Sunday, September 30, 2007

The end of the week ... the start of a new one

Well, it's been quite an eventful week. Some of the problems that we read and hear about in the news occasionally find their way into school, and today was one of those weeks. A bit close for comfort, but other nice things make up for the bad ones.

A couple of colleagues were off on Monday, so I was trying to hold the fort as well as stop fighting from beaking out in my own class too. Fortunately the supply teacher is excellent and settling in well, building up a good reputation for taking no nonsense and teaching good lessons, so that's one less thing to worry about.

Had Open Evening this weekend. Always fun - the room looks nice filled with candles and with sacred music playing in the background. We leave the lights off and it's very calming. Had some sixth formers there this year to help out - they were great!

There's a friendly little girl in one of my Year 7 classes that stays behind at the end of the lesson and tidies up the class for me. On Thursday, as I wrote her a thank you card to take home for her helpfulness, she said she was going to sing one song. So that was my surreal moment of the week, me sitting on the desk, her standing at the end of it, singing "You've got a friend" - a song she learnt at primary school. Very sweet! There's another little boy in my other year 7 class who is always so friendly and polite. He says thank you, Miss, at the end of each lesson and gives me a beaming smile when I tell him he has done well. These sort of moments are the moments that make teaching very worthwhile and enjoyable.

I have almost finished my third set of books that I brought home to mark this weekend. Spent the whole of yesterday marking and planning for the upcoming week. Didn't manage to do any of my literature review though. Oh dear. I have to give a presentation in just over a week ...

Came home on Friday feeling very ill and went to bed just after 8pm. Was woken up by H with a big plate of delicious Lebanese food. He'd gone out to get some, and the lamb and okra stew was just what I needed (I hadn't eaten - or cooked - any dinner because I felt so horrible). Woke up around 8am on Saturday, did the washing and shopping, then worked all day - in between blowing my nose, drinking lemsips and vit V juice and generally feeling yucky - and went to bed at around 10pm. Didn't go to church this morning - used that time to rest in bed and to try and get better. Don't want to spread my germs too much. Trying to get better for tomorrow. Have eaten grapefruit, and bought kiwi fruits.

Disappointment of the weekend? Biught some of those strawberry iced buns from childhood as a treat. Very dry. Won't make that mistake again.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's Sunday again

It's really busy at school, so I'm not managing to make as many entries as I'd like! So the highlights of the past week?

Well, we will be having the TV cameras in next month, so I've a bit of planning for that.

Yesterday on the tube, someone touched my hand to get my attention - I turned and looked at the teenager, who said "Hello Miss" - then I recognised him, a former pupil who is now at college. But I'm still kicking myself, because I still can't remember his name. Which is really annoying me. It's about the first time I've been in that position - I'm normally quite good. Actually, that's an interesting reflection in itself - I'm not normally that great at remembering people's names if I meet them socially, but considering I've had to teach hundreds, if not thousands, of pupils over my teaching career, it's quite surprising that I'm not too bad at learning the names fairly quickly when I have new classes. Although they sometimes slip my mind when I meet them the following year ...

I gave a presentation on some research I did a couple of years ago last Wednesday. Seemed to go down okay.

Had my other course yesterday - learnt that I can write a lesson plan instead of writing an essay, so that's good - I'm going to try and start that later this afternoon.

Of course, some of the biggest news of the week was the leaving of Jose Mourinho from Chelsea. We are in mourning ...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Catch up time!

A few thoughts from last week ...

Geese flying overhead, through the blue sky. I looked up and watched them fly directly above me, in a V formation. Beautiful.

SACRE meeting on Wednesday night went very well, although there was a lot of running around trying to find the correct keys etc. I made a presentation, and it went across well. There were some very interesting questions, particularly about how we teach about sex and relationships in a Catholic school, and whether or not there is a tension between Science and RE in how we teach about the creation of the world. There isn't, I don't think, although some of our pupils have a different point of view on things ... Anyway, left school at 9:45pm that night. Had arrived at 7:45am ...

On Thursday, a TV researcher got in touch about another one of my blogs and the technology I use in my classroom. We had a chat, then she emailed asking if they could come and film me with a class in the ICT suite on Monday or Tuesday! I'd expect longer notification for an ordinary observation! Have told her I'll need to get Head's permission and pupil consent first, so we'll wait and see what happens.

Friday ended up being really busy - I had 3 non-contacts, but they all got taken up with admin type things, so I still haven't planned my lessons for this coming week. Am about to do that now.

On Friday evening, we were going out to an opening, so I met up with H in town. We went to a gallery just off Bond Street (some nice shops around there!!!), but then discovered it was all locked up. The exhibition there had obviously been on for a while. Later we discovered that the gallery did have another opening on that night - in Munich!

We wondered what to do, and H remembered that there was another opening in Whitechapel, so we decided to try and find it. Eventually found the opening to the Fieldgate Gallery near Atlantis. That was quite fun. I particularly liked a couple of works by Maria Anwander, for example a video of someone swimming in a pool that is set inside a sink. There was also an excellent painting by Andy Harper, which looked very realistic. You can see some pictures from the exhibition here.

Seeing we were in the area, we decided to head down Brick Lane to Chutney's. As we were about to enter, a girl standing outside was calling out, "We've got a celebrity dining here tonight - Carole from Big Brother!" And, sure enough, she was there - in fact, we were almost placed right beside her, within elbow knocking when you use your knife distance, but H prefers to be further inside the restaurant, away from the door, so we sat nearer the middle of the restaurant. I had chicken passanda - very nice, as always.

