Wednesday, 30 September 2009

So What Now?

Do you know what advert really bugs the crap out of me at the moment (apart from that bloody Aviva 'Green Army' one), it's this:

So, you're advertising for teachers eh? Must be a big shortage? Not bloody likely!

Last night I took another step on this long journaey to becoming a teacher. My first plan for teacher training was something called the GTP (graduate teacher programme) where you train on the job, perfect when you're in your 30s and need to earn money too. However, it looked to be too competitive so I'd shelved that idea when I had the bright idea to go into secondary instead.

So, a couple of weeks ago I'm browsing education vacancies when I come across an advert for the GTP. They're advertising? I wonder if there's a shortage now? So I put my name down and was invited to a meeting last night. It was run by a consortium for the local area and they have 20 places available for next September...324 of us turned up!

OK me thinks, don't let the competition put you off, someone's got to get it and you're a good candidate. That was until the woman who runs it started speaking. Her opening line was if you have kids, there's the door, unless you want to spend a year not seeing them. Er, what?! She said you had to work every evening and every weekend and so if you had a family you had to be prepared to not see them for 12 months. Sorry, I think I'm in the wrong meeting, I didn't realise you were signing up people for a stint in Afghanistan!

Why would they want to recruit people to work with young children who had no interest in spending time with their own young children? I know teaching isn't the cushy number people think, you don't get to work just school hours and I'm more than prepared for full time hours, bringing marking home etc; but to have no time for your own kids at all?

So, swift exit I make then spend the journey home contemplating what next? Why is teaching so hard to get in to when they're still advertising for teachers. I can't even get interviews for Teaching Assistant posts at the moment. So, my options seem to be:

1) Apply for a traditional PGCE next Sept where I have a 1 in 5 chance of getting on (not to mention the competition after it's complete for a teaching post).

2) Go and work in school unpaid (yeah, we've not got a mortgage or anything)

3) Go back to secondary and risk life and limb every day (er, nope!)

4) Go teach in prisons (which is infinately more appealing than secondary!)

5) Go teach in FE (but you need experience to get on the PGCE for that, but to get a job in FE you need experience in FE!)

6) Sack the whole thing off and look at a different career (answers on a postcard please!)

I said to Rob last night that I may aswell said I want to be a rock star, I think I'd have stood more chance!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Look What I Got!!

My very own bona fide belly dancing coin belt! Can shimmy till my heart's content any time I want now!

Monday, 28 September 2009

This Week I Will Be Mainly...

... doing pretty much exactly what I did last week!

Still on with the assignment but it's coming together. Have written the main body of the text so am just going through and adding more references. Then I need to write an intro and a conclusion, then it's proof reading, bibliographies, finding some poor sod to read it through for me (Rob, you know it's you!).

I will also be carrying on with the job applications, though it seems pretty fruitless. They just don't believe that when you've got a degree you want to go work as a TA for tuppence ha'penny an hour! But, I will keep trying. Tomorrow I'm going to a meeting to see about applying for a Primary GTP (Graduate Teacher programme) next September. It's where you do teacher training but on the job. It's very competitive but you don't know if you don't try right?!

On Saturday we have a wedding to go to, Rob's friend from work Rose. I also know Rose as she's a fellow heart patient so we've talked quite a bit. It was supposed to be an 'all day drinking, staying in a hotel' job as we're going with our friends Mandy and Nick. However, after yesterday's hangover (drinking with Gem's best mate Adele; should have known our Gem only has friends who can attempt to keep up with her and Dave!), I've decided a hangover 2 days before the biggest assignment of my life has to be posted off probably ain't such a good idea! So it's a 'save £50 on a hotel and drive' do now!

On Sunday, I have plans for this:

With the Autumn cooler weather coming in fast now, I decided to make Sundays 'Harry Potter Sundays' where we spend the with curtains drawn, get the blanket out and veg infront of a Harry Potter film. We started yesterday on film 1 and so have another 4 weeks until we're done (unless number 6 comes out on dvd before then) then I will change it to something like Toy Story Sunday. Was going to go for LOTR Sundays but the chances of either of my kids sitting through 4 hours of Orcs isn't too promising!
So there you go, hopefully a queitish week. Hope everyone else has a lovely week!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Back To A Bit Of Scrapping Normality!

I realised the other day it's been a long time since I've sat down and done a normal 12 x 12" scrapbook layout. In August there was the mini book challenge on UKS, plus a new love of knitting toys! Then this month there's been LSNED to do every day, plus I've been busy finishing off the wedding album for Gemma and Dave. So, in the midst of all that my poor 12 x 12 albums have been gathering a bit of dust!

However, yesterday was the Leeds Paper Dolls crop so I had a day of scrapping loveliness to look forward to. And, who better to take along to my favourite crafting place in the whole world but my favourite crafty lady in the whole world, Marie!

