Monday, 28 September 2015

Back to square one

After school tonight, I went to visit the wee village school ahead of my interview next week.  In the course of the conversation I had with the very nice woman who showed me round, I discovered what the role involved. It's not for me :-(  I was prepared to travel the daily 20 miles round trip and take a 33% drop in salary but I wouldn't have my own class.  It's an RCCT role, the job description didn't mention this.  Being an RCCT teacher suits some people but not me.  In most schools, permanent teachers take a turn at being the RCCT teacher for a year then go back to being a class teacher with their own class again.  This post is just RCCT forever.

Then when I got home I got an email saying that my other application had been unsuccessful.  So back to square one.  I still have a job until Easter but will keep applying for all permanent posts.  Something will turn up.  I hope.

Friday, 25 September 2015

A day in the life

At 6.30am my alarm goes off.  I let it snooze a couple of times then I get up.  I feed the dogs and chickens.  It's getting colder in the mornings and so far it's still light at that time.  I have my shower, eat breakfast and get ready to go to work.

I arrive in school by 8am and spend an hour setting up my classroom for the day ahead. That could be photocopying, preparing the interactive whiteboard, meeting with colleagues, sometimes meeting with parents.

At 9am the children arrive and my day begins.  Today we had a visiting football coach so the first hour was a sporty one.  Then we discussed healthy snacks in preparation for the school's healthy habits week.  I teach 6 year olds.  One boy had 2 x 4 finger Kit Kats for his snack!! We talked about healthy snacks v treats.  It might surprise people that kids are pretty clued up.  They knew all about sugar, salt and fat not being good to eat.  Shame their parents don't listen!

After break, it was numeracy time.  We carried out a survey asking all the other classes in school 'Are you scared of bees?' (our context for learning is Bees this term).  We'll use the results to make graphs and diagrams next week. 

At 11.45 the RCCT (Reduced Class Contact Time) teacher came to collect my kids and the rest of my day is for me to do my planning and paperwork for next week.  All teachers in Scotland get 2.5 hours a week non contact time for prep.  It's not nearly enough.  Today I planned my whole week and photocopied worksheets.  I also arranged to go and visit the wee village school next week.

I had a meeting with my HT, I worked with 4 children whose behaviour wasn't good enough to get all of their Golden Time and I helped the probationer with her paperwork.

I left at 4pm, one hour after the kids left.  And I've brought home a box of paperwork  (I'm re organising the way I do reading and need to make new individual folders for each child to take home)

I love my job, I really do.  No day is ever the same.  Yesterday we spent the whole morning filming with a visiting specialist for a video that will be shown at the Harvest Service at the end of term. We made posters telling people what they could do to help save the bees.  We had a music lesson.  Noisy but fun!

When I got home tonight I made bolognaise sauce and now I'm slumped on the sofa, exhausted.  Absolutely exhausted.  Last night on FB I came across an article that suggests you can be a good teacher only working 40 hours a week (we get paid for 35 hours).  I don't know anyone who works at that level.  More like 50-60 hours a week.  All my colleagues are tired and we're just 6 weeks into the new academic year. 

That part time post is looking better and better.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Another interview

Just a quick post to say I've got an interview for the part time job in the wee village school. Not sure how I feel yet.  I've still got an outstanding application for the local school and am about to apply for another school, also within walking distance but not as near. 

It's in 2 weeks time so I've got plenty of time to prepare.  Eeeeek!!!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

More on the work/life balance

So yesterday I had my annual PRD (Professional Record of Development) meeting with my head teacher.  This is to go over last year's aims and set out the coming year's aims. She is more than happy with what I set out to achieve and we've set out some interesting professional challenges for me this session.  One of which I'm really excited about.

She also went over my plans for the term and said they were 'excellent.'  She also asked if I could work with the new members of staff and use my plans to help them with their planning.  She acknowledged that I have a difficult class but said I'm 'working wonders' with a particularly difficult pupil's challenging behaviours.

Whilst I'm happy that she likes what I'm doing I still don't get why she doesn't think I'm good enough to do the job on a permanent basis.

So, I've applied for 2 new jobs, both permanent.  One is full time and walkable from my front door.  The other is 3 days a week in a wee village school 10 miles away, with the opportunity to do some extra days.  Working full time gives me a good salary to save and do work on the house but the reduced hours one would give me back some work/life balance albeit with less income.  I could do my craft related money earners and have time to myself.

