Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rehearsals haven't started yet

...and we've already hit the slightly sticky point of the Virgin Mary having the collywobbles. She's "very proud to have been chosen", her mother tells me, but has balked at the idea of standing in the centre of the stage with everyone looking at her.

Back to the drawing board, then...

Do you think this ever happens to Trevor Nunn?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

T -15 days and counting

At half term, I posted a little about the Infant Christmas Production. Well, it's now two weeks tomorrow until the first full performance - we've been learning the songs but things are beginning to get a bit hectic.

In the end, I squeezed about 27 speaking parts out of it. Two boys who will either miss the rehearsals or miss the main performances due to holidays are in the percussion band and the remaining girls are in seventh heaven as part of the Angel Choir. However, now I think I should have given the children their words to learn before this week, since the rehearsals start next Friday (dress rehearsals 8th Dec). I know the Head thinks Infant productions shouldn't be over rehearsed, but perhaps I've taken that too literally.

But I have other worries.

My Angel Choir are mutinous since I won't let them wear wings - our parents are lovely but can suffer greatly from "wing envy" and they are likely to try to produce the biggest wings possible if they get have a chance.

I have a Wise Man who would much rather be Herod and had told his Dad he would be Herod. He tells me Dad has made him a wooden knife and a wooden sword to enable him to kill the babies (I kid you not) and having consigned himself to being a mere Wise Man has kindly offered Herod the knife ("I'll need the sword myself, you see. A King needs a sword"). Can't wait to deal with that one when the costume comes in.

Several Narrators have the hump at being asked to dress as angels or shepherds because they would rather wear their party clothes - I found myself in a reasonably heated debate with one little cherub who was finally silenced when I told her in no uncertain terms that in our version, the angels would wear white, not pink, whether her mother was ironing that best frock right at this moment (as said cherub claimed) or not.

To top it all, there is a small contingent who can't understand why L, who taught them last year, won't let them have Anna (who would be 3 weeks old by the time of the production) as the Baby Jesus...

Balance that however, with the lullaby they sang so beautifully this week that they had me in tears...

I love my job!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Christmas Shopping...

This time every year I travel down south to hit Milton Keynes on a Christmas Shopping weekend with my mother. I go with a large wad of dosh saved up during the year and try to get as many presents as possible.

This year I got precisely... none.



Yikes!! I had NO inspiration! This means I will have to fight my way round the Trafford Centre, Cheshire Oaks or Manchester sometime around December and I will probably still have NO inspiration then, either.

There is a strong case this year for going to PresentAid or Oxfam Unwrapped for the family presents. Sadly, although I think this is an amazing gesture and would be more than happy to receive a gift like this from people, I suspect that some of them would be rather non-plussed... and some might think I was trying to say something in particular if I got them a goat or a bag of fertiliser. Hey ho...

On a much happier note, L had her baby yesterday. Hurrah! Welcome to the world, Anna!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Normal Service Has Resumed...

The self-pity has been put back in the box, the tears have been dried, and life is as was.

Which is to say, hectic. Obviously.

Friday, November 10, 2006


John Barrowman is gay.


And to finish it off...

A has just walked in with a bunch of flowers to cheer me up.

Cue the tears...

Feeling Low

It seems odd to follow an "upbeat" post almost immediately with one called "Feeling Low", but I do. The trip was great, but the surrounding paperwork (even when they have done the risk assessment) is mindblowing. It's the medical forms that get me - the parents don't feel the need to let you know when the child first moved to the school that they have an allergy to several different foods including peanuts - Eek! Is the child anaphylactic? Should they have an epipen?. They leave it to the medical form, but then don't fill it in completely (see note on epipen) Grrr.

