Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Half way through half term update

It's Wednesday, H and I have spent the last couple of days getting the studio ready for the Open Studio, and the car passed its MOT this morning. I went to school yesterday for some A Level revision. Can't believe their exam is next week. I'm really nervous. With my GCSE group, I had never felt so prepared. With this group, I've never felt so unprepared. Oh dear.

Well, better get back to holding up shelves and pictures.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Catching up

It's been a busy week, with lots of late nights and then no computer.

Tuesday - more ICT training. I learnt how to use a program called Kar2ouche, and decided to do some research on using blogs to support learning.

Wednesday - my busiest day at school. Three lessons of crowd control. However, kept calm - decided it's not worth it to get too flustered. Had a SACRE meeting after school. Finished my Form Reports.

Thursday - Went out for a meal with a friend from school who is leaving and some other colleagues. Loads of food at the Chinese restaurant we went to. Went back to her house to chat for a couple of hours afterwards. H was away overnight, so no computer.

Friday - I had been looking forward to teaching my Year 8 class all week, and they didn't let me down. I now have another video to edit, and one group also managed to create an animation about stopping the killing on the streets. Quite moving to hear what the speaker on the animation had to say. H arrived home!

Saturday - well, I'm up, but not completely up, so now I've added this, I should go and get ready for the day!

Monday, May 21, 2007


We had a lovely weekend. Actually, I can't remember much of what we did on Saturday ... ah, we watched the cup final, or rather H watched it while I did stuff on the computer, then we went to Oxford Circus to buy a book for our new cousin, who was born three weeks ago and lives not far from us (Yay! A baby relative who is close to us and not miles away!). In the morning I had watched some cooking programmes (while H had driven to Sainsbury's) and had been inspired by Gary Rhodes, so after we arrived home, I cooked up a tasty salmon dish, with the salmon marinated then grilled in a garlic, olive oil, chardonny, mustard, salt, thyme and soya sauce marinade. Delicious! We have Italian potatoes and salad with it - sorry, no photos!

On Sunday, after church, we went out to view some open studios in Deptford then went a bit further south to visit our new baby cousin. He's so cute! And you wouldn't believe he was only about three weeks old! For most of the visit he was fast asleep, very cute and quiet. He woke up a bit before we left and was crying a bit, but not much.

Today I've been blogging and learning more about computers on my ICT course, which finishes tomorrow (although, actually, I have another half day of training after half term). So that's been a good three or four days then. Wonder what Wednesday will hold!

Friday, May 18, 2007

So much to do, so little time ...

It's amazing, the way the time flies by when there are no classes! When the bell went for lunch, I couldn't believe it ... why doesn't lunch arrive as quickly when I'm teaching?! Year 11s are on exam leave, Year 10s are on work experience. It was good to have that time to try and get a few things done ... but all too soon that time had slipped through my fingers!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The first exam of the season ...

I'm glad to say that they were all there, bright eyed and bushy tailed, fully equipped with pens, revision guides and thinking caps. The questions all seemed fair, and most of the topics we said would come up, did come up. There were a couple of a bit off-centre questions that seemed to step outside the typical question structure, eg "Explain why people argue about abortion" rather than "Explain why there are different Christian attitudes to abortion", but hopefully they will have remembered the many arguments we discussed on Tuesday. It was a fair paper, and if they haven't all got great grades, then I don't know what else I could have done. Let's hope it bodes well for the rest of the exams.

I visited some work experience students today. One group was working for a record label (a small one!) and the other with a director for what I presume is a small independent film company. Very interesting work going on ... but a few of them seemed to be sitting around doing very little and seeming a bit bored! Let's hope it was just because it was just before lunch and they got shy speaking to me ... their supervisors were happy with them, though, so they must be doing something right!

The car is in for its service, so I have a little automatic Jazz at the moment. Automatics are so strange ...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Busy day ...

