It’s been a while since I blogged. I’ve been pretty busy, to be honest. I’ve secured a flat, which I will move into in the next couple of weeks. I got denied a job after interview but have applied for a few more. Our school has been orserved and rated by Ofsted (satisfactory with good features) and I had an extra-long observation where I was rated ‘good’. I’ve become more skint than for a long time. And finally, I have taken up swimming as regular form of exercise as my fat arse needs some sorting out.

I guess, though, I haven’t been too busy. Or maybe I have been procrastinating, because I have taken up using game applications on facebook as a new ‘hobby’ (and I use that term loosely). Hotel City, Resort World and Restaurant City are my new, terrible fascinations. It’s a bit sad that I have become so obsessed at running my own hotel, cafe and holiday island. I guess it’s a nice distraction, though. I like the fact that it’s something outside of reality that I can focus on and be good at. I know, it’s pointless. I know, I get nothing real out of it. But it’s still kinda nice to play a game.

Have you ever played any of those?

Hotel City
http://www.playfish.com/?page=game_hotel_city
Hotel City is a game where you set up your own hotel. Kinda simple and self-explanatory. But addictive. Very addictive. My hotel consists of 7 or 8 floors of rooms, with a casino, gyms, bars, and lots more entertainment. The point of the game is to keep building and improving your hotel. The more you play, the more points you get. The more points you get, the more things you can buy for your hotel. The more things you buy, the more you can play and the more points you get. It’s quite a standard game cycle, but it’s pretty fun. It’s nice to design your own perfect hotel.

Resort World
http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=397668330151
Resort World is quite similar to Hotel city in that you design and build your own holiday environment. You still buy, sell and earn from your properties and you can still make them better to get more points and so on. It’s quite amusing. Of course, things cost more ‘money’ when you’re running an island, and that means the game progresses a little smaller. The cool things about this island are the little tasks and the things you stumble upon all the time. For example, you often get treasure chests floating in the sea, or you get sharks who attack your guests and you have to move them on. It’s quirky.

Restaurant City
http://www.facebook.com/restaurantcity
Restaurant City is the worse of the three. It’s not as addictive and it’s harder to progress through the game. The point of the game is obviously to build and maintain your own restaurant, but the points come more slowly, the restaturant itself is restrictive as a template. It’s just a bit slower and less exciting. But, you still get to do the design, buy and sell furniture and re-imagine everything. It’s still good for procrastination!

More School Stuff? Boring!

I know.

I’ve been updating a bit about my working position and schools in general quite a bit in my last few posts. I’m sure by now you have all figured out my job, I don’t need to go on about it. But, truth is, I can’t stop thinking about it recently. It seems to be constantly in the forefront of my mind.

I went for a job interview on Friday at a place called Heritage High School in Clowne, Derbyshire. My feelings towards going for the job had been up and down for the last week or so when I recieved my letter confirming my place on the interview day. I had applied for the job over 2 months in advance, which anyone in the teaching profession would know is a ridiculously long time. By the time I recieved my interview letter, I assumed I hadn’t been successful and I had mentally moved on to other options in my career. When the letter arrived I was massively chuffed. After that much waiting I guess most people would. After telling a few people and giving myself time to think about the job, I started to feel confused. If they had taken so long to get back to me, was it worth it? On the follwing monday, only four days after recieving my letter, I had an e-mail from the school changing the intinterary for the interview day. This is when the doubt really started kicking in. Two lessons to be taught, a student interview to complete, a marking test AND THEN a standard panel interview. A hell of a lot for a standard teaching position. I went through four days of umming and aahhing over whether to even bother going. On Thursday night, the night before the interview day, I spent ages talking to my significant other about the whole thing and finally decided to go for the experience and not the job, so as to pull out after the teaching in the morning. I got there, did the morning teach, then changed my mind. I actually really enjoyed it. Something I never expected to happen. So I stayed for the next teaching session. I enjoyed that too. Then I decided, after all the confusiong, to stay for the final interview and try to get the job.

I didn’t get it.

I was even confused about how I felt about not getting the job. I wasn’t sure I wanted it, so that wasn’t the most overwhelming issue. Don’t get me wrong, it felt shit to know that you’re first loser in what is essentially a skills-based competition, but it felt even worse to know you’re second best at something you think you’re good at.

