Saturday, October 22, 2005


Things I’m finding funny this week:
--The phrase, ‘the student will come up with a plan.’ There’s a PGCE student in maths, see (I think I mentioned this earlier…if not, he’s basically a student teacher), and he came to observe in my year 11 class last week. Now, the Advanced Skills Teacher observed my lesson the day before and mentioned, basically, that despite my well-planned, engaging lesson and despite the fact I was doing absolutely everything I should be doing, they still acted rather…um…poorly (I’m using a bit of discretion here). Then, one day later, the student teacher observes me and says afterwards, ‘Oh, I have handled much worse classes than this…I shall come up with a plan for you.’ Well, needless to say, after seeing him put his plan into action yesterday, I think my position is fairly secure. (The high point of the lesson was when he mistakenly used the whiteboard marker on my overhead projector screen…and then informed me, in front of the class, that it was now my job to wipe it off.)

Things I bought this week:
--A new pair of school shoes. I was hoping to wait until Christmas and buy a pair in the United States, but two days ago I noticed a small shoe emergency. It seems that my right pinky toe, formerly contained within my shoe, was actually now somewhat (just a tiny bit) outside of my shoe. So I went to *shudder* ASDA (part of the *shudder* Wal-Mart family) and found a pair. In my (rather pathetic) excuse, they were much cheaper than the other ones I found. I did see a pair at the local Marks and Spencer department store, but all of the right shoes in the pairs had ucky stains on the top part.
--Several newspapers. The Guardian. In their spiffy new Berliner format – it’s not a broadsheet, it’s not a tabloid, it’s…well…somewhere in between.
--A map of London. I already had one that was mainly central London. This one is the equivalent of getting a map of the DC metropolitan area that shows the Beltway and everything within – it shows everything inside the M25. I got it because I wanted to try and figure out where places like Chigwell, Pratt’s Bottom, and Hogspit Bottom are located. And, I’m happy to report, I now know that Hogspit Bottom is located just outside the M25 near Flaunden.
--A ‘You are 8!’ birthday card for a teacher I work with. She’s not 8, but the cards over here stink.
--Milk, cereal, strawberries, Diet Coke, some microwave meals, and four forks.
--Some CDs. I’ve only gotten one so far. The rest haven’t been released yet.
--Tesco Onion and Chive Twists. I bought them rather impulsively (‘Golly, they’re only 98p for a whole box!’) but they’re quite good. At least the first 2/3 of the box was. I’ll let you know quite soon about the other third.
--A box to hold some of my CDs. It was one sale at a stationary store. It said ‘easy to assemble’ or some rubbish like that. Twenty minutes later, following the application of great force, two wooden coat hangers, and a pair of it’ll-cut-anything-even-pennies scissors, I finally got the cardboard box assembled. And yes, it does actually hold some CDs.

Things I did not buy this week:
--A CD player.
--A Siberian tiger.
--Four first-class plane tickets to New Zealand.
--A matching set of Ming vases.
--A partridge in a pear tree.
--Anything else not listed in the ‘Things I bought this week’ section.

Things I did this week:
--Went to London. Sunday morning I went to St. Philip’s and then on to the Tate Modern followed by Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
--Saw Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Ware-Rabbit. I went to the cinema…um…movie theatre…on Tuesday night. It was bargain night. I got popcorn. I watched the new Wallace and Gromit movie – it’s a British-made, claymation movie. It was fun. It was also my first visit to the cinema since I moved here (not counting the two foreign films I saw in London at the Institute of Contemporary Art).
--Went to meetings. Three after school. Two during school. Two before school.
--Set up a family numeracy class. Well, tentatively. I’m aiming to have the initial four-hour family numeracy class in November and then have a longer, multi-session one in January.
--Changed two bulletin boards. I removed the work dated 2001 (really) and put up some maths/science/careers posters.
--Sent emails. A bazillion of them. Mostly work-related, though. Sorry.
--Read. I’ve got this book about a guy making a pilgrimage across Spain with a donkey (Spanish Steps by Tim Moore). It’s okay but not totally awesome. Of course, I’m at the point where I feel I have too much time invested in it to just stop reading it.
--Registered for my skills tests. In order to get my teaching qualification over here, one thing I have to do is take a set of three skills tests. So, I had to register online with the number they gave me (which didn’t work for two weeks until they also told me the right box to check) so that I could get a password so that I could schedule the tests. Which I promptly scheduled for a day I am supposed to teach an observed lesson as part of a program I am helping pilot at my school. So, I’ll have to reschedule the tests…
--Went to a birthday dinner. Well, two if you count last Friday as part of this week.

Things I called my Year 7 kids this week:
--Sea turtles
--Golden eagles
--Ring-tailed lemurs
--Guinea pigs
--Brontosauruses (which is evidently the correct plural form of Brontosaurus)

Things I’m waiting for:
--The half-term holiday. Our week-long holiday starts Friday afternoon. And not a moment too soon.
--The new Libera CD. Judging by the short, 30-second clips on the website, the new CD will be one of the best. And, had I ordered it from CDJapan, I could have had it by now. But, since I’m not THAT obsessed (and since CDJapan had already sold out of the first pressing (which had extras and stuff) by the time I thought of it), I’m patiently waiting until November 7.
--The new Harry Potter movie. I saw the trailer for it when I was at the cinema this week and it looks good!

Things I watched on TV this week:
--Mainly rubbish. Anytime someone says, ‘Oh, if it’s on the BBC, it’s got to be good,’ just laugh and say, ‘East Enders.’ (It’s the BBC’s evening soap opera. It does have a catchy theme tune, though, with a rather cool satellite view of the east end of London.)
--Breakfast. The BBC’s morning show. It’s good to know the London traffic report before I head off to school

Things I listened to this week:
--The chairs in the room upstairs scrape against the floor…over and over again.
--A lot of whining and moaning. A bit of it was even from the kids.
--The 30-second clips of the music from the new Libera CD.

Things that did not arrive in the mail this week:
--My invitation to Margaret Thatcher’s birthday party. Though in all fairness, she’s old and her eyesight is probably failing. Poor woman must have miswritten my postcode again.
--My credit card. Though in all fairness, the banks do seem to think I got a teaching job in England so I could launder money.
--My knighthood. Though in all fairness, the Queen has had a rather busy week.
--My Libera CD. Though in all fairness, it doesn’t get released over here for another two weeks.


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