Yesterday I had another course to attend, which ran from 10am to about 3.30pm. I found it really hard to keep my eyes open! Afterwards I wanted to buy a pair of more casual shoes, and the Dorothy Perkins next to Bond Street tube station had a huge selection - nice to be able to find some so quickly and easily! Then I headed across to Mexx, where a little top caught my eye. I tried it on, and bought that too ... Will go back, I liked their look.

Today I've been to church, and now I have to plan those lessons. This week I am giving a presentation on Wednesday to teachers from other schools, and we need to plan for our upcoming open evening. So I expect it will be busy again! And I still need to finish my dissertation ...

Busy, busy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Had another Year 11 "Muslim" pupil today. I suspect he got the idea from the first one ... so two letters sent out today.

With the first Year 11 pupil not in my lesson today, it was a much better class. Not great, but better. Have them again tomorrow ... hope we get something done!

My Year 9s were writing about their dreams today - I look forward to reading them. One boy said "that was a good lesson today, Miss" on the way out - still not entirely sure if he was being slightly sarcastic or if he had enjoyed writing about his dreams! Anyway, he's quite a happy, smiley, cheeky wee boy, so hopefully he had enjoyed it!

Nice easy year 7 lessons today. They have lots of questions, and one of the groups is quite slow, but hopefully we'll make good progress as we go. Hope at some point to really think about differentiation.

Have to prepare a presentation for the SACRE tomorrow night. Will plan tomorrow after school, since I'll be staying there.

Had poussin for dinner. Tasted just like chicken ...

Monday, September 10, 2007

A full day

It surprises me that pupils do not own coloured pencils. Fair enough, some pupils might not want to bring them to school in case they get lost, and perhaps year 9 students might think that they are too old for colour pencils (although whoever is ever too old for colour pencils?!). However, for year 7s to claim not to have colour pencils at home is a sad state of affairs indeed.

One of the features of a Catholic school is the prayer at the beginning of each lesson. One year 11 decided to interupt this twice by calling out that he was Muslim so was going to pray a Muslim prayer, trying to say "Salaam Alaikum" (but failing), then lying down on the floor. Not even close, mate! When he was sent to the referral room he decided to kick up a fuss, and it took three teachers to eventually move him. He can work, but the amount of chaos that he causes in between his bouts of working are too disruptive.

Year 10s were also quite chatty today. Three very noisy pupils in particular. And the top set Year 9s also surprised me by their attitude. A few did not seem to come prepared to learn. A similar case with some of the Year 8s. Three girls were 20 minutes late, their excuse not exactly watertight (we were with Miss ... don't you believe us?), and were still complaining at their detention. At least they turned up, of course. One year 8 and one year 9 didn't. So some chasing up to do ...

My legs are aching - they were out of the habit of heels and standing on my feet all day! Hardly stopped - a full complement of lessons, a pupil came to see me at break, detentions at lunch and after school, a whole school meeting (boring!) after school, notes about pupils in other teachers' trays after that - school is well and truly back!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Had a great night last night. We went to the Lee Hurst Backyard Comedy Club with a friend; I haven't laughed so much in ages! Lee Hurst, the compere, was really funny - especially in the way he handled hecklers - and the last comic was really good too. There was also another couple of guys, one with funny hair, the other a magician, who made a dove appear, which was quite impressive - the first time I've seen that done in real life - but was also a bit strange. Dark humour.

I was also a bit shocked when some barristers in the audience, asked by Lee to share some interesting cases with us, gave us some examples of stories. One girl shared a story about a current case which featured some unusual points, which seemed really unprofessional to me. I don't think her client would have appreciated everybody in the comedy club knowing about it. Then a young man told us a story which I presume is a legal type joke - he was defending a burglar, who was bad because he kept leaving fingerprints everywhere, and kept getting caught. So the barrister told him to stop burgling, or at least wear a pair of gloves. A few months later he was in court again. Why didn't you wear gloves?, the barrister asked him. He had worn gloves - those fingerless ones. (Hope it was a joke ... we wondered about the professional advice burglars are receiving from their defence barristers these days!)

Today I was walking to church when I saw a family all dressed smartly in black and white, carrying food, obviously on their way to the local gospel church with a pot luck lunch. I was thinking about how the black and white clothes reminded me of Jehovah's Witnesses, as they crossed the road in front of me, and then I noticed that the mother's skirt was quite short. I was wondering whether that was okay - the knee high boots, the lacy black tights, the short skirt - when I realised that her skirt was hitched up from walking. And that she had a slit in her skirt, that had also ridden up. And that her underwear matched the black and white theme ... Oh dear. I hope someone told her quickly and that she wasn't too mortified that she had been walking around with her underwear showing ...

Right. I'm off. Shopping, tidying, some lesson planning, then hopefully a bit of relaxation and an early night!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Back to School

Apologies for not blogging this week! School started back on Monday. Pupils gradually arrived back, and although there have been phone calls home, detentions, incident reports, and trying to arrange counselling, it's been a generally positive start.

Although no pupil diaries have arrived, exercise books arrived on Wednesday night, timetables arrived on Thursday morning, we have no target levels ...

Have had two openings this week - one on my birthday, the other last night, followed by a delicious Vietnamese meal. Highly recommended. Especially the lemon water!

Computer is annoying me at moment - very slow. So I'm off for now!