tinyjo: (cat don't care)
Went to training at my new school on Thursday and the positive vibe definitely continues - I have a really good feeling about the move. We sorted out my application for the leadership course they want to put me on next year and they're right behind the writing assessment project I've got planned which will take forward what I've done this year. Also, on a geeky note, they want to buy me what looks like an *amazing* smart TV thing to use as my interactive board for my classroom, which would be super exciting. I really hope it arrives before the holidays so I can have a play with it over the break as it'll be quite different from what I've used before. Obviously the shiny video on the product website is always a bit misleading but it does look like I should be able to do some really quite neat stuff with it eventually, including controlling stuff on the kids screens and so on.

I am really enjoying the garden at the moment and I can't get over how much more light it gets now that we've had the horse chestnut next door cut back. It does mean that the decking is in full sun in the middle of the day though so I might have to buy a patio umbrella to sit under - it's not good for the laptop, if nothing else! Generally though, it's all looking really nice and the kittens love playing out there. They're only allowed out under supervision at the minute, but soon they'll be having their ops and then we hope to retire the litter tray - not a minute too soon!
tinyjo: (Default)
This is education related, not related to any of the other chaos going on in British political life...

letter to my MP )
tinyjo: (Default)
Well, that's the methodology section written! Am actually over half way done now, which is a relief and I have a reasonably good idea of when I am going to get the rest done (i.e. while visiting my folks next week).

I went into school yesterday to make a start on my classroom and, of course, that turned out to be the day the cleaner wanted to wash my walls and do my polishing. Sigh. Still, I did get some stuff done. I think I'm going to swing by again today to pick up one or two things I forgot yesterday before I get properly stuck into classroom organisation tomorrow.

3458 / 6000 (57.63%)
tinyjo: (charlie)
Looking back on here, I actually posted more than I realised last year. Not anything like regularly, but more than I thought I had, which is quite pleasing. Still, could do better. I've been thinking that I miss writing - I'm going to try to kick start my fiction writing again this year by pushing myself into it a bit more and perhaps I could do worse than write more here too. It's all practice after all.

Got my second TMA back from my history course and just squeaked a first out of it which I was extremely squee-ish about! Also, as with previous essay, got good helpful feedback from my tutor. She's definitely the best tutor I've had at the OU by some way for giving clear, helpful feedback about structure and content. Now I just have to manage to apply some of it to the next essay!

Had a conversation with my head about dropping to four days a week next year, which is in many ways my ideal lifestyle. She seemed totally up for it - accepted the idea with no hedging at all. We have a lot of part time teachers, mostly for maternity reasons, so I guess she figures it'll be easy to find someone happy to teach my extra day without too much trouble, which is probably true. I'm hoping it'll be a Friday (the extra day, I mean) so that I can take long weekends more easily, although I will still have to negotiate around Brownies for that one. Still, all in all, I'm excited about the prospect.

Looking at my calendar to fix up one or two things this morning, realise it's really not that far until my birthday. Think it will be a quiet one this year as nothing can possibly top the Avengers eating and drinking party from last year (seriously, it was epic) and we only have had 2 of the next group of films out so far :D
tinyjo: (candle trail)
So, an unexpected day off. Actually, it's not really a day off as my union is not striking, a decision I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, I do think that many of the education policies pursued by the current government are misguided and dangerous and demonstrate serious misapprehensions of and disrespect for the role of the teacher and profession of teaching. The government doesn't seem to listen to anything the profession has to say on this so perhaps we need to shout, as it were. On the other hand, I find it very hard to believe that this will actually do anything to change those pre-conceieved views and may in fact encourage them to entrench themselves further into the belief that teacher are all left wing zealots who are secretly inclucating a socialist revolution and must be stopped via the medium of performance related pay and a strongly transmissive* curriculum. That's somewhat confused but it does genuinely seem to be what Gove thinks sometimes. Put a little less strongly, I think it may bolster an us vs them attitude in the DoE which can hardly be productive. But then nothing else is and that attitude is already there to some extent so we have to play the cards we're dealt. As I say, ambivalent.

Anyway, as my union is not striking but my school is closed, I do get something quite valuable which is a day to catch up on my paperwork and marking without any distractions, which is rather nice but of course I am procrastinating by writing a journal post about my feelings about the strike. I don't think this counts as fighting the power either way.

I also wonder where we go from here. Will there be more strikes if nothing changes (and I find it hard to believe that anything will)? Will the government offer some piffling alteration and the unions accept it as the best they can get? Perhaps there are more duvet days in my future.