I guess, for now at least, it leaves me in the position I’m currently in, teaching in Rotherham. But for how much longer will I be happy here? And for how long can I manage to live in my new and more expensive place with the knowledge that I could be spending £150 a month less in petrol in a job that’s closer?

What makes a school ‘outstanding’?

As a teacher, you get tons of criteria which tells you how to be the best teacher you can be. That piece of paper tells you some weird things that apparently qualify you as the best.

Apparently, to be an ‘outstanding’ teacher, you have to use lots of different and innovative resources to challenge the kids. But, really, do kids get challenged just because you use new ICT in your lessons? If you’re engaging, exciting and interesting as a teacher, would it reallt matter if you had slate and chalk or laptop to teach?

And did you know, you’re a rubbish teacher if your kids aren’t concentrating or keen on the stuff they’re learning? Seemingly, unless they’re always on task, the kids aren’t being taught properly. How many kids do you know that pay attention for anything, other than video games, for longer than ten minutes? And since when can you control what the kids say or do, or even how they act? I can tell you from experience, a student who doesn’t have something inside or outside of school distracting them is very rare.

Ofsteds opinions are almost never spot-on. Think aboit it: The schools are given some warning, this gives students and leadership the warning. Teachers teach everyday. That’s nothing different or new. The SLT (Senior Leadership Team) and the students are the ones that need the warning. They rarely act perfectly. Never, in any school, have I seen the SLT patrolling the corridors, popping into classrooms and supporting staff as much as when Ofsted are in. Is it good enough to only be that supportive when they are being assessed? As for the kids, they’re usually quite on and off. It just so happens, however, that during inspections, the bad ‘uns get worse, the good ‘uns get better.

Why don’t we make real changes about what we decide makes a school ‘outstanding’? Do we need to decide that based on whther the teachers can write down their lesson properly? Do we need to decide it based on whether you have clean walls in the school? Do we decide it based on the kids’ behaviour on one day? Why can’t there be a system in place where there are a series of inspections, completely out of the blue, over a one year period?

I think my department is outstanding. But due to a blip in the teaching of one lesson, the behaviour of one student, the cleanliness of the corridors around our classrooms, maybe we won’t be called that by Ofsted….

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/Forms-and-guidance/Browse-all-by/Other/General/Framework-for-the-inspection-of-maintained-schools-in-England-from-September-2009

Decisions to Make…

A lot has happened in my life over the past four months. I was told, along with all my other colleaugues, that my job wasn’t safe and one third would be made redundant. I grew to strongly dislike my housemate, leading to a huge argument, finally ending with us not speaking and therefore creating an awful, impossible living situation for me. I decided to move out with my lovely boyfriend, but am incredibly worried about the impending cost. I found out, eventually, that my job was among those that are safe, only to discover I wasn’t really relieved about it. And today I received a letter from a job I applied for in nearby Clowne over 2 months ago asking me to come for an interview on Friday. That’s a lot to happen to anyone in four months.

I feel like I have a lot of growing up to do in the next month. I need to move in with a boy, sort out my financial life and decide on my job future. I’m sure that’s only the beginning of it, but I have no idea where to start. My head is full of tick lists and things to do, it’s so overwhelming. It’s a lot to cope with, as I’m sure you can imagine.

I mean, let’s take the job situation for example. Most people would think I’m in a great position right now; guaranteed job for the short future (which I know in itself is aluxury in the current economic climate), and a possible further job offer on Friday. As of 4pm when I got home from school to find the letter offering me an interview, I was ecstatic. That was until a close friend and colleague of mine texted me to tell me how much he didn’t want me to leave. That was when I realised that it was going to be tougher than I thought to decide what to do. Beforehand I was over the moon to find the school I applied for ages ago actually wanted me. I applied there because it was closer, newly refurbished, has better teaching facilities, will save me a ton of money in petrol and may have more room for progression. It was also a great way out of the situation I was in at my current school back in November. Now I’m safe there for a while (although how long for, I don’t know) and I see who, rather than what, I’d be missing out on if I left, I’m not so sure what to do. I think I need to pop into the new school to meet some people and get a feel for the school. Then I need to make a pros and cons list for leaving my current job. It’ll be really tough to make the decision either way. My friend said, in his message, ‘happiness is what counts,’ but will I be happier if I’m financially better off, or with people I already know and love? What will give me happiness? If I knew that, I guess my decision would already be made.

