This afternoon was spent in Thornhill Baptist Church, taking part in a voting activity to decide, as a community, how £100000 was to be spent on projects in Thornhill. I and R had both put in bids, and it was a long and stressy afternoon listening to the 25 proposals and then finding out whether we were successful. The whole community are invited to come and vote, but you have to stay for 3 hours and its a big ask of people with families. Consequently, the turn out was skewed towards the elderly and disabled, which is great, that those often isolated people are involved, but meant that the successful bids tended towards meeting the needs of the elderly rather than the young. Which meant some great projects did not get funding, and a lot of repetition of taking people out on bus trips. But R got some cash for stuff for his bike project, and I got cash for some after school sports clubs at Kanes Hill, which hopefully will be on my work days and help with my childcare bill!
The morning was kind of ruined by the afternoon to come, and by the rain, and by H feeling really ill and the rest of us not being quite right, with various aches and pains. The car seems to be aching as well, as last night it displayed two warning triangle signs and a ABS light on, and a message - Brake Failure - Stop Safely being displayed. The brakes seemed fine, and I did wonder how to stop safely without brakes, seemed an ambitious task to undertake. R took it back to the garage and to another garage to be looked at, and of course, by then, it was not doing any of these messages or lights.
A really good thing about this morning was the marking of the recent assessed writing that my class have done, where nearly all of them have made a lot of progress, some absolutely heaps - when you are banging your head against the classroom wall and gently moaning and sipping gin in the cupboard at play time you can be close to despair, but then you see this kind of progress and go 'WAHOO!' as opposed to the wrist slitting which you come close to when you are up close to the chalkface, as it were.
Last night was R's school Year 11 prom. It took a lot of complicated driving ( complicated by the brake failure light). Here goes. R leaves school and goes to pick girls up from Libby, and buys them KFC for tea to eat in car on way to pick me up at 5.30pm. I drop R H A off at Botley Grange Hotel ready to be on the welcome red carpet to watch the beautiful girls in their ball gowns, and the awkward but loveable boys in their suits. I drive to Rob and Judi's for 6pm to pick them up and get changed. Back to hotel, for 6.33, to join red carpet welcome team. I depart with girls at 7.15 to take them home where Libby waiting to babysit. I return to hotel for meal and disco ( teachers out in foyer/bar drinking). 11pm, R takes me home to relieve libby, and then returns to prom as has to be there til chucking out time. R takes R and J home and gets home at midnight. The food was nice, with a lovely raspberry creme brulee. I and Judi were sat together, on a different table to to two Robs, and we were lumbered with the entire senior management team. Nice to put names to faces, but hard to remember which names were the ones R generally prefaces with a swear word, and which ones he likes and respects. I mean,obviously he respects all his senior management team 100%. I really don't know why he isn't more senior, he is getting paid peanuts for the work he does and he could do their jobs standing on his head. Two avid cyclists on my table, so talk turned to cycling rather than the awkward bits of me trying not to drop R in it. Phew. I always say that R and Rob G should be married and I should marry Judi, it would be a lot easier on understanding and communication, and so for one night only, we were!
The prom is clearly not a place to go to feel young. No - the Thornhill healthy vote afternoon leaves you feeling like a spring chicken if you don't have a catheter and chronic liver disease. No, spending an evening with nearly 200 16 year olds is going to make you feel old. But the worst bit of the evening was the number of members of staff I mistook for students. Some of the teachers so young it made me feel old! R pointed out that a few of the younger teachers could technically have been at Cams when he started teaching there. In fact, the first Year 11s he taught at Birley in Sheffield would now be 28. Twenty eight!!!! I could be teaching their children! I don't know what all the !!! are for cos it is clearly not funny when you do these calculations in an ageist society. So, lets stop worrying about being so old I could nearly be teaching the grandchildren of my first class and enjoy the delights of age and wisdom.
Friday, I went to school and had a nice day, thank you. We finally got around to teaching the controversial subject of Jesus, two parents in to see head concerned that we would be indoctrinating the kids. We are teaching an enquiry based model, and teaching the skills of doing research and finding out answers to our own questions, and the children were brilliant at thinking up questions - why did Jesus wear rags? Was he rich? Did he disagree with anyone? Why did Herod want to kill him? did he have any sisters or children? Was he married? They came up with their own ideas on how to find out the answers, including ask a priest, ask a Christian, and only after me prompting them, looking on the internet! I trying not to feel that my professionalism being called into question by parents, who are essentially not trusting me to do my job. I can't help feeling we would not have had the same furore if we were studying Vishnu or Krishna or Budha. Which begs the question, why the animosity towards Jesus and tolerance to other religious figures? Anyhow, one of the children asked the question ' Why don't I believe in God?' which I thought was a good one and difficult to research but worth asking. The kids were gripped by the work, and it was a great morning.
I finally got a case on Tuesday, which went on to Wednesday, and was short and fairly obvious - in a kind of 'if you are going to nick a few grand from a till, don't do it under the CCTV camera' kind of way. It didn't take us long to reach our verdict, and then we found out the guy had over 100 previous convictions. We had heard about 68 of them that were relevant beforehand, which helped to confirm our verdict, but did not dictate it. It was very interesting being in court and listening to all the evidence (not much of it) and much much better than sitting waiting. Thursday I went in and spent 2 hours waiting for nothing to happen. But that meant I got time to have lunch and read Mark with Sialou, which was fabulous, she is seeing some amazing transformation in her life and prayer really working for her. Great to see her, always an encouragement.
I did a bit too much exercise one day this week, with my cycle, plus a gym session with H, and a tennis session with R - my legs were shaking and I could hardly walk that night. This week's exercise has mainly consisted of cycling to and from court.
Granny Mary was here for a few days to cover for me when in court - although it turned out I didn't need much cover. Granny Mary very industrious, mending, ironing, cooking, cleaning, potting plants and digging over the garden, plus buying shirts and doing crosswords. She is like a whirling dervish.
I have been re reading the Laura books - the 'Little House on the Prairie' series, and am delighted to announce that H is loving them. They are my top favourite book series from my childhood, well, along with Malory Towers and Anne of Green Gables, and I was delighted when H got her nose into one and couldn't get it out. Her words!
Dippy the Dinosaur has come back home from his holidays, with a green hat and bag. He had sent A three postcards from his travels this week and then just turned up on Friday morning. A very happy and put a sign up in the playroom window, annoucing 'Dippy is back' to anyone who wanted to know what had become of the exploring dinosaur.
R is watching the rugby, which is bewildering for me - way too many people to keep track of. I liked the Famous Five, but could never get on with the Secret Seven, too many of them to keep tabs on. Same with rugby, way too many men running around. And all that bunching together. I had to teach rugby last year, to year 3. No wonder the state system does not contribute much to cricket and rugby at a national level, if the government expects me to teach it there is no hope for UK sport. Public ( private) schools have proper coaches, whereas the state schools have me. Heaven help us. What do I know about rugby? I find you just have to keep one page ahead when it comes to those kind of lessons. My current class have done some great Monet art work, it is as good as I would expect from upper key stage 2, ie kids 3 years older than them. I can teach art but rugby is pushing it. But that it what makes it so much fun! One minute you are painting landscapes, the next minute you are out doing a line out or whatever its called. Country dancing one hour, french the next, then a bit of coastal erosion and deposition. There is never a dull moment!