Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Inspiration


I had to go to Glasgow today.  I rarely go there and definitely not by choice.  But I had to renew my passport in person as I discovered that it was out of date and I need it to go to Ireland next week! I had time to kill while waiting so spent some time in John Lewis (a couple of hours actually!!)  I like looking at all their latest design ideas in home furnishings.  They have a fab selection of home decor fabrics, curtains, cushions, furniture, lamps, bedding etc etc.  Some of it is very expensive but I like looking for ideas and inspiration.  I spotted these cushions.



They're hand stitched (probably in a far off country for a pittance) using just French knots.  Very tactile and very effective.  Sheep one here (it's half price) and seagull one here


Then I spotted this lovely mini trees one in all shades of green.  I immediately thought it would look lovely in different shades of purple for my bedroom.


And then I spotted one up high on a shelf in purples :-) The one on the left is all blues.  Love this design and will definitely be trying out something similar on a cushion for my bed.

I went to the haberdashery section to try to find purple embroidery thread to match my new headboard (I had a fabric sample with me) but had no luck.  However after much searching I did find some knitting yarn in the exact shade!  No idea what I'm going to do yet but I'm inspired to make something unique (and cheap!!) to go in my revamped bedroom :-)

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

On holiday!



This was me on my staff night out :-)  I'm now officially on holiday for 2 months.  For some reason this year our school summer holiday is a bit longer.  I'm guessing the other holidays will be shorter as a result.  I now have 8 weeks to get my house and garden into some sort of order and fit in a trip to Ireland in the campervan.


My shed is now built and in place but I think it needs a third coat of pink paint to look a bit better. OH worked really hard to get the bits to fit together!! I'm really pleased with how the pink and blue paint look together.  The weeds will be tackled again today!

I've been doing some shopping on eBay and have managed to get a few good bargains for some jobs around the house.  This morning I got a pair of lined curtains for my bedroom for £9! My plan is to get as much done as possible through the holiday so that when I start my new job in August I can devote the time needed to it and not my house.

Off to B&Q now for paint and other DIY sundries!

Monday, 20 June 2016

A shift in thinking


It's hard to believe that this time last week I was preparing for an interview that would change my life.   I'm 50 years old and have never had a full time permanent teaching job.  I've had permanent part time posts and full time temporary posts (when I graduated local authorities saved money by giving you temporary contracts from August to June to avoid paying you over the summer holidays!) I never needed to be reliant on my earnings as there was always a higher first income in our household.  My salary was 'extra' for treats.

Now that The Teenager is 18 his dad no longer needs to pay maintenance so for the first time in my life I am a financially independent woman!  And it feels good :-)

I have given a lot of thought to why I was finally successful at interview.  I've been thinking about the feedback my new headteacher gave and all the lovely things my colleagues have said over the past week.  It's a combination of a few things but the main thing is I shifted my thinking.


After the 2 failed interview experiences in my current school (plus many failed applications to even get an interview in other schools) I had convinced myself that it must be because I wasn't a good enough teacher.  I'd had a 5 year break from teaching before coming to this school, I wasn't up to date with current education speak, I was too old and everyone wanted younger teachers.  No one actually told me this I just created this story about myself.    After all my current headteacher had observed me teach, she read my paperwork and reports so she must think I'm no good and that's why I didn't get the job.  But then I stopped and actually thought about it.  She has never given me anything but support and suggestions for how to improve next time. And this is the key phrase!

Part of my own professional development this year was to look at Growth Mindset and incorporate it into my teaching.  We are trying to encourage children not to give up when they meet failure.  A lot of kids in school are not resilient, mainly because their parents try to avoid situations where their kids might fail.  Teachers talk about the Power of Yet.  For example "You can't tie your shoelace yet but if you practise..." We talk about how kids can improve their work using 2 stars and a wish.  For example "I like that you used adjectives.  I liked that your writing was neat.  Next time, use your word book to help you write tricky words."  Here I was trying to motivate children into developing a growth mindset but wasn't practising myself what what I was teaching.


So in one weekend I sat down and re wrote my story.  Literally!   I took all the interview prep stuff that the depute head gave me and all the stuff I had accumulated over the last 3 years.  I wrote and wrote out examples and experiences that covered the areas he suggested.  I created a mnemonic to help me structure my answers.  I researched the school, looked at their Improvement Plan and identified areas that matched my skills and interests.  I wrote out loads of examples.  I was as prepared as I could possibly be.  Worst case scenario was that it was good interview experience for the next week's interview in my own school.

In one weekend I collated everything I had been working on personally and professionally for the last 6 months and I re wrote my story.  "I am a good teacher and here's the evidence."


In my interview the 5 questions they asked me seemed really easy and straightforward.  But the question that stood out for me was "What CPD this year has had the greatest impact on your own learning and how has that impacted on your class?"  I was happy dancing in my head!!

When the headteacher later phoned and offered me the job she said it was my answer to that question that really shone out :-)

It's cheesy to say that if you just believe in yourself everything will work out.  I've worked hard over the last 3 years to be the best teacher I could be but it wasn't enough.  Over the last 6 years I've worked on my own personal growth but that wasn't enough.  This year I've been reading and learning more about Buddhism, manifestation, laws of attraction, self belief to name a few things.  Everything finally came together and contributed to a shift in my thinking.