Reasons to move out

There are lots of things you can’t do when you live with other people. I’m not talking about people you choose to live with, like a partner. And to some extent, I’m not even talking about living with your family when you’re younger. With those cases you have some choice in the matter and can plan and make allowances for things going on in your life.
I’m talking about living in shared accomodation. Shared to the extent that you have a room and the landlord puts anyone else in the house that he wants to fill the other rooms.
Take my particular living arrangements right now; I moved in to this shared accomodation because a ‘friend’ of mine lived here. I really liked it, as well, for the first month or so that I lived here. Just me and her. I stayed in the attic room becuase it was somewhat bigger than the box-room on the first floor. I was pretty happy, actually. I got to move out of my mum’s house and in to the town where I was spending all of my spare time, anyway. I was closer to my friends, my love-interests and further away from my family (which is good for some reasons, bad for others). However, on the massively negative side, you do not get to control who you live with here. And, unfortunately for me, my landlord is a bad judge of character. So, I’m currently stuck in a house with someone I dislike and don’t wish to be anywhere near. Her terrible and forceful personality has led to this being an awful place to live, and could possibly lead to my loosing one or more friends after I get out of here.
But, let’s think positively. I’ll shortly be moving into my own flat with my lovely boyfriend, who I actually want to live with. That means I can do lots of things I can’t at the moment. For example;
Walk around naked.
Sleep on the sofa whenever I want.
Eat any of the food in the fridge.
Fill the fridge.
Use my own clothes-horse whenever I want.
Leave the pots in the sink for a while.
Do my work downstairs and even leave the books there when I finish.
Sleep anywhere and at anytime.
Watch my TV. Allday. Everyday.
Just a few, and without going into sexytime, of course. But look at that list. It took me seconds. Seconds. Can you imagine what it’d look like if I spent actual time on it. That’s how much I want this.
Give me three months, maximum, and I’ll be updating about how happy I am somewhere else.
😀

Weddings and Marriage

Is it worth it?

A lot of people ask this. A lot of people I know, as well. I’ve overheard, or been part of, conversations which discuss whether the long-term prospects of marriage are worth the expensive weddings; whether my friends or acquaintences are ‘marriage-material’; whether the marriage will last in general.

Frankly, I don’t know.

My mother and father have the most wonderful marriage. They have been together since they were 16 and 18 respectively, have never seperated and simply seem stronger as a couple now than ever. They love each other, that much is clear. And it’s brilliant. It’s what I want.

But will it ever happen? I want it to. I want that whole “til death do us part” thing. I always have. But I’ve idealised it too much.

Not the marriage, so much, but definitely the wedding. I know that the marriage will have ups and downs. That’s why the vows you undertake discuss the inevitability of sickness, health, wealth, poverty, faults, strength, etc. And I know from seeing other couples throughout my life that you argue. I mean, I’ve been in relationships where you argue. Marriage isn’t perfect. It’s part of life and life isn’t perfect.

But the wedding is so important to me. If I ever get married, I already know exactly what I want. I’ve planned it. I’ve even priced it. I know when in the year I’d want to do it. It’s perfect in my mind. But I’m afraid that it can’t be perfect in reality. It would be ridiculously hard to live up to my expectations. And thus, I’m worried that if I don’t have my perfect wedding, a decent marriage can’t be possible because it’ll start the very first day of the marriage ‘poorly’.

I’ve spent so long envisioning perfection that I’ll never find it. I bet it’s the same for many people. And, at the risk of seeming sexist (of which I assure you, I am not), it’s mostly women who get let down. And it’s fairytales and Disney that’s at fault. Women expect Prince Charming. The Fairytale Castle wedding. The Happily Ever After.

But statistically, the divorce rate at the moment is 11.9% per 1000 married people.
Is that worth it?