It all seems to be work

It doesn’t seem like 2 weeks since the last time I wrote an entry into the family blogg, the time has shot by. We all seem to have been like ‘passing ships in the the night’, busy with our own little worlds and only occasionally bumping into each other when through necessity our paths collide (mealtimes and for lifts).

Jamie had to be ferried to work for the first week (no car insurance), Sue took him in the mornings (up at 5am) and I brought him home in the evening (6pm). Not a pleasant experience as working at a recycling plant for 12 hours ensures that you develop a rather environmentally ripe odour that becomes really concentrated when in the enclosed space of a car. Passing the downstairs utility room in the evening is not to be recommended as that is where Jamie deposits his work clothes ready to be attended to. Last week, his car was fully insured and he had the pleasure of driving to work along the A14 (a very poorly laid out and dangerous road). Being the time of year it is dark when he starts and dark when he finishes. He must have developed a poetic side to his nature as one day he commented on the beautiful sunrises and sunsets he has seen. A couple of days ago he informed me that his car is gobbling up the petrol on the journey to work and asked what he could do about it. I suggested he get into 5th gear as much as possible and ease off on the accelerator. He assured me that he already was doing that, yes Jamie! Yesterday his girlfriend Harley, had a part time job at the Red Lion Welham, serving at the tables on Saturday lunchtime. As Sarah had Lee down from Nottingham, we went to give Harley practise at waitressing, she was quite embarrassed as she was not expecting to see us.

Over the last couple of weeks Sue has been hoping to be called into school but has only managed a couple of days, one at St Joseph’s and one at Church Langton. She did manage lunch with Lynne Brown on one day and coffee and cake with Lynne Keane on another. She did have one very long day, where she was up at 5am to take Jamie to work, then went to Church Langton to pick up and discuss some planning for the following day, then drove up to Newark to meet Charlotte, then onto Lincoln with Charlotte for a pre-natal scan (see photo). I think they had lunch in Lincoln and probably a spot of shopping before she retraced her steps all the way to Harborough late that evening, and then to sit down with the planning for the next day. After working in school the following day, she looked very tired,  but luckily wasn’t required again (but I think she was hoping!)

I mentioned in the last blogg that I was going into Farndon Fields the day after they had, had their OFSTED inspection. It didn’t work out that way. Lucy, a teacher had collapsed at school on the Tuesday and I got an urgent call to see if I would come in and cover. I dutifully turned up on Wednesday and taught the class. I was hoping to see one of the two inspectors some time during the day to give them the benefit of my wisdom on the nature of Inspections and the credibility of inspectors. However, they didn’t pass the threshold of the classroom and had buried themselves away in a small room to write the report. The staff were relieved to find that once again they were satisfactory with a few points for improvement, amazing that, it has been the same result every time. There’s consistency for you. I wasn’t required to come in the following morning as the TA’s taught the class (Literacy and Numeracy), but I was required to come in during the afternoon to walk the children down to the swimming baths and watch them plough up and down the pool while I sat at the poolside twiddling my fingers in the oppressive moist atmosphere. As Sue said, it is easy money, but I would have much preferred to have done the morning and taught the children something (had a bit of fun) and let the TA’s take a walk at a fraction of the cost to the school. I was asked if I would teach the children on the Friday. It was mentioned that the previous morning had been a bit of a mare with the class and that they required some firm handling as they were the worst bunch of kids in the school. I went in and had a brilliant day with them, I took on the role of a bank robber and they had throughout the day to investigate what I had done, how I had done it, and collect the evidence to convict me. Needless to say I got off through lack of sufficient credible evidence. Who says crime doesn’t pay? I was asked if I would teach the older children on Monday, and I agreed as I was hoping that they would be doing science, which is what I am usually asked to do with them. However, I had to read through some very complex planning to deliver Numeracy, Literacy and SEAL (social & emotional active learning). Very rigid structure and I could have done it better if I had had the freedom. I did like the Madonna video I had to play to the children. Though asked I  told the school I wasn’t available the following day. That day Sue was working so I spent a lonely and cold day at home. Late in the afternoon I had the call to go in to FF on Wednesday, I said yes (In prefer company, warmth and free coffee).  It was the same bunch of reprobates. As soon as I arrived I was asked to do to the end of the week, I said yes. Before school started I set about changing the layout of the classroom so that there was little or no interaction between the children (certain ones in particular) while a lesson was going on. I then explained how I expected them to conduct themselves in the new layout and enforced it rigidly. There are 2 TA’s in the room and occasionally 3. There are 31 children. There is one computer in the classroom that the TA’s also use for their own planning, printing etc. Having to sit patiently waiting for the computer to be free so that I could set up the class learning for the day, was more than frustrating. Also, when you require the class to pay attention to you and be quiet and you have TA’s talking to groups or individuals in the same class it is very annoying and doesn’t help. As all computers printout at one photocopier, which is at the other end of the school, you do get fit taking a walk to see if it has printed properly. On every occasion I have stood in front of the machine waiting for my printouts to arrive while 190 children and over 20 staff have also the opportunity to send something to be printed. Most times it doesn’t arrive when you are standing there. Once it did and because the previous print run by ? had used landscape, so were mine, totally useless as half the page was missing. On anther occasion I was using the photocopier as a photo-copier and my run of printouts was interrupted by ? in ? where in the school and when it returned to printout mine, it just kept on churning page after page, despite it displaying 31 copies (what a waste of paper). But I suppose, such is the role of the supply teacher, after all, we are just smash and grab merchants and shouldn’t complain if things aren’t set up for our benefit alone. I did have fun, and the children were quiet and well behaved in the classroom, but still managed to form a disorderly queue at the Head’s room during the lunch hour (something’s didn’t change).

I was requested by the ‘Step-by-step’ After School Club: http://www.stepbysteplearning.co.uk/ to produce a brochure for them. They are a group of teachers and TA’s that have formed an after school club to help any children who need support with their schoolwork. I have produced some advertising material for them in the past and given some advice. They appear to be doing very well and are branching out into another session and have plans on building on their successes. I completed the brochure last week and visited them to see if I needed to make any changes, but it was fine. They are very well organised and professional, but that doesn’t surprise me.

Sarah has been busy with school and watching Gilmore Girls. Lee came down yesterday for a visit. Last week she did go off for some flying lessons with the Air Cadets, but when they got there the cloud base was too low and they had to return. I asked her if she had got any news, but she said no.

Charlotte is still pregnant and I believe over the morning sickness. She and Lucas went to visit Nan on Monday and had a pleasant time, the usual bowl of Yorkshire Stew was awaiting their arrival. I rang Nan in the evening but she was already in bed as they had tired her out. When I spoke to Lucas on the phone he told me that he had great fun playing football with Nan! Lucas has been to the hospital to check on his malfunctioning kidney and the news wasn’t good. One of the kidney appears blocked and quite shrivelled, but he is too young to do anything about it yet. Though the tube to it is growing healthily and it may recover as he gets older. I do hope it doesn’t curtail the social side too much, of his future rugby playing career. Suraj appears busy working all hours, mostly on computers and eBay (I think) and Charlotte failed to get my a cheap iPhone with Vodaphone, so I am pressurising Sarah to have hers in a years time, as she got one! I now have the oldest phone in the house, what does that tell you?

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