Marie's crop shut down a while ago so the poor thing's been cropless for ages, so she tootled over the hills for a day of scrapping. It's only the second time we've ever scrapped in real life (as opposed to chatting online whilst scrapping 60 miles apart!) and we had a fab day just doing layouts, drinking coffee and putting the world to rights!

Anyway, I decided to do layouts for my Antigua album. I really want to get it done as I can't think of anything worse than sat in the middle of a cold and rainy British winter scrapping white sandy beaches and blue seas!

I got three LOs done, first up the famous Antiguan cocktails:

Then Emily's idyllic Antiguan hairdressers:

And finally a classic Antiguan Hawaiin night (?!):

Thanks to Marie for coming over and playing out for the day, I hope you can do it again. And thanks to all the LPD ladies for another fun day!

Friday, 25 September 2009

The Wedding Album

Finally, after 3 months Gem and Dave's wedding scrapbook is finally finished. Enjoy!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

So Doctors Do Give Out Good News!

So, I think it's fair to say that I don't relish visits to any type of medical person these days. In the last year or so I don't think any of the checkups have left me feeling overly positive, so it was with some apprehension that I took myself off to my GP's yesterday morning for a review of my BP meds.

With everything going on this month, I was not expecting my BP to be behaving (ask Ally Andbag how much I was whinging at the weeknd over my glass of wine that this could be the last wine I ever drank if they put me on more meds!).

So, I nearly collapsed on the floor when I had a fairly normal reading: 120/80! OK, not out of the woods yet (I need it lower than the average person at 120/70 to protect the stent allegedly) but a marked improvement on last month's 148/93! Hopefully that means that these meds are working, but I'm also wondering if a certain bout of healthy eating and getting my shimmy on at the local belly dancing class could be helping?!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

LSNED Update

I've been keeping up with LSNED OK, just not keeping up with uploading pics! So, here's a slideshow of Sept 13th - 22nd!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

This Week I Will Be Mainly...

...forgetting to post this on a Monday it would seem!

Still on with the assignment this week, coupled with filling in these:
Piles of job applications for positions I probably won't even get an interview for, but you don't know if you don't try.

Then more job hunting, more essaying and hopefully a bit of time playing with Xander's new toys!

Must fly, dullness awaits!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Birthdays, Dinosaurs, Chameleons and Reindeers!

Xander had a wonderful birthday yesterday. The day started with presents including his brand new shiny car park:
Then he and I headed off to Ponderosa rare breeds farm with Auntie Laura and his fave little cousin, Evie. We saw some cool animals: there was a chameleon having breakfast:

Baby snakes eating mice that were twice their size:

And while we were eating our picnic, a reindeer came to say hello (apparently Ponderosa look after them while Santa spends the year making all the toys ;)):

Afterwards (and after an afternoon nap) we headed out for tea with Grandma, Nanna, Auntie Gemma and Uncle Dave, then it was back to ours for more pressies. The biggest hit with the adults had to be T-Rex:

Though it did go a bit pear-shaped when it terrorised the brand new shiny car park and ate the helicopter:

Then it was time for bed for a very tired 3-year-old, dressed in brand new PJs from Evie and snuggling up with monkee:

...and Steggy:

Today's the party, fancy dress! Watch out tomorrow for pirates, princesses and a rrther muscular birthday boy!

Friday, 18 September 2009

(Birthday) Boys Will Be Boys!

Happy birthday to my favourite boy in the whole world! Today is Xander's birthday and I was just sat here wondering if my baby could really be grown up enough to be 3, when he confirmed that he is no longer a baby and is a proper bona fide boy:

Old McDonald had a trump? Hmmm, me thinks someone shouldn't be allowed boy time with Daddy anymore!

Happy birthday my beautiful boy! :)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Messy (But Fun!) Pre-Birthday Preparations

I decided it might be fun for the kids to help with some of the birthday stuff. Xander's not going to nursery tomorrow as he has a fun day out planned with his fave little cousin Evie, so I thought I'd send some buns in for all the kids at nursery today instead.

So, yesterday teatime I set the kids to work! While Emily sifted flour Xander set out the bun cases (lots of different colours, just to cause arguments (mwahahaha!)):
He and Emily then spooned the mixture into the bun cases, which they loved as it was all gloopy!

Mummy put them in the oven as Xander kept reminding me a la Big Cook Little Cook that the oven was 'hot, hot, hot!' and the kids got to work on cleaning the bowls:

After tea it was time to decorate the buns, so mummy poured on the melted chocolate and Xan and Em added some Smarties:

And how excited was Xander this morning when he realised that he got to take them for all his friends!

