changed, that wasn’t going to happen. I’m not so up my own arse to think that I’m a perfect teacher, however I do know that the kids I teach academically achieve quite well (not neccesarily outstandingly, but acceptably, if not more so), are definitely happy and also get many varied experiences, self esteem / confidence boosting, individual care and so on which will benefit them in ‘life’. I know that I work my butt off to help my colleages and the whole school as a community.

Clearly all this isn’t enough – I need to be looking smart at all times, keeping my desk and room generally spotless (ensuring all children pick up everything and anything), being polite and smiling to everyone at all times, without fail. I must make sure in every single lesson that every single child is ‘on task’ and challenged at every single moment of the day, that they are leading their own learning and that we are not using any textbooks (which are boring). I need to ensure that every objective is achieved and that each child knows that they have achieved that objective and what they need to do next to achieve the next objective. I need to ensure that children take pride in every single piece of work – written or practical, making sure that it is the best they are capable of and that it has full learning potential at every moment. I have to ensure that children are quiet at all times, even when working (constructive talk only) with partners or in groups. I have to be constantly assessing everything that is said or done, keeping evidence and logging it all, as well as giving ongoing feedback to the pupils.

I need to plan for and ensure that all other adults in the room are working to their full capacity – working with children at all times. I should be coaching and mentoring other staff, setting a perfect example of how to work through my teaching, classroom and display. My planning should be detailed and thorough, but not too planned as I need to ensure the learning is led by the children.

Sorry, I think I might’ve got a little carried away there! The thing I was really trying to say was that I have tried to do the things I’ve been asked, but in the process of doing them I might’ve not been doing other things instead, which isn’t good enough.

Having handed in my resignation, we then had Ofsted come a couple of weeks later. It went okay, but as ever, we’re only satisfactory with some good. The bar has been raised. Last time they came 3 years ago we were satisfactory. IMHO the school has improved immensely and hugely. But then, what do I know, I’m a crap teacher.

Anyway, life has continued. I seem to have continued working my butt off (and have just led the school to achieve the Sing Up Gold Award, organised and led a Sing Up Day, been chosen (because I entered children for something else) as one of only 7 schools to do some RE work with my children which is to contribute to a well known website / publication, am preparing children for a Public Speaking competition and a Nature Quiz (neither of which I entered the children for!!), have met with a couple of professionals and implemented plans to aid individuals in their behaviour and learning, have completed various assessments which show that every child is exceeding their targets, in addition to ‘normal’ teaching!!!) and I’m looking forward to finishing this post at Easter!!

I will miss the children immensely, but I’m worn out.

To be continued… (soft play with Alien is calling!!!)

Sculpture – Crucible Exhibition 2010

According to Gloucester Cathedral‘s website,

Crucible is one of the largest and most important exhibitions of contemporary sculpture to take place in Britain during the past decade.

It even has it’s own website.

It was a huge exhibition, and made the cathedral look very ‘strange’ in places. But some of the works were amazing. I was just disappointed that there wasn’t enough information about them all (although I did see someone walking around with a big book which looked like it had full details in it!).

I took quite a few photos, lots of which are on My Flickr page. But here are my two favourite sculptures. They are both amazing pieces, but also both very disturbing.

I just started typing why I like them, but I think I’ll just leave it up to you to see what you think.

‘Calvary’ by David Mach RA, made from Steel and wire coat hangers

‘St Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain’ by Damien Hirst

We went up to the whispering gallery and I took a random pic from up there, which I really like.

What they fail to notice

2006 90% 100% 81.8% 81.8%
2007 100% 100% 100% 100%
2008 70% 70% 90% 90%
2009 57.1% 71.4% 57% 57.1%

Having these figures presented to me yesterday helps me to begin to understand why those ‘on high’ deemed us to be rubbish and in need of turning into robots.

What those sadly failed to then take into account is that a small place is so very different from a large place. Statistics with percentages just do not work when you are looking at a maximum of 10 in each group. When it gets down to only 6, it gets just plain stupid. Is that not just common sense? If you have 1 in a group of 6 being poor and 1 in a group of 30 it makes for rather different percentages.

You’d think people who are meant to be intelligent might realise that. But sadly, it would appear not.