* Not a weird insult but a taxonomy (I think by Askew but I haven't got my notes at home) about how teachers believe learning is achieved - he divided teachers into constructionists (who believe that learning is constructed through collaboration between teacher and learner), discovery-ists (who believe that learning is discovered by the learner if the right environment is provided by the teachers), and transmissives (who believe that learning happens through teacher instruction in specific methods and facts).
tinyjo: (Default)
Well, it's nearly the end of half term, sadly. As usual, I feel like I haven't accomplished nearly as much as I would have liked to. Every time I cross something off the list on my whiteboard, I seem to add two more things, which is a little frustrating, but I have managed to get through a couple of big ticket items, so that's a relief. I just have to force myself to do the rest of the unaided writing levelling!

At home, work has actually started on decking the back garden, which is very exciting. We're starting off by redoing the retaining wall which holds the flower bed in place which was in rather a parlous state and then it'll be on to the decking! It might even be done by Christmas, although the front garden will almost certainly take longer. Still, things are happening, which is good. I haven't managed to clean the bathroom yet, of course, but still, all things in their time.
tinyjo: (sunflower)
Well, if I had any doubts about whether it was worthwhile buying my tablet, I can be reassured by the fact that I left it at school accidentally (at least I really hope I did - I was using it to read an ebook to my class so that we'd have enough copies that they could read along with regular books) and am really really missing it today. Normally I would lie around and read a book in bed and then get up and futz around on the internet while sitting in my comfy chair with it. I am actually missing it enough that I popped over to school because I thought they were open for ballet classes and stuff (they weren't actually, which was annoying) to see if I could find it.

In other only semi-in-my-brain related news, this is the first week in which Alex has gone to Oxfam and will be buying books which will end up at school which will actually be paid for by school money! I talked to Rach (our head) and she's agreed to fund us improving our bookshelves by, you know, having some books on them through giving Alex a list of writers and just buying the bloody things. I asked my class for suggestions and got a list of about 20 authors so that should keep us busy for a while!

Also, I am spending far too much time thinking about the experience machine. I wish I could do the last assignment on it but the question about it bears no relation to my thoughts on it so I might have to do something else! I have now started the registration process for my next OU course (Themes in the history of Wales), which is a small one so that I can also do a Masters level course next year without buggering up my transitional funding arrangements for my OU study. My school are offering/asking to fund me to train as a Mathematics Specialist Teacher. It looks interesting and comes to 60 points of Masters study (out of 180) over two years. I emailed Oxfordshire to ask about applying and got an email back saying "Yes, you can totally have a place!" which was a bit unnerving, but I think Rachel had already talked to the person there about me so hopefully it's just that and not that anyone can have a place for the asking! As a result, I'm also being made Maths co-ordinator, as our current one is about to go off and have a baby, so I'm also going to be applying for a salary bump, which I really hope I get as it comes with extra non-contact time attached so I'll be able to cover the extra work! It's a really good opportunity, but I feel very early in my teaching career to be taking on this much responsibility! There seem to be a lot of exclamation marks in there, which feels not quite right. There should be an uncertainty mark or something that I could use.
tinyjo: (Default)
It's sad to reflect on how vain I am sometimes. I posted to the tutorial forum for my OU course (some stuff about Plutarch and the Life of Anthony) and got a very complimentary response from the tutor with a further question. I replied to that and now I refresh the forum every half hour or so hoping for further compliments. Sad eh.

On the other hand, it should remind me of the power of praise with my class tomorrow.
tinyjo: (Default)
Easter school is surprisingly tiring actually. I thought I'd get loads of work done this week but actually I'm kind of knackered after having 4 hours of kids. Which I suppose is not that surprising as we'd have 5 hours of kids in a normal school day so it's not that much less. Still, the extra cash will definitely come in handy and it's quite a good scheme, nice for the kids. I guess I'll get some work done next week - it doesn't seem very likely that we'll be able to move in on Monday next week so I'll have a few quiet days here next week, I expect. I'm going to pop over this evening, I think, and see how things are getting on, perhaps take Alex with me for a look see.

We had a barbeque on Sunday, which was absolutely glorious. I got suntanned and it felt so good. It was really sad today to wake up and see how cloudy it was - I really hope we get a nice warm May/June so that I can get out there and enjoy my garden and garden room!
tinyjo: (Default)
Am at in service training with Pie Corbett. Am not sure it is worth all the money we're being charged for it really. It's OK but not much surprising in there really. It's not not knowing this stuff, it's the time and energy to do it full on all the time. It's really sunny outside and I find myself thinking wistfully abouut blowing off the afternoon and going and sitting in the park and reading. Sadly, there are other teachers from my school here so I don't think I'll get away with it but I can dream :)

House seems to be taking for ever. I don't think it's anyone being slow, just I can't wait for it all to be done. Chose paint colours yesterday but still haven't actually ordered the appliances. Might do that now while I've got wifi.
tinyjo: (Default)
I have to read a favourite poem in assembly tomorrow (as do all the other teachers). What would you pick?
tinyjo: (Default)
I need a name for a joint blog which is going to be run by our school and a French one. Any ideas?
tinyjo: (computer cat)
Mountain questions from one of the kids coming up into year 5 in my class:

How high does a mountain have to be to be a mountain?
Are mountains always pointy at the top?
Is the inside of a mountain wet or dry?
Is a mountain solid rock or lots of little rocks?