I do love the above Oprah quote.  Maybe I was too focused on just getting a permanent job.  But when I took the focus off just that bit and worked on the other stuff, it's all starting to fall into place.

The mind is a powerful tool indeed.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

What a week!



Thank you for all the lovely comments on my previous post.  I still can't believe that I have a full time permanent post and that my life has changed so quickly in just one week.

My new school is a 5 minute drive from home (my current one is 4 minutes!!) so still pretty local.  It's a P3 class (that's 7yos in Scotland) and there's 30 of them.  That's the maximum number allowed at this stage.  I visited them yesterday for Meet the Teacher and was shown the room that will be my classroom.  It's supposed to be the 'best' room in the school as it has an outside door but it's on the small side for 30 little people.  There's a wide spread of ability and a few children with 'issues' but on the whole they were lovely. I'm really looking forward to working there.

My colleagues were a bit shocked as I hadn't told anyone about the interview except the headteacher. I just didn't want the pressure of everyone wishing me luck and then asking me how it went afterwards.  They've all been lovely and said really nice things.  And that they'll miss me.

I will miss them loads.  I've made some very dear friends but we'll keep in touch.  I came back into teaching after 'retiring' and this wee school has given me back my career.  And for that I'll always be grateful.

Monday, 13 June 2016

I HAVE A JOB!!!!


Sorry for shouting but I wanted to make sure you heard me :-) :-) :-)

Finally the last piece of the puzzle is in place.  It all happened very quickly.  When I found out about the non maternity cover I went straight to the job website and applied for a job in a local to me school.  The closing date was last Monday.  I heard on Thursday night I had an interview and the interview took place this morning.  I was offered the job by lunchtime!!

I still can't believe it!  I'll write more about it when I've calmed down!!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Easiest ever healthy chocolate mousse


I found this recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it a wee bit.  So easy and VERY healthy!!  It tastes like Snickers :-)

1 x 300g packet smooth silken tofu (YEP, tofu!!)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
6 tbsp of agave syrup (although next time I'll try just 4 tbsp)

Blend together until smooth.  Chill for at least half an hour. Serves 4.  I served it in espresso cups.

It was a bit too sweet for me but everyone else loved it.  I didn't tell anyone it had tofu in it until they'd eaten it ;-) The original recipe used maple syrup but I didn't have any and they used 400g tofu.  My packet only had 300g but it seemed to work ok.  Might try it with honey sometime as well.


My parsley was beginning to go to seed so I picked it all and dehydrated it.  It only took 4 hours until it was all dry.  I had all 6 trays full.


It filled 2 wide necked salsa jars.  And it tastes of parsley funnily enough!  I'm well chuffed :-)

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Quick job update


I have finally had my job position explained to me not by HR but by the finance officer to my school's cluster.  In a nutshell, my headteacher and I were given the WRONG advice re the job share situation by the head of HR!! Turns out HR have not handled my permanency application correctly.  And the powers that be have agreed that I have done everything correctly by the book and they should rectify THEIR mistakes.

So, I have the right to a permanent full time job subject to an interview.  Yeay!!

But, as there is now a full time permanent vacancy within my school I can apply for it along with all the other temporary teachers in my area looking for a permanent post *sighs*

However, I WILL get an interview by my current headteacher (ie the one who has rejected me twice after an interview but insists I am a good teacher) and will be considered for BOTH posts within the same interview.  Kinda yeay!

Soooo, I will have a full time permanent post in 2 weeks either permanent supply (where I do absence cover in the 5 schools within my cluster for a year) or the job I already have on permanent contract.

I'm not going to lie and say I'd be happy with either post.  I want my own job.  I have the support of my colleagues and by coincidence I had a conversation with the parent of a pupil I had last year who reminded me that I have the ongoing support of the parents too.  That really made me happy and a wee bit tearful if I'm honest!

Interview is on the 22nd of June.  I've asked our depute head to coach me in interview skills (he's a whizz on educational jargon which is my weak spot) and I'll be spending as much time as I can reading up on sample questions.  I REALLY WANT THIS JOB! :-)

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Rollercoaster


You know that bloody Ronan Keating song 'Life is a rollercoaster,' na na na na na? Well that's my life right now!

For some reason (yet to be fully explained to me) I don't have a job until June 2017 afterall.  I will not be doing the maternity cover as previously agreed (no one is!!) The post is to become a full time permanent one instead.  I now have 30 months continous service and have the legal right to a permanent post but can't have the the job I'm currently doing and have been doing for the last 30 months. And no one can tell me why.

Human Resources are not returning phone calls or emails.  Their only comment is that they're still working it out and can't comment yet.

People higher up in the education food chain are on it but the sick sinking feeling in my stomach has returned for the time being.  Basically in 3 weeks I'm out of a job with no income. 

I'm trying very hard to be positive and hope that things will work out somehow.  Just wish my stomach would listen!