Tuesday, 27 September 2011

100 WCGU week 12

Goodness, Julia set a challenge this week. Economics is NOT my forte and I initially tried to do something comedic along the lines of soaring temperatures or the NASA satellite...bad ideas which crashed and burnt spectacularly! So I have had a go at writing a serious piece along the lines of a (very brief) article in a broadsheet.
Its not the type of thing I would usually write (or read!) so am taking a bit of a gamble here. As a teacher I  am always encouraging children to move out of their comfort zones, so well done again to Julia for reminding me what that feels like!
Here it is:

Overnight, markets across Europe have crashed. The Euro has plummeted to its lowest ever level amidst fears of defaults from countries besieged by insurmountable debts. Euro meltdown fear is spreading alarmingly as the banks battle to regain order. Financial experts are warning that the worst is yet to come. Urgent measures are needed to stabilise the situation said President Obama in his latest talks with the British prime minister.  The Greek prime minister is urging for bold steps to be taken towards fiscal integration to ensure future stability. Sceptics are already placing their bets that the Euro’s days are numbered.  

Reflections on working part time.

So, four weeks into the new year and my new part time role.

What have I learnt so far ? Well, I know that I am far too much of a control nut and need to work on that! Last week some resources of mine had gone walkabout and I felt panic levels rise as I searched like a woman possessed. For goodness sake, it was only a box of pins, not the crown jewels! The classroom  is not MY classroom anymore and I must strive to remember that and keep persepective when things aren't where I left them.

It has been fantastic to have time to myself during the week, and I have been able to catch up on things which I wouldn't normally have been able to do. Going to the gym in the morning, having extended lunches with friends, having time to decorate, do the gardening, sit and read, play the guitar, chat on the phone when I would have been at work in the past. Great! Have I managed to switch off from work when I am not there... not yet; I suppose I am still at the stage where I want to prove to myself that I am still a key member of the team. The days I am in seem to whizz at an almost alarming rate as I try to pack everything planned in.  That is something I need to work on to ensure that I leave time within the days I am in for the children to reflect on their learning and not have overly high expectations; I am not trying to do 5 days in 3 after all!

The good things are having a way better work life balance than I have had since I can remember. Of course I am still tired at the end of the week, but feeling that I can keep on top of things has been hugely empowering. Having a job share partner who is a fabulous communicator has made the start to the year a lot less stressful than previous year starts have been.

I can't think of anything that I would want to change at the moment. Being part time doesn't make me any less dedicated  enthusiastic or committed. Ultimately I hope it will make me a better teacher as I have  time to reflect upon my practice and have professional dialogue with a partner who knows the class as well as I do.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

100 words for grown ups week 11

Julia has given a word prompt this week- out of the mouths of babes.
Always guaranteed to get the brain cells going, this weekly challenge has become something to look forward to. Now that I have reduced my working hours to 3 days a week it has been fantastic to have time in the week to do things for myself. Today I have been to the gym, sanded and glossed a doorway, caught up on housework and bills. Oh yes, done some planning too for school and uploaded some comments to our class blog. It would be very easy to spend all day every day on teaching related things and I am having to be really strict with myself not to; otherwise what's the point of working part time?! I feel full of beans and ready for the rest of the week to come.

Anyway, I digress. Here is this week's effort:


“Yes sweetheart,”

“Can I have some sweets ?”

“Now, what’s the magic word?”

“Ummm...Can I have some sweets PLEASE, Mum?”

“Not just now, you’ll spoil your appetite. Not long til tea time. You can have some after, OK.”

“But Mu-um...”

“Yes poppet?”

“What about that biscuit YOU  just had, wont that spoil YOUR appetite?”

“No, because that was a special biscuit.”



“And what about that chocolate bar  you were eating in the kitchen?”

“Well that was my pudding from lunch time. Off you go now”

“But Mu-um...”

Out of the mouths of babes, huh.

I couldn’t really decide how to go about this one- the above is almost verbatim conversation with my son (now almost 13, then 5ish)  Watching the Beeb's Outnumbered the other night was in stitches over yet another "that is so true" moment.  This isn't a patch on that, but it was the intended effect. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

100 words for grown ups week 10

I thought this week’s prompt from  Julia was a tricky one and have been racking my brains; so far have tried and dumped a news report, an attempt at an interview and a short story about competitive neighbours (was quite pleased with that but managed to delete and save a blank doc- duh )  Have read a very interesting (as always) variety of pieces so far.

In the end I decided to carry on with the ever faithful Kit, here goes...