All from one person. I am quite looking forward to my new year 5's, I have to say.
tinyjo: (Default)
Have now completed 1/10 of my reports. I've actually *written* slightly more than that, as I've also written all the maths reports and copied in the French and music from those teachers. Still, feels like miles to go! No fun for me until it's all done :( It's quite hard to plow through because a lot of it is quite dull to write and I expect half of it won't be read, but still, there is a value there, I guess. If I wasn't having to faff around with Word at the same time, that would be better - I might write some software for it next time.
tinyjo: (candle trail)
Must stop checking my inbox to see if my essay has been marked yet! It's only been a week! I should know better.

Also, I feel that I would like to boast. I diverted my science lesson this afternoon to explain chemical symbols (CO2, H20, etc) and the chemical reaction of photosynthesis (off the top of my head, too) in reaction to the class being really interested in the whole thing. They didn't all follow it, but they all got something out of it and some of them definitely got it and got really excited and kept asking me what elements other chemicals were made of - they were particularly amazed that salt molecules had chlorine in them.
tinyjo: (cassie by jeremy)
Week one of school went really well - class seem lovely and very sparky. We'll have to see how it develops, of course. Not sure if I'm being mean enough to them, but we'll see. If you want the detail, you can read [livejournal.com profile] stf_feed or [info - personal] start_to_finish.
tinyjo: (Default)
In a break with recent tradition, an update containing words and not pictures! Yeah, so my shiny new phone made me start photoblogging again - sorry about that. Am currently in my new classroom chilling out and slightly daunted by the amount of work needing to be done to it! Many many displays must be put up (seriously - this classroom has so much display space). I have finally got the right laptop, which is actually quite nice, but has the shift key in a slightly different place than I'm used to so about half the time I hit the up arrow, which is annoying. Still, I've got a few useful apps installed on it and I've figured out which one is the server in the computer room so that I can access the interwebs from school.

I was planning to have a BBQ dinner with Alex this evening because it felt like we hadn't been out in the garden for ages, but then this afternoon, I remembered *why* we haven't been out for ages - if I'd realised how dodgy the weather was going to be, I wouldn't have spent the morning doing things inside! Ah well, can't be helped, I suppose.
tinyjo: (Default)
By the way, can I just say a big yay for the modern world? I am sitting in the garden watching Wimbledon on my laptop. It is awesome. Also, am probably going to get a new phone before I go over to London this evening to hang out with people and stuff.

Passed my final assessment, for those who haven't heard so am now a qualified teacher! This means that I am now under much less stress for the rest of the summer. Managed to pick up a disgusting cold last weekend (probably somewhat stress related) but that's now improving too and I managed not to lose my voice or actually take time off school (although I did spend a day doing group work instead of whole class teaching, which helped). I now return to the land of key stage two for the final few weeks of term, which will be a relief! I was convinced I'd picked up the vomiting bug yesterday but fortunately the feeling passed without incident and now I have no work do to this weekend :)
tinyjo: (candle trail)
Well, I've got my final assessment next week for my course, which I've been working on getting the various documents up to date for (those of you watching the reflective journal may have noticed a few updates :) ). I am currently writing a claim statement detailing how I meet the 31 QTS standards for qualifying as a teacher. Makes me feel something of a prat as it's mostly spouting various random bits of jargon but apparently I have to do it.

So, as if that wasn't enough, my mentor pulled me aside this afternoon to let me know that the University of Reading are being inspected and we've been randomly selected to be inspected! So someone's coming in from the equivalent of OFSTED to talk to us and then watch me teach for an hour to check that the University's opinion of my progress is reasonable. Just what I needed. I guess as it's so close to the final inspection at least I won't have to do any more work than I was already going to!

Nearly there...
tinyjo: (Default)
Well, am safely back from the wilds of Devon, where I have been shepherding 42 year six children on an activity holiday. The kids werea actually very good but the whole thing was very physically exhausting - you're being active all day and then supervising the children. I was completely wiped by the end of it! Also, no internets, no radio 4 and spotty mobile phone reception! I am amazed I survived!

In other news, I have got a job interview at the school I've been training at, which is pretty awesome as they don't generally employ their students. As per my mentor, I'm not getting my hopes up, but in the worst case, it'll be good practice for other future job interviews. Put in an application for another place this week too. Lots of jobs came up while I was away so I have to wade through them and do a bunch more apps later.

I have finally made it through my email, had a hot bath and read some of my fp (I am *way* too behind to actually catch it up though!). Am going to try to get into the posting habit a bit more again once I have caught up with my reflective journal and so on. We'll see how long the resolution lasts...

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tinyjo: (Default)
Emptied of expectation. Relax.

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