I think this is the busiest day of the week ... Two pupils eventually arrived for my AS class. I then had my new Year 9 class ... the boys were really disruptive, but I made the conscious decision to carry on teaching the pupils at the front of the class. It was an introduction to the new topic, the first of the GCSE topics that they'll study. During break, I managed to find an empty ICT room, so that was my Year 7 sorted - they are marginally better in an ICT room, because the badly behaved ones get on with playing games, while those who want to learn follow the instructions, listen carefully to what they have to do, and get on with the task. Period 4 should have been my Year 10s, but they are on work experience. During lunch a couple of Year 8s came and played on my computer, creating talking animations, in preparation for the lesson on Friday. After lunch, I had my A2 class, which went on after the bell, and also included tidying out one of our store cupboards and emptying the recycling bin.

So all in all, my busiest day has been a not too bad one.

Tomorrow should be interesting ...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Year 10 Work Experience ...

... How I love it! Two days with no Year 10s, and my Year 8 class yesterday and Year 7 class today were sitting exams, so I have been invigilating instead. Other than Year 7s on Monday it's been a good couple of days so far! Still have an annoying cold, though, that means my nose is still buried in a tissue for most of the day. I'm sure there were other things I wanted to say, but I'm too tired and a bit dehydrated now!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Weekend

I have spent most of it blowing my nose. However, we also went to an model shop then had lunch at Shalimar Restaurant in Brick Lane which was very enjoyable. But it was also very wet ... It's really been pouring down in London these past couple of days! On the way home (yesterday) I also took a detour and wandered past the EastSide apartments in Bow and the Roman Road market. I saw a couple of squirrels and two gigantic plastic red tulips. There are some nice areas around there. I then walked past a building that had a blue plaque dedicated to Annie Besant, who set up the Matchgirls' Union.

This morning I missed church for the first time in ages ... I slept in. My alarm went off, I set it to snooze ... and it didn't go off again! So instead I had a long lie in, and have now finished all the tissues. What a cold. We were supposed to visit H's cousin to see his new baby this afternoon, but decided it wouldn't be fair with the dreaded lurgy still choking me up and making me feel tired and under the weather. So I've been surfing the net while H has been hard at work!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Best day so far

I think yesterday was the best day so far since coming back after Easter. Partly because so many of the Year 11s voted with their feet claiming that the had coursework elsewhere. I didn't give them permission to go, but they walked out anyway. (Spoke to the teacher they claimed to be seeing who has given them a piece of his mind). The Year 10s helped me label the Year 8 report boxes, I saw my nice Year 11s for the last time, and the Year 8s really enjoyed the video I'd put together for them.

H has double booked himself - art opening or England v Brazil at Wembley?!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Slightly better

It doesn't take much to be slightly better, but it was today. My nice Year 11s are living up to their name. Only one lesson left before their exam ... scary. Both my Year 10s seemed to have calmed down a bit ... not great but they sort of followed the interactive presentation I had about Mother Teresa on the IWB. AS and A2 are always okay, although the punctuality is not great. Talked about Cloning. My nose is bright red but I'm feeling much better, and have produced a powerpoint for tomorrow's Year 8 lesson. Using ICT again. Hope it works again - it's supposed to be raining. Not so good. Last week was sunny, and had a sort of holiday feel to it. Reports are almost finished.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

An enjoyable cover

It's not often that you hear a teacher say that the best lesson of the day was a cover lesson. Here was a year 7 class as they are meant to be - mostly polite, a couple a bit silly, most got quite a lot of work done, only a couple needed to borrow a pen ... it's nice to see that it can be done. Good work left, too - it was a drama lesson, and they had to write a newspaper article about mime and physical theatre. Other than that, my Year 7s were horrendous, then a fight at the start of my Year 10 class meant that I decided to go and have a good cry in the office. Nose is being to get stuffed up. H cooked a delicious meal of quail and veg; I've added some roast potatoes. Very nice. Think I'll go to bed now!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bank Holiday Weekend Cold

It's always nice to have a long weekend, even if (especially if?) you don't have to do much! We spent a fine few days mostly at home, H working through a few artistic ideas, me mostly messing around on the computer. I came down with a cold, though, suffering from a sore throat for most of the weekend, and it's now a full blown lurgy, with me walking around the school holding onto not a handy pack of tissues, but a full box of them. Fortunately I've not had too many large classes today, which is just as well since I spend half my time talking into the tissues!

