Monday, 18 June 2018

One wee job leads to another...

Luckily OH is handy.  We'd noticed that the fascia board above the downstairs bathroom window was rotten and split.  So OH removed it and put up a new one.

Unfortunately when he removed the rotten one the roughcast came away with it in huge chunks!  I knew that parts of the roughcast on the extension were loose (some small bits had fallen off at the back) but this confirmed my fears that I'll have to replace some/most/all of it before Winter.  ££££££££ *sighs*

On the work front we're on the penultimate week until the summer holidays.  I've completed most of my literacy and numeracy for the term so we're doing lots of outdoor learning, enjoying the good weather.  Last week we picked elderflowers from the playing field and made elderflower cordial.  Kids were amazed and most of them drank it!  Recipe HERE on my old blog.

Just 6 full days and 3 half days to go!! 🎉🎈🎉🎈

Saturday, 9 June 2018

It's already interesting!

Luckily my boss isn't like Meryl Streep's character in The Devil wears Prada however...

One quick union meeting later to update staff on the training I had and someone reported straight to her.  As a result I was 'ambushed' on my way to lunch and pulled into a room to be asked about things that she shouldn't have known about yet.  Although she caught me on the hop (I'd been warned this was her usual tactic) I think I handled it well enough.  I've mentioned previously she's leaving at the end of term but it looks like she's not ready to hand over to her deputy yet.

Like I said, it's getting interesting...

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Part of the union

Yesterday I attended an important meeting as the union rep for my school.  The lady who normally did it is on secondment elsewhere. Legally my employers (the local authority) have to provide opportunities for reps to get together to discuss important issues affecting teachers and ultimately the effects on the children we teach.  They even threw in a free lunch!! We had someone from head office who traveled a fair distance to train us. 

Teachers are leaving the profession in droves.  This year the number of probationers dropping out in their first year of teaching has DOUBLED throughout Scotland.  The numbers of teachers deciding to retire (very) early has shot up in the last few years.  There is a local authority near mine where the average length of service of teachers working in a classroom is just 5 years.  There aren't enough supply teachers to cover illness.  And the Scottish Government wants to know why.

Short answer is excessive workload and a salary freeze.  I won't bore you with the knowledge that teachers do not just work from 9am to 3pm every day or that our salary is 25% below what it should be as we've had no/tiny increases for a long time.

So today I called a union meeting (get me!!) and we discussed some of the issues raised.  And everyone is onboard to tackle management about our workload issues.  I think it just needed someone to say I'll do it (me) then everyone else has jumped onboard. 

Maybe my PRD meeting has spurred me on a bit, maybe losing a bit of weight has increased my confidence.  Who knows?  But I've had this song stuck in my head since yesterday!!

Saturday, 2 June 2018

90 Days

This post isn't about saving money or living well on less.  But it is about living well and being in control of my health.  I want to be fit and healthy for my retirement.

Yesterday I 'graduated' (that's what they call it, not me!) from The Body Coach 90 day plan.  90 days of eating amazingly healthy food and exercise.  It's not for everyone but it seems to work for most people who stick with it until the end.  In 90 days I've lost 4.5kg (10lbs) and 17.5 inches off my waist, hips and thighs.  I was already eating healthily and going to the gym regularly but it wasn't working any more.  I was slowly and steadily putting on weight especially round my tummy (hormones, eh?)  I needed to shock my body into losing that bloody fat!!

90 days ago I couldn't get these trousers up over my thighs.  In fact, the denim ones even have a gap in the waistband at the back!

This worked for me.  I don't think it matters what you do to stay healthy as long as you're active and keep switching it up to trick your body.  I've found that I like to do the same things and not change my routines/habits.  As I get older I've realised this doesn't work for me.  So I'm forcing myself out of that rut.

I'm going to keep going with the principles of the plan as I've still got weight and fat to shift.  I've got 5 weeks until my Australian holiday so that's my motivation.

Never think you're too old/too fat/too lazy to do something about your own health.  It's hard but worth it.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Flattered but no thanks

Yesterday I had my annual PRD meeting (Professional Review and Development) with my soon to be Acting Headteacher.  My HT is taking up a seconded post for a year so everyone on the management team is moving up which leaves a vacancy for a Principal Teacher (PT).   We had a very productive professional discussion where I talked about what I had achieved and what I hope to achieve next year.  All pretty standard stuff.

Just as I thought we'd come to the end of our chat, she asked me what my leadership plans were for the coming year and beyond.  I was rather taken aback as I've long made it clear I'm not interested in a leadership role.  I resisted the HUGE temptation to say "Oh I'm just hanging on until retirement now!" (I really had to work at stopping myself saying it out loud!!!) 😆 Instead I took a deep breath and asked if she was fishing to find out if I was interested in the PT post. Basically, yes.

I've always said I'm not interested in promotion at this late stage in my career.  I'm happy to be a class teacher and when the balance of enjoyment of my job and stress/crap/health is disrupted I'll walk away.  Out of curiosity I did have a look at the job advert online but it was only a small increase in salary for a huge increase in workload.

But it was nice to be considered.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

2,000 Bees

Today I had 2,000 bees in my classroom.  I had arranged for a local beekeeper to visit us and he brought a demonstration hive to show us.  The kids were absolutely fascinated!  I was so proud of all the (mostly!) sensible questions they asked.  And yes, bees do poo in case you were wondering!!

I have been interested in bees for a few years after a previous headteacher told me I had to teach a short 3 week topic on either fish or bees (that school had a very prescriptive curriculum!)  I already had an interest in bees but this short topic really instilled a love of them for me.

Luckily twice this academic year we've had cause to talk about bees in in our Food and Farming topic and our current Climates and Habitats topic.  Children just love learning about bees too!

So our lovely beekeeper quickly realised how much I loved bees and suggested I join our local beekeeping group.  They run beginners' courses in the winter and have practical workshops and demos during the summer.  I have already emailed the secretary 🐝🐝🐝

Sunday, 13 May 2018


"Practising gratitude has been shown to increase happiness, make us more resilient, strengthen relationships and reduce stress."

I ordered this wee book earlier in the week in an attempt to reflect on the areas of my life that are out of balance.  And I will talk more about it in another post.

But today I just want to say how grateful I am to have my loved ones in my life after hearing a fellow blogger Sue at The Cottage at the End of a Lane sadly lost her husband Colin.

I hope Sue and her family find some small comfort in knowing so many of us are sending them our love xxx