I hope they all enjoyed them! On further baking news, the birthday cake is in the oven and smells fab! Fingers crossed I can make it look something like a carpark!

Monday, 14 September 2009

This Week I Will Be Mainly...

...getting stuck into this:
The deadline for the examinable and last assignment of my degree is due at the beginning of Oct and so I have reserach and analysis galore to do this week. I need a good mark to secure a 2:1 so need to throw everything I've got at this one!

However, the big news for this week is that this little fella turns a great big grown up 3!

So, party preparations need finalising, presents need to built and wrapped and I need to get this head on...

...and make the requested 'car park' birthday cake (yes, my son wants a car park for a cake!).
Xander's very excited, he keeps saying "!" and running round like a giddy kipper!
However, for now it's on with the assignment before I start worrying about icing and food colourings!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sometimes You Just Can't Beat The Look On Their Face!

So, to say Emily has begged and begged for horse riding lessons for the last 6 months is a bit of an understatement! There's not a day gone by where she hasn't sat watching The Saddle Club with a look of longing on her face!

So, Rob and I decided that, after 6 months it probably wasn't just a whim, and yesterday morning we drove her to the local riding school. We didn't tell her where we were going so, as I drove, Rob sat there, mobile at the ready, to capture the look on her face when she clicked what was going on. It was priceless!

We got her kitted out with a helmet and then she went off to meet her pony, Dolly.

She did really well. In just half an hour she learnt how to hold the reigns, how to speed up, slow down and get Dolly to trot. Not bad me thinks!

Yesterday was also Rob's birthday so we spent the afternoon just chilling. We went for coffee and birthday cake at a local coffee shop, then came home and chilled in the garden with a glass of wine. The plan was to go out for tea but the weather was so lovely we had a BBQ instead, with some gorgeous steaks from our fab local butcher. Then last night we had a little Metallica Guitar Hero contest before settling down to Rob's new dvd boxset of Dexter. All in all I think he had a great day; nothing too exciting but you have to slow down at his age you know! ;)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

My Week In LSNED

Well, what a week it's been! I could have filled the LSNED journal every day with this learning curve, no make that learning vertical line, I've been on. Long story short, I quit the job! Not one to normally give up so easily but there were lots of health issues that occurred when faced with teenagers telling you that if they see you in the street they're going to kick you in the head, so I'm out! Here's the LSNED pages that illustrate my week:

Monday - first day with my new class. We went to the form room and it took me about 30 seconds to realise this:
There is not a cat in hell's chance that I ever want to deal with these obnoxious, rude, disrespectful little gits! I've been a teenager, I know that they're moody, a bit attitudey and that life basically isn't fair to them, but this lot were a different breed! I only hope that my own children will never show such a blatant lack of respect to their teachers, I would be mortified to think they ever did.

On to Tuesday, I then had my form for Maths along with a new teacher Mark. The poor guy! He was so confident, well planned etc for the lesson and they were awful! I gave out 2 detentions, countless written and verbal warnings and no work got done. Afterwards Mark and I went back to the staffroom and my heart was pounding. Uh-oh, not good. The problem was it wouldn't slow down and I got worried. The odd bit of excitement/stress can't be helped and palpitations will happen, but this wasn't slowing down and I had to do some quick thinking. I went to see the non-teaching organiser and told her I couldn't deal with that class. They said they'd reorganise stuff so I didn't have to.

Lesson learnt on Tuesday though is this:

Whatever decisions I make in the future, my heart condition is going to have to be pivotal in whatever I decide. I don't ever want to end up back in that hospital due to a job, nothing's worth that.

Wednesday I went in all refreshed and ready to kick arse. I walked in the form and screamed at my class! 'I am ashamed, it is unacceptable, it will NOT happen again will it Year 8' etc etc. The little ASBOs actually shut up and said 'No Miss!' Wow, turn around! We went to Maths and they were good as gold. So, maybe yesterday was a one off then?

The prompt for today was to look at the small things you are grateful for. I love my coffee but this week it has been particularly useful for getting me through the day. I also love this thermos mug I got at Disneyland, sums me up on a morning perfectly! Journalling reads:

Today I learnt that I'm grateful for the simple pleasures that get me through the day, like a good coffee.

However, by Wednesday afternoon, after another 2 bad classes I quit. 3 heart episodes in a week is not good and I don't have the luxury of giving it longer to see if it'll get better. They asked me to stay on to the end of the week.

Thursday morning and I had some lovely classes. I was in with the advanced students and the job is so much different when the kids want to learn. Had I made a mistake resigning? Then, after lunch, we had Maths with my newly reformed angelic form...oh my god! What a nightmare! Mark and I spent all lesson shouting, handing out detentions etc. I went back to the staffroom a wreck, couldn't go to my next class (who I'd had a nightmare with the day before). I looked at my timetable for Friday, 4 out of 5 lessons with bad classes. My heart was pounding, I was feeling ill and I could see that hospital getting nearer and nearer. I sent an email saying I would be taking Friday off sick!

