Friday, 22 June 2018

Macaroni cheese

Why have I waited 5 years to make a gluten and dairy free version of macaroni cheese????  Gluten free pasta and a traditional cheese sauce made with gf flour, goat's butter, almond milk and goat's cheese.  It was amazing!!  Now I know it doesn't taste the same as 'real' macaroni cheese but not having had it for so long it was good enough.  Sadly not a frugal dish like the 'real' one as gf and dairy free ingredients are expensive but I'll consider it a treat.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Flattered (again)

I guess I should be flattered (again) as I've been asked by management to take on an extra role next session.  I've been given some extra non contact time to work with the Principal Teacher on raising attainment. It could be on Literacy or Numeracy, they haven't worked that bit out yet.  There's no extra money involved *sighs* but it could be interesting.  And it's nice that they think I've been doing a good enough job with my own class that I can help raise attainment.  Our school is in a poor area with attainment lower than the national average.

I've been sorting out a few more union issues this week and all seems well on that front too.  I know that the Curriculum for Excellence here in Scotland isn't perfect but hearing from friends who work in England I think it's doing a decent job.  Our gripes don't seem too bad.

I meet my new class tomorrow and we get to spend an hour together.  It will be a P3 class.  That's Y2 in England or Grade 2 in US. Not sure about Australia.  They'll turn 7 during the year. They're currently the class next door to me so they know me pretty well already.  I'm moving rooms to an upstairs one. It's a corner room with windows on 2 sides and is the second best room in the school. I currently have THE best corner room as it has an outside door. 😊 I discovered tonight that only 2 members of staff are staying in the same room next year and everyone else is moving.  Makes the final week a wee bit more stressful!!

Only 4 more whole teaching days and 2 half days left!

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!! πŸŽ‰πŸŽˆπŸŽ‰πŸŽˆ

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!!!) πŸ˜† 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.