Of course, the aftermath of the trip involved total brain meltdown on my part. I've spent the whole day (and half the night) beforehand trying to second guess every possible thing that could go wrong (Do we have enough pencils? What if one of my parental helpers can't come and there's no other CRB checked volunteer available? What if one of the two relatively new boys takes it into their head to wander off? etc etc). I think back of the days 10 years ago when a bus full of us rolled up to the zoo and disgorged two classes full of Y3/4 pupils. Everyone went off with their helper and I waved them off with a cheery "See you back here at 2 o'clock!" (Because of course, none of our parents could ever be a child-molester, could they?) Very different from these days where there has to be a member of school staff with the children at all times. We were too blase in the past, but it does make it very tricky when one child needs an extra loo stop...

On top of the post-trip slump, I'm worried about a whole set of family and friends who for various reasons are not well, stressed out or going through a bereavement and then to top it all, a comment this morning after a writing moderation exercise has just made me feel like a failure. I'm trying so hard to keep on top of hearing my readers and identifying maths problems and keeping up with the assessments and marking with any degree of quality and trying to give the kids a new set of targets that I feel like I'm failing my kids in regards to moving their writing on. I've told you before, dear reader, of the highs of teaching. These, then, are the lows (or at least the lows of those teachers like me whose self-esteem can be wobbly). Trying to keep up with everything at the moment is a bit like trying to rollerskate up the Gladiators' Travelator and I haven't even addressed what needs to be done for my curriculum co-ordination role. I really miss L, she could always help me see the funny side and shore up my self-confidence at times like this.

Stephen Fry recently talked about how he self-medicated his bi-polar disorder with cocaine. In this spirit, I am off to self-medicate my Friday Despondancy with a bar of Toblerone and a bottle of White Zinfandel.

Walker Art Gallery

Yesterday, I went to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool with 75 Year 1 and 2 children and we had a whale of a time! I've never visited an art gallery with children of any age, let alone Infants, so was interested to see how they took it. We split up into 4 groups (17-20) in each group to visit the Gallery itself, following some of their orientation trails, and looking in detail at 3 pictures. It was following up work we'd been doing on portraits, so it was great. The other part of the visit involved going to Big Art for Little Artists, which I would heartily recommend visiting with young children. They loved dressing up as some of the people they had seen in the portraits earlier in the day.

If you are in the North West, the Walker is a great resource. It's free and they do lots of INSET sessions that allow you to get more out of specific pictures when you lead your own group round. Get there if you can!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hedgehog's Breakfast

Back in June, we had an INSET during a staff meeting on how to use the DigiBlue, a simple video camera designed for use by children. It was led by Y, another former colleague of mine from the Advisory Service, so it was good to catch up with her. During the staff meeting, I worked with a group to make a short film using Stop-Go animation techniques. The DigiBlue was connected to Y's laptop, so I didn't have a copy, but last week she sent me one, so I thought I'd load it up here - you know, just to add to the image that we teachers just doss about after the children have gone home...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hangin' on the Telephone

"Where are you?"

"Still on the M6, why?"

"I don't feel great, can you get me something nice on the way home?"

"Might do, but I'm not speaking to you at the moment."

"Why not?"

"I'm going backwards! I checked the Fantasy Football League and I've now dropped below 260,000th, while you've broken into the top 40,000. I don't understand why..."

"Oh love I'm so sorry..."


"I think I've found out why you're not doing as well as you think you should be in the Footie."


"Well, you know when you made your first transfers at the beginning of September?"


"And you transfered Andy Johnson in?"


"Well, you didn't."

"Didn't what?"

"Transfer Johnson in."

"I did!"

"No, you didn't. I've just found your team's history. You started with Shevchenko, Bellamy and Ashton, then swapped Ashton for Saha in September. Last week you swapped Shevchenko and Bellamy for Drogba and McCarthy. You've never had Johnson in your squad."

"No, I have, I did, I transfered him in in September..." silence "... oh no, it must have been when I tried to transfer too many players - you have to confirm the transfers... I mustn't have clicked on Confirm... Noooooooooo!"

Phone goes dead.