One of things I did over the weekend was to make last Friday's recording of my Year 8s into a movie. I showed a couple of them today, and they seemed to love it: "That's sick, Miss!" - no, that's "sick Miss", but I think they meant it as a compliment anyway, and not a comment on my health.

The Year 7s were not quite so productive, although some of them have worked away at the task and seemed to enjoy it. However, most seemed to be on the same bright green game, or the Simpsons. Not a happy bunny about that. Why are the sites that can actually be useful blocked, yet they can all access these non educational and time wasting games?!!

Back to my lemsip.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thank Goodness It's Friday!

It's been the nicest day of the week. As I sat in the Krispy Kreme car park, a little blackbird or starling or something came and sat on my window wipers. He was all black and brown dots and blue, with a green and blue spikey hairdo and a bright yellow beak. He was quite a friendly looking bird, looking right in at me. Very cute. Very multicoloured, for what I presume must have been a baby blackbird? Hopefully a reader will help me out - I'm not much of an orthinographist. Or whatever the proper word for birdwatcher is!

My last lesson was the nicest of the day. I decided to move the Year 8s to my own classroom (I normally teach them elsewhere) and some of the louder ones were absent. We talked about modern day prophets - from MLK to Rev Les Isaacs, who set up the Street Pastor scheme in London - and the different messages God - or humanity in general - would want to pass on. How could modern day prophets get that message across? I tried to get them to think about YouTube, podcasting (they didn't seem to know this term) and bluetoothing. A few pupils then planned and executed (in more ways than one) a short video with the message "Stop using guns!" which I'll make into a nice video over the weekend. Hopefully! So that was a nice way to end the day.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sore head and tired

I've a sore head and I'm tired. Hence the title of this post.

At the end of the day, I walked into the staffroom, where a couple of teachers who were on the retreat today were talking to a couple of others. "Oh, have you told Nzeru Louisa yet?"one said. "Oh no, what happened?" "Everything. There was a broken leg, a fight, the police were called," "Sex in the corridors ..." It was at this point that it slowly dawned on me that my leg was being pulled. I was well and truly taken in! Mr M said that I had whitened throughout the list of events, and in my head I had begun to worry that I hadn't provided all the contact details ... Goes to show that it takes a lot to surprise me ...

Year 10s are basically unteachable. There are about five in each group who are listening and waiting to learn. The rest are either disruptive, or simply want to be distracted by the others. Two classes. Other teachers assure me it's not just me, there is this attitude throughout the school at the moment. What should we do about it?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's sunny!

In a way, it makes it all worthwhile ... I can go and stand in the sun and forget for a moment about the behaviour inside the classroom. It's definitely been worse since we've come back from the holidays.

The first Year 7 retreat was today. I'm not getting to go on any of them, but it sounds as if it went very well. I hope the rest go as smoothly!

H is on his way back home! The plane arrived promptly and he's now on the train back to London. I'm going to go and make a nice welcome home meal ...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sixth Formers and Computers

I have discovered Joe Jenkin's book on Ethics. It's very good. Wish I'd found it at the start of the year instead of a couple of weeks before the exams.

Sixth Formers were all over the place today. Couldn't teach them. Shame, it was a lesson on Sectarianism, watching the Panorama documentary. I was looking forward to hearing some Scottish accents.

Year 10s ... well, why do they think they're in school? Surely not to learn ... One or two, maybe, but that's not the way it comes across to me.

One of my Year 7 pupils got very upset when he wasn't allowed to play games on the computers ... being in the computer room is supposed to be fun, supposedly, a reward. Not about learning. Although when he realised that I wanted him to learn about a disciple of Jesus, he suddenly got interested, and thought that it must be okay to do the work then. I think he thought I was trying to make him do ICT. Strange.

And now I'm home ... H comes back tomorrow from Amsterdam (hurrah!) so I'll start eating properly again then.

Come on Chelsea!

Must go and do a bit of marking now. And plan a couple of lessons ...