Kit pulled open the door to the garden. As with the house, it was a mere shadow of its former self.  Pushing the trailing creepers from the wisteria and honeysuckle to one side, her feet found a familiar path. Scents evocative of summers long past filled her head. Each step she took seemed to transport her back in time. Her pace slowed as memories flooded back.
 A buzz from her pocket snapped her back to the present. Whilst reaching for the phone  she saw it, faded now, but still recognisable. She smiled as she remembered her Grandmothers love of topiaries.

Hmmm, really felt like a learner doing this one!  Good way to unwind after a busy day at work though. Loving my new class; all bright eyed and bushy tailed, full of enthusiasm. Great. But, after the break finding it hard to get things done! If I have said "Get a wiggle on!" once, I said it a thousand times today. Have learnt from experience that it is vital to NOT try to do too much with a new class in the first couple of weeks, as it is so important to build relationships and ease children into their new class. Being new to job sharing also, am very aware that the class have two new teachers to get their heads round (and a trainee starting next week too!)

Early days yet, I have every confidence that in a couple of weeks they'll be raring to go... Oh yes they will :) 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Word clouds, blogs and twitter

Was looking at one of my quadblogging buddy classes and saw that these had been created for the whole class by  @KnikiDavies at http://avenue5d2011.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/meet-the-team/ What a brilliant idea. Here is one I have done for my blog.
Her class tag clouds are moving in the way they do on the site http://www.tagxedo.com , I haven't worked that out yet. I feel a tweet or two coming on later to help me out!
The more I get into blogging, the more I realise I do not know. However, there are plenty of people who know much more than me. I am so glad to have signed up to twitter. My colleagues look at me incredulously when I talk about new ideas gleaned from #ukedchat or my PLN. Eyes roll and conversations are rapidly changed. Does being on twitter make me a better teacher? Probably not, but what it has done is opened up a wealth of new ideas and challenged me to try things I might never have tried otherwise. I work in a great school with a very hard working and close team. We all share ideas readily, but it has been incredibly empowering widening that group of professionals outside the county and country even.
I now want to take part in a teachmeet; have heard so many positive things about them. Oh yes, and try to get  some of my colleagues to see I am not an IT geek and that twitter really is not just about celebrities.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

100 words for grown ups week 9

This week's prompt was slightly different in so far as we were challenged to choose a genre. Having read a brilliant range of entries this week, I initially was going to go for the fiction approach. However, I thought that was the easy option; particularly having been working on strategies to encourage a growth mindset in the children I teach. So, here is my effort for this week. I am not 100% happy with it, but pleased that I stepped WELL out of my comfort zone and had a go at Non Fiction genre. More tabloid than broadsheet I fear, but I love this challenge.

 Flight in the 21st century
Eighty years ago, the mighty R100 and R101, designed to sail noiselessly across the skies were considered the future of executive travel. Sadly, following the Hindenburg disaster, airships were grounded. We are pleased to announce that, thanks to lottery funding , the airship dream is to be realised. The new airship is to be called, “The Queen Mary.” Thought that they had been destined to the history books? Well, the launch is set for Sunday, noon in Greenwich. “We will be taking bookings for the summer of 2013.” gushed Jenkinson, Airship Support Services Manager.  

Sunday, 4 September 2011

New term ahead...

 Holidays are fab- certainly one of the perks of the profession. (I don't believe any teacher who doesn't agree with that sentiment). However, as the new year looms, panic sets it...how on earth am I going to fit the teaching in with everything else that needs to be done? Of course it will all get done (mostly anyway) once term starts the pace of life cranks up a gear or three and before you know it, multitasking your way through a never ending to do list.
I am lucky to be going back on  a part time basis. Labelling books and trays is so much easier when there are two of you to do it. Next week am in all week as INSET which I don't want to miss; after next week though, three days a week.
I have great plans to get the work balance thing sorted. Decorations planned for house, more regular catch ups with friends and family; and a more energised me in the classroom. Will it make me a better teacher? I hope so...I know the days I am in will be manic but will the fact that I am there less than not make a difference? Time will tell. I know that I will miss out on some things that happen on the days that I am not there; but my aim is to give my all on the days that I AM there. Something all teachers try to do, and something I was finding increasingly difficult to do everyday along with all the paperwork/redtape etc that the job has been so engulfed by. I am very lucky to have a job share partner who I have known for years and worked alongside. We are both really excited about the forthcoming term; we have very different interests and strengths which is fab as we have been able to split the teaching in a way we are both really happy about. The maths is a bit of a worry at the mo as we don't have a scheme or even agreed approach at school having spent ages and ages working on improving the writing and reading. INSET on tues is all about maths so I am hoping that some answers will come from that.
So, back for two INSET days then children on Wednesday. I am looking forward to this next phase in teaching tremendously and am committed to making it a success. Will reflect in due course.