Of course, I may not even get an interview for either job.  Competition for permanent teaching posts is stiff.  But I'm being pro active and hoping that something pays off soon.  Really soon!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sweet potato and onion baijis

Seems like everyone I know is ill.  Tis the season for coughs, sneezes and pounding headaches :-(  I couldn't be bothered going to the supermarket so rustled up some spicy snacks instead as spice seems to help unblock sinuses!
I had a couple of sad looking sweet potatoes lurking in the veg basket so used them up.
Sweet potato and onion baijis
1 onion, finely chopped
3 small sweet potatoes, microwaved until soft and skinned
1 tsp cumin
1tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1 cup gram flour
1/2 cup water
1 egg
salt to taste

Gently fry onions and spices until soft and add to mashed sweet potato.
Make a thick batter with the gram flour, water and egg. Add salt to taste.

Mix everything together. Fry spoonfuls in a little oil until brown on both sides then finish in oven for 10 mins until cooked through.

Tasty, frugal and just spicy enough :-)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Lucky finds

Sometimes it's just luck when you hit the supermarket if there are any bargains to be had.  Tonight's goodies were:
2 Scottish rump steaks £3.69
500g organic carrots 50p
5 ring doughnuts 30p
2 x 8 crumpets @14p each = 28p
4 x 2 GF naan breads @ 49p each = £1.96
large pot mint 50p
Steak, crumpets and naan breads are in the freezer.  The carrots will be made into soup.  The mint will also be used in a soup and maybe some mint tea.  The doughnuts are for The Teenager :-)

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Another lovely day

Why are chickens so hard to photograph??  I think I took about 20 blurred ones, quite a few of just bums and then some hiding behind the washing blowing in the wind!!  Here's Merida and Ginger Snap munching my prolific weeds.  Good girls! Henny Penny is very camera shy!! Ginger found a bit of old window silicone seal that OH had dropped.  I think she thought it was a worm.  The ensuing chase was rather farcial :-) My chooks do make me laugh, a lot!

Blackcurrant gin is doing well.  All the sugar has dissolved so it can now go into the store cupboard to mature

On this lovely sunny day I made 2 pots of soup.  Frog soup with a pinch of chili and some coconut milk and plain old carrot soup (carrots, onion, veg stock and a splash of coconut milk) That's this week's lunches for work sorted!  Saving time and money :-)

Hmm, somebody's a bit comfy!

A few of my friends have shared this image on Facebook. This appeals to me on a personal and political level.  Be content with what we have and share with those less fortunate.  We should open hearts AND our borders. 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Busy busy busy!

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments on my last post.  I'd love to be able to say it's been a better week but that would be a lie.  We have a young probationer teacher who lives near me so I've been taking her home some nights.  This week she admitted that she goes home exhausted every night and just cries.  That tells me something is very wrong with our profession.  She should be perky and full of annoying enthusiasm, not demoralised after just 3 weeks.  Everyone I know who's not in teaching keeps telling me to change jobs.  It's not so easy at my age and frankly the salary is too good compared to everything else.  However, I am applying for another job in a different school.  Maybe a change of venue will help.
Meanwhile I'm keeping busy.  OH and his teenogre are away all weekend doing boy stuff so I've been busy doing house and garden stuff.  I let the chickens out to free range round the garden.  It was a lovely autumnal day here.  They were a bit timid at first but were soon pulling up my weeds!

The view from inside

Ha ha, the view of Emma from outside!! She's still inclined to 'rush' at the girls so for their first outing I kept her inside.  Lucy stayed out though.  She didn't even bat an eyelid.  She's so chilled. 

There's not much colour left in the garden.  But my Echinacea plants are in flower.  Sadly no bees though. 

A lone flower

And a wee splash of orange in the corner

Today I've been busy baking.  Some banana bread (left) and Helen's Brilliant Bread (right)

I used up some shop bought eggs to make Broccoli and Goat's Cheese muffins and Sweetcorn muffins.  No flour, just eggs, veg and cheese.  Even The Teenager liked them!!  I'm going freeze what's left (!) for lunches next week.

I also started some blackcurrant gin using this method. My lovely mum gave me a bottle of gin ages ago but I seem to have 'gone off' gin.  Weird, huh?  Waste not, want not.  I had some blackcurrants in the freezer so started a batch today.  In a few months it'll be ready to bottle.  That's some Christmas presents sorted already.  I read about Karon's strawberry gin jam this week so think I'll have a go at Blackcurrant Gin Jam too.  Double waste not, want not!

Today's quick pop in to Sainsbury's resulted in a box of ripe mangoes.  I haven't decided what I'll do with them yet.  Maybe just blitz and freeze for smoothies.  Or mango chutney.  Decisions, decisions ;-)