So, comes home to my Shimelle prompt, to learn something from your house, something you see everyday. My house was looking so inviting after the last few days and I could have scrapped about the whole place! However, that night I went to bed and Salem came up with me. I hadn't really noticed that he plans his sleeps around me and always comes for a cuddle when I get into bed. After a awful few days it was just what I needed and decided he deserved to be in the famous LSNED journal! Notoriously hard to picture being a black cat it did take a few goes to get decent pics of him, but it turned out fine. Journalling reads:

It's not the soft furnishings that make my house so comfortable. Although the soft furnishings on my bed are very comfortable, it's the addition of Salem that make it lovely and cozy!

So, onwards and upwards! I have a plan but that's for today's page (ie, what I learnt yesterday). plus busy day today as a certain person in our house gets further down that slippery slope to 40, so there'll be plenty to blog about tomorrow!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Back To School...Yet Again!

Can it really be the 4th year we've had the first day of a new school year for Emily?! Not 2 minutes ago since this little girl was about to start reception:
(Hmmm, could only find pics of her trying on her first uniform, hence the label still on the cardi and the hair do!).

And yet yesterday, this young lady set off to year 3 (key stage 2 now don't you know?!):

Bless her, she loves it aswell and is feeling very grown up at finally being in the grown up part of the school (key stage 1 aren't allowed in their playground apparently, for key stage 2 only!)

let's hope the enthusiasm lasts!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Mummy Multi-Tasking

One thing I've let slide in the last week or so is the exercise. There just aren't enough hours in the day at the moment! However, with this wonky blood pressure of mine it's important I get some exercise in. I'm no longer doing the school run on foot (it literally doesn't open early enough for me to walk there and back and get to work on time!) so I'm relying on my old trusty Wii Fit to keep me fit.

The trouble with the Wii Fit is Xander loves it and will fight to the death to get on it. As I don't really want to spend my weekends away from the kids if I don't have to, I don't want to banish him while I go on it, so I came up with an idea...

We have some body fat monitors upstairs that look a little like a Wii board. Xander likes weighing himself on it so I know he loves to play on it. So, down I brings it, gave him a Wii control and switched it on. Hurray, 40 minutes of keeping fit and lovely fun mummy/son time!

Yay, I am the multi-tasking queen!

Tomorrow...spending quality time with Em while sat on the loo! :P

Saturday, 5 September 2009

More Lessons Learnt

Another couple of pages from LSNED class. I think a lot of these pages are going to be about starting work again and all the rollercoaster emotions etc that come with that!

On Thursday, the prompt suggested thinking about your feet and what they do for you. I had my first back to work wobble on Thurs and was very tempted at one stage to do a runner! Fortunately I didn't, I just rode it out and so I congratulated my feet for keeping me grounded:

Yesterday I was driving home thinking about how different my time has been with the kids over the last few days. I've gone from 6 weeks of screaming at them and tearing my hair out 24/7 to having a few precious hours a day where I'm just loving their company. I miss them so much while I'm at work so as soon as I get home we're on a great footing!

So, the weekend, away from work, wonder what non-work lessons there are for me?

Thursday, 3 September 2009

What I Learnt So Far...

So, it's day 3 of Shimelle's LSNED class and here's what I've learnt so far.

1st Sept I learnt that sometimes things aren't as complicated as they look. As blogged the other day, I knitted Steggy and it was so much easier than it looked. A week ago I would have been petrified of attempting this but it just goes to show that if you try something, it can be easier than it looks!

2nd Sept was my first day back at work so I learnt a lot. However, I chose this exercise we did about a goldfish bowl. We were asked to draw a goldfish bowl, that was the only instruction; then we passed them to someone else to mark. It was only then that we were given the marking criteria which was to include fish, plants, pebbles, waterline etc. The point being that you need to tell the kids what you expect before and they can't attain 100% unless you tell them that. I thought it was a good way of showing us that.

Today's prompt is to do with feet. Not sure if I want to take a pic of my hobbit plates of meat!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Meet Steggy!

After my knitting success last week, I got all excited and went and got some knitting books from the library, including a gorgeous, gorgeous toy one. Read it Saturday night (so rock n roll!) and picked out my projects. Decided to start with (what the book rated) a simple one, another present for Xander's birthday. After a huge wool search (which culminated in me finding a fab local wool shop!) I settled down with some big needles, big snuggly wool and, in 3 hours, knitted steggy:

Love him! Can't believe how easy he was to knit! I feel some more